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Signs You Can Use To Restore Your Special Places

when you fertilize your lawnMost signs are ignored. Their messages are obvious or they are not of interest to us. However, recently I was walking along the docks in Portland, Maine and my attention was captured by a series of signs about human’s everyday impact on the water quality in Casco Bay. The signs were attractive and provocative. They captured my interest, and more importantly they captured my wife’s interest. We stopped and read them all the way through!!

We wondered why we did not see more signs like this around the lakes where we lived. They could have the very same (more…)

Top Ten, Kid-friendly, Camping Grounds in Maryland

tent at nightimeWhat makes a campground kid-friendly? It often is a place that is easy to get to and has the basic, easily accessible and well maintained facilities. Some campgrounds have many more amenities, play areas, and access to trails and water bodies, but the most important aspects to me are places that are quiet and relaxed and where a family can go to explore the great outdoors.

I have camped at private and public sites all across Maryland. We are so lucky to have such a broad variety of natural habitats from the coast to the mountains. I have selected a few sites here that are spread around the state and all of which deserve your attention. Go out and explore the closest ones first and then expand out if you like. Many people just find one they like and keep going back. Do what you can to help preserve and maintain these treasures and be sure to let me know what you think. (more…)

Ned’s Top Ten Maryland Hikes

Billy_Goat_Trail_bouldersI have not done all the trails in Maryland but these are the memorable ones that I have done that are easy to locate. Many of the places I have hiked were along rivers or shorelines where there were no trails. Some of these required walking in the streams or in the shallow estuaries. It was all fun. But the ones listed here can all be found on maps and are (more…)

Ned’s Top Ten Hikes in Howard County, Maryland

nature walkWell here they are. My new rankings for 2015!! All are good for walking, some are fine for jogging or biking. A few are used by horseback riders. My challenge to you is to get outside this spring and explore each of these. If you have a group to inspire, feel free to contact me at I routinely lead interpretive hikes on all of these paths. (more…)

More Ways to Enjoy Winter

IMG_4906When we actually have a winter, instead of getting cabin fever, I like to get outside and embrace the weather. After all, many people live in more northern climates and they seem to do just fine. In fact, I think that is the answer. If you are used to cold weather and lots of snow, you learn how to enjoy it. That certainly was the case on my winter travels this year to Colorado and Maine.

I spent two weeks in Boulder in December. The first week was (more…)

How Do We Reach the Other 99 Percent?

photoIt may be an exaggeration to say that only 1 percent of our population is actively involved in efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay—perhaps it only seems that way. Nonetheless, it should be clear that there remains a whole lot more to do, and more people need to lend a hand. This will be even truer when government budgets are cut as fiscal conservatives take the reins in many areas.

I have spent the last 10 years trying to (more…)

Could Your Water Supply Be Cut off?

Photograph 2 Lake Erie Algal BloomThe loss of our water supply is not just a risk in dry areas where there is a very limited supply of water and water must be rationed during droughts (e.g., in California today). Losing access to potable water can happen anywhere. Last winter 300,000 residents of Charleston, West Virginia were told not to drink or bathe in their water. This past summer 400,000 Toledo, OH residents were told the same thing about their water coming from Lake Erie (  The irony of course is that there was plenty of water in these moist areas of the country. Water quantity is not the problem in the East. Water quality is.

The WV problem was the result of a 5000 gallon chemical spill (more…)

The National Trail System

(Excerpt from Saving the Places We Love)

Maine Geo Hike 1107 023Can you imagine exploring a mountainous region without a good trail system? it would take far longer to find your way through the mountains or to find the tallest peak. You might even wander around lost for weeks trying to find your way in and out. Fortunately, today there is a great system of trails throughout the country and, in many cases, good apps for finding your way.

For the most part, these trails are well marked and maintained largely by volunteers. For example, the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail is maintained by 6,000 volunteers in small clubs all along the way from Georgia to Maine ( This is true for many of the trails that crisscross our country. Thanks to all of you who help maintain these trails. (more…)