Friends of Maryland State Forests and Parks, Inc.
Dedicated to preserving, protecting, improving and expanding our Maryland State Parks.
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2024 Small Grants/Big Impact Projects

Twenty-four grants were awarded totaling $41,798.

Assateague Island
Horse Safety Signs 
Designing two interpretive panels to educate park patrons about the history of the horses, where to find them on the island, and how to safely coexist with them during the visit.

Bohemia River
Middle School Bioblitz – We Need A Ride! 
Bohemia River State Park will be providing transportation funds to bus 155 students from Bohemia Manor Middle School to Bohemia River State Park to conduct two comparison Bioblitzes. A Bioblitz is a communal citizen-science effort to record as many species as possible in a short time frame within a designated location.

Cedarville (Four Projects)

Blue Trail Puncheon Brown Trail Puncheon 

These projects will fund the cost of materials to replace aging puncheons on the Blue and Brown Trail

Green Trail Bridge Resurface, 20’ 
This project will fund the cost of materials to replace the tread boards on a 20’ bridge on the Green Trail at Cedarville State Forest and to add curbing. These bridges provide recreation opportunities for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians.

Cunningham Falls
Aviary Improvements – Snapping Turtle Enclosure 
Funds are requested to purchase needed materials for the renovation of the outdoor summer enclosure of Edmund, a snapping turtle and popular animal ambassador. This renovation will allow the park staff and aviary volunteers to abide by new USDA regulations regarding wildlife care facilities.

Cypress Branch
Archery 101 
This grant request is seeking funds for archery equipment. This archery program aims to make archery more accessible as well as provides opportunities for students and families to participate in an activity together, outside, and sets the foundation for a new skill.

Deep Creek Lake
Discovery Center Educational Enhancements The goal of this project is to connect the Discovery Center amenities with the natural resources in the surrounding park and greater Garrett County, Maryland. Staff hopes to purchase new signage for the current “in flight” display in the Discovery Center and is also interested in purchasing several new sets of binoculars and field guides for adults and children to use during birding programs led by park rangers and park naturalists.

Statewide Outreach Work Group

Maryland Park Service Regional Outreach 
The Maryland Park Service’s initiative on Diversity, Engagement, Inclusion, and Justice would like to use this grant to purchase basic, branded setups (canopies, tables, table cloths) in order to be more visible and self-sufficient at local events such as community fairs, and job fairs.

Franklin Point
Branded Entrance Signs
Park staff will purchase and install Maryland Park Service branded wood routed signs from Maryland Correctional Enterprises as dictated by State procurement guidelines. The goal is to mount a sign on wood posts at each entrance to advertise the park.The signs will clarify where visitors are, meet Maryland Park Service branding requirements, and improve the aesthetic atmosphere of the park, as well as help improve access to this underutilized park.

Sign Frames for Battle of South Mountain Waysides
A new interpretive trail is being developed that will extend the current trail at Gathland State Park. The current trail as well as the new extension will be located in Cramptons Gap, an important area where the Battle of South Mountain occurred. We are requesting three sign frames in order to mount new interpretive signs that will help join the existing trail and the new trail into one interpretive and educational story.

Greenbrier (Two Projects)
BeachFront Native Pollinator Garden 

This project is an eighty four plant native pollinator garden located within a designated section of the park. The goals of this project are to exemplify a beautiful native garden to the public along a heavily trafficked route and support a pollinator population for the benefit of local habitats.

Swim Buoys: Greenbrier State Park has about 1,000 linear feet of beachfront. That beachfront is marked with small swim ropes and buoys that signify the protective swim area. Along with those swim buoys are the larger marker style buoys that alert boaters and fishermen that they are approaching a swim area. This grant would help provide new larger style bouys which are in need of replacement and are essential for the safety of visitors.
Gunpowder Falls
Dundee Creek Fishing Line Recycling Station

This project will increase public access to fishing at the Dundee Creek Marina by creating a visible access point. DCM is a very popular access point for boating and fishing in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, but the current fishing area is not visible to many in the public. For a small amount of money, this project will have a big impact by further delineating the fishing area at Dundee Creek Marina, introducing fish identification to the park users, and promoting sustainable fishing practices.

Harriet Tubman
Back Deck Interpretation
This project would involve buying two 8-foot-long portable benches made from recycled plastic to be placed on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center back deck. The two benches will assist with interpretation aspects of the park with ranger programs. Additionally, the benches on the back deck will enhance the visitor experience.

Janes Island
Eliminating Cigarette Litter, One Vote at a Time 
Cigarette litter is a constant problem experienced at Janes Island State Park. Due to its location sitting along the salt marsh, there is an increased need in fighting this toxic issue in order to preserve not only our mainland ecosystem, but the marine life that attracts so many of our visitors a year. This project intends to establish a
new, innovative way to reduce cigarette litter called at Ballot Bin which allows visitors to ‘vote’ with their litter.
The box has an interchangeable question and has two options leading to separate columns to ‘vote’ with the cigarette butts.While the primary aim will be in reducing cigarette litter, using the voting mechanic of the bins will create a new outlet to communicate with and engage visitors.

Pocomoke River
Scales & Tales Aviary Enhancement & Renovations 
In preparation for 2024 federal USDA regulations, Pocomoke River SP Aviary will need to have all the door fixtures, hinges, and locks and some portions of the rat wire that have rusted and show signs of wear replaced, as well as the refrigerator as it is rusty and outdated. It will also need added shelving and replaced counters with surfaces more reliable for adequate disinfection. A sink with two separate areas will need to be purchased as well. This grant would drastically help the park to bring its beloved aviary up to standard and help foster a safe and healthy environment for their education ambassadors.

Point Lookout
Nature Nook Rejuvenation 
This project aims to revamp Point Lookout’s educational initiatives centered around the beachfront Nature Nook, catering to a majority of our 400,000 yearly visitors. Through this grant, the park will be able to paint and re-roof this building so that it can fall within the Maryland Park Service standard for public facilities as well as modernize and rejuvenate the exhibits inside this building.

Rocky Gap
Interpretive Aviary Signage/Healthy Parks Healthy People
This project consists of two separate projects that help connect visitors to the
park while offering the opportunity to gain an understanding and appreciation for natural resources. The first includes creating and purchasing permanent interpretive signage for the park’s aviary building. The second includes creating and expanding program opportunities for the Healthy Parks Healthy People program.

Perimeter Trail Bridge 
This project will fund the cost of materials for a bridge on the Perimeter Trail. This bridge will connect a rerouted portion of the trail back to the main loop. The reroute was excavated during the summer of 2023 by Eagle Scouts. The park would look to partner with other volunteer and/or youth organizations to help foster stewardship and volunteerism in our community. The Perimeter trail is the primary trail at Rosaryville State Park and would benefit the hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrian users.

Sandy Point (Two Projects)
East Beach Pavilion Grill Replacement 
This project will entail the replacement of grills in the East Beach area of Sandy Point State Park. These grills are a critical component of the pavilions as they allow patrons to cook food for their party. These grills have aged over the years of use and are ready for replacement.
Water Safety Outreach 
In an effort to have local outreach on water safety and to recruit seasonal lifeguards to provide safety for the beachgoers at Sandy Point State Park, the park is requesting funds to purchase supplies for park programs, park special events, festivals, local county events, and career fairs. The continued shortage of lifeguards is a pressing issue that threatens the safety of Sandy Point patrons. By investing in recruiting startup supplies, we are actively working to combat this shortage and ensure that Sandy Point remains safe and well-guarded.

South Mountain State Battlefield
Sign Frames for South Mountain Inn Interpretive Waysides
The South Mountain Inn was recently acquired and requires stabilization and restoration. Once research of the history of the building is complete, interpretive signs will be designed and manufactured. The signs will be mounted in interpretive wayside frames near the building so that visitors can read them and gain a better understanding of how and why the building is being conserved. This grant request is for sign frames for the planned interpretive waysides.

Swallow Falls
Tree Planting 
This proposed project entails planting trees in a section of the old-growth forest near Muddy Creek Falls at Swallow Falls State Park. The area to be rehabilitated is a short trail and an overlook that are no longer safe for public use. The overlook’s platform is structurally unstable and sits on top of a sheer cliff that drops about 50+ ft. Rehabilitating this area of the park will help to conserve natural lands, prevent soil erosion, promote biodiversity, benefit wildlife, and enhance the visitor experience through aesthetic appeal.

Tawes Garden
MD Native Plant ID Signs 
The purpose of Tawes Garden Native Pollinator Plants Signs is to provide identification of pollinator habitat plants located in the Tawes Pollinator Demonstration Garden (also known as Plant Mural) at MD DNR headquarters. Tawes Garden Native Pollinator Plants Signs will provide identification for park guests and school groups. The plan is for the signs to also serve as templates for other pollinator demonstration gardens in Maryland Park Service through Project Butterfly and Bumblebee.


2023 Small Grants/Big Impact Projects

Nineteen Maryland State Parks projects were awarded grants that focused on conservation, environmental education or outdoor recreation. The grants awarded totaled $31,280.  

Assatateague State Park

Purchasing 2-3 stand up paddle boards for park visitors to learn how to safely and efficiently use this type of watercraft.  The boards will also be used for the Healthy Parks, Healthy People event.  The purpose of encourage people to get more active while also growing their love for the outdoors.

Cunningham Falls State Park 

Will provide support for the SUCCESS Program – a program offered through the Frederick County School System for young adults with developmental disabilities from ages 18-21.

Deep Creek Lake State Park

The park will install two public bike work stands at each of the park’s two mountain bike trail heads.  Over 1000 mountain bikers use the trails at the park each year.

Gambrill State Park

Purchase equipment to host Movie Night at the park. This will be an outreach program to engage the local community and introduce them to the staff at the park.

Gathland State Park

This project will better inform the public about Townsend’s estate by installing a self-guided interpretation sound box in conjunction and sign. The park has a unique history that included the estate of Civil War correspondent George Alfred Townsend.

Greenbrier State Park (4 projects)

Big Red Bridge Trail
Beach Front Pollinator
Garden Campground
Reforestation Field Reforestation

Janes Island State Park  

Construct an Osprey platform with predator guard that will provide suitable nesting areas for the ospreys that return each year to the park.

New Germany State Park

Development and implantation of an Ice Safety and Ice Fishing Program. Participants will learn the skills to be a successful ice angler.
Patapsco Valley State Park 
Will provide fishing kits at three locations in the park.  These kits will provide all of the basic equipment to catch fish at the park. Specific Event days to include – free fishing days, CJC, Junior Rangers, and Beginner Fishing programs.
Pocomoke River State Park
Construct a new commercial canoe and kayak rack for the boat house. This will provide a safe and experiential opportunity for accessing the Pocomoke River via canoe or kayak.
Rocky Gap State Park
Will add a open-water swimming component and designated space for fitness swimming, or lap swimming in the park.  Provides a safe space to expand aquatic fitness program offerings in the park to improve outdoor recreation amenities that support healthy and active lifestyles.

Sandy Point State Park

Will enhance the Sandy Point Plaza Bathhouse Conservation Landscape Plantings on the plaza near the bathhouse in the South Beach Plaza area.

Sang Run State Park

Install the Blackbox U-Turn Round audio device near the square foot garden that is behind the Friends Store and is also the starting point of the Blue Bird Trail.

Smallwood State Park

Install a Blackbox U-Turn Round audio device on the General Walk’s Tour from the waterfront to the historic area. The recordings can be easily changed to accommodate all visitors to the park.

Seneca Creek State Park

Purchase 2-3 kayaks to allow visitors to explore Clopper Lake.  The kayaks will be available to rent at the boat house.

Statewide Program

Provides additional Spanish language resources, materials, and give-away items that are accessible to Spanish speaking guests. These resources will help to engage visitors in educational efforts, promote a sense of ownership among guests, and create awareness of the resources Maryland State Parks have to share.

2022 Small Grants/Big Impact Awards

Fifteen Maryland State Parks projects were awarded grants that focused on conservation, environmental education or outdoor recreation. The grants awarded total $25,840.  We were able to increase funding by 90% because of small donations from state park supporters like you.

Assateague Island State Park (2 projects)

The first project will continue on creating pollinator habitat through the park. The second project will demonstrate an alternative energy demonstration campsite that will replace a generator with green energy options.

Deep Creek Lake State Park

Upgrade interpretive signage at the Discovery Center to connect exhibits at the center with the county amenities. New signs will include text in braille to compliment the Sensory Trail at the park.

Gambrills State Park

Developing a new Camp Out program to provide camper kits to local community members interested in learning to camp.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park

Creating a new legacy garden that will educate visitors to the flora and fauna that was present during the time Harriet Tubman lived. Besides interpretive panels, Park Rangers will provide guided hikes.

Janes Island State Park  

Construct two new “Inspiration” garden areas.  One will feature an oyster garden using “Taylor” style floats and the other will feature native plants on a raised bed.

North Point State Park

Construct a native plant garden that will demonstrate best conservation practices.

Pocomoke River State Park

Construct enclosures for the enrichment and well-being of birds of prey housed in the park’s aviary.

Rocky Gap State Park

Complete renovations at the park’s nature center that will improve interpretive exhibits and increase access.

Sandy Point State Park

Build new lifeguard stands that will include signage to communicate public safety messages in English and Spanish.

Sang Run State Park

Complete renovations to the Election House.  Installing signage and interpretive panels will bridge formal and informal school field trips.

South Mountain State Park

Install two new food storage poles to secure food from the reach of bears, raccoons and other wildlife on the Appalachian Trail.

Martinak State Park

In partnership with Caroline County’s “Healthy Parks, Healthy People” program, the park will purchase six kayaks and gear for use by park visitors.

Wolf Den State Park

Plant trees in open areas in need of best conservation practices and t mitigate current erosion issues.

Youghiogheny State Park

Construct a Champion Tree Trail and install interpretive signage that feature two county tree champions.

2021 Small Grants/Big Impact Projects

The Friends of Maryland State Parks awarded grants totaling $13,619. These grants provided funding for state parks across Maryland to collaborate with community partners to improve shoreline habitats, build interpretive displays, renovate trails and campgrounds, create pollinator gardens, and more.
Given the challenges faced in 2020, even the smallest grant can bring a smile to park staff and visitors. Project examples include:
Deep Creek Lake State Park
Implement a fruit tree orchard including pear, peach, plum, cherry and apple trees. Interpretive signs along a trail within the new orchard will share insights on the history of arboriculture and importance of fruit trees to the nation. And the apples will be used to craft apple cider and butter during demonstrations at the annual Sang Run State Park’s Fall Festival.
Maryland State Parks (statewide)
Offer interactive snorkeling adventures in Maryland’s rivers and streams. With the purchase of snorkeling kits, park staff will be able to engage students and visitors in interactive aquatic adventures, exploring life below the surface of the clear waters of our parks’ creeks and rivers.
Susquehanna State Park
Establish an 8-acre field of native warm season grasses to enhance the ecosystem and serve as a demonstration, learning resource for local landowners and farmers. Traditionally the fields in Susquehanna State Park have been hayed commercially, providing little in the way of benefit to the natural environment. Natural grasses will provide habitat for small mammals, wild turkey and bobwhite quail among other species. The habitat will also provide hunting grounds for birds of prey such as hawks and owls.
Tuckahoe State Park Complex – Martinak State Park Nature Center
Construct a new exhibit tank for two Diamondback Terrapins that will provide the terrapins a more expanded land and water habitat. The new exhibit will give the terrapins a healthier environment and will also help students and park visitors see the terrapins up close, while keeping the terrapins safe in their native habitat.
Pocomoke River State Park
Install trail puncheons (boardwalks) to enable visitors to access remote portions of the park. The popular Trail of Change takes visitors through diverse elevations and vegetation, introducing them to a portion of the northernmost bald cypress swamp in the United States. Portions of the trail are often saturated and subject to tides, so the new puncheons will provide visitors a safe and dry path.
During times like these, we need our parks more than ever. Given COVID self-quarantine, our use of trails and open areas of parks has increased dramatically. In addition to increased visitation, parks face challenges from a changing climate and diminished budgets.
Consequently, your park resources and staff are being strained to the breaking point – a Small Grant can provide vital support. Whether you contribute $10 or $1,000 to our Small Grants Program, your dollars will support Conservation & Education activities in 2020/2021.

Our goal is to protect and enhance the conservation or recreation value of Maryland’s State Parks, and to inspire the public to adopt conservation stewardship ethics.

Our goal is to create opportunities for hands-on experimentation and minds-on reflection in our state parks. Place-based learning places students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities, and experiences, and uses these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and other subjects across the curriculum.