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DNR Historian Robert F. Bailey Describes a Century in Maryland’s Forests and Parks
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by Barbara Garner | 2007

A Forest Service historian tells the history of our state forests and parks

Maryland’s Forests and Parks, A Century of Progress, by Robert F. Bailey, III, on behalf of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, is a recently published book in the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing.  It is a well-documented account of Maryland’s forests and state parks beginning in 1906, and tells, largely with photographs and captions, the story of 100 years of work.  The book opens on a somber note with a chapter on “A Crisis in Maryland’s Forests” and closes more optimistically with “New Realities and Opportunities.”

Throughout are sections devoted to the development of physical facilities such as campgrounds for overnight visits, lakes for fishing, boating and swimming and cabins for vacationing.  Ties are made to major events and programs affecting the nation including the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the war years.  Many of Maryland’s present day facilities are thanks to the work of the CCC.

For those who enjoy the out-of-doors and activities such as hiking, skiing, fishing, boating and swimming, leafing through the photographs reveal time and again familiar places.  Some are shown in the early days of operation and others are of more modern times.

The work of Fred Besley, a Maryland’s first State Forester, is covered in the early chapters.  A recent photograph near the end of the book shows Besley and a 1930s Maryland forest warden being portrayed at a plaque dedication in Patapsco Valley State Park in 2006.*

This is a small book worth reading for a comprehensive review of all that is involved in caring for and managing public lands for the good of the resource and the benefit to people.  It leads one to appreciate what Maryland has to offer.

*Other plaques dedicated during the 2006 Centennial Year in state parks were at Wye Oak, on Forestry in Maryland; Patapsco, on the Besley Family Campsite; Gambrill, on the Civilian Conservation Corps; and Deep Creek Lake, on Forest Wardens and Fire Towers.  A final plaque will be dedicated in the spring of 2007 at Potomac Garrett State Forest, on the Garrett Brothers Donation of Forest Land.

The book is available at libraries, bookstores and on-line at the DNR website,    

> 2007 Table of Contents


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