Maryland State Parks enhance the quality of life for all citizens by promoting the health, safety, education, economy, and general welfare of the public. The Friends believe state parks historical position in Maryland since 1906 as a leading national state parks system, the high value expressed by our citizens for over a century, and a recommendation in the 2007 Funding Study—that Maryland State Parks should strive to be a “National Model”.
Economic and Quality of Life Benefits:
Maryland State Parks are a major contributor to our state’s economy and our citizens’ quality of life.
- 12.9 million visitors in 2016: when surveyed and polled, citizens continue to rate our state parks very highly in natural and cultural resources, conservation, and family values and activities.
- Volunteers: 8000 Volunteers and Friends, donated over 200,000 hours valued at over $5 million3, an enormous economic benefit to Maryland citizens.
- Economic Impact: In 2016 it is estimated that state parks generated $46+ million in taxes; $16+ million in visitor fees; $17 to $1 return on investment (economic impact as a ratio to Maryland Park Service operating budget); over 12,000 Full-Time Equivalent jobs; and at least $770 million in economic impact.
Benefits to the individual citizens
- Exercise & Fitness
- Health – Physical, emotional & mental
- Longevity & life time leisure activity
- Environmental & outdoor education
- Development of an environmental stewardship ethic
Benefits to society
- Family cohesion
- Low impact vacation & tourism destinations
- Cultural preservation, harmony & identity
- Public safety & crime reduction
- Community preservation, pride & involvement
Benefits to the economy
- Reduced healthcare costs
- Increased property values
- Increased employment
- Increased tourism
- Revenue Generation – direct/indirect spending
- Revenue Generation – federal, state & local taxes
- Attracts new business
Benefits to the environment
- Improved air quality
- Improved water quality in Bay & tributaries
- Reduced pollution
- Improved native wildlife habitat
- Protection of native species
- Historic & cultural preservation
- Outdoor classrooms & environmental education
Benefits to the quality of life
- Improved self-esteem
- Stress reduction
- Sense of community
- Cultural harmony