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June 2, 2011

Five things to do outdoors this weekend

When someone offers you an outdoors freebie, take it. Maryland and Virginia and the federal government want you to wet a line this weekend for free.

Grab a rod and reel and a container of nightcrawlers and head for the water. Here's some suggestions--fishy and non-fishy--for this weekend.

1) On Saturday, adults and kids can fish anywhere in Maryland without a license. Just follow state regulations about size and number of fish and you're in business. Virginia Marine Resources Commission has declared June 3-5 free saltwater fishing days and the state's Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has extended that to include freshwaters, except in designated stocked trout waters. No license is required; all fishing regulations, including size, season, catch limits and gear restrictions, will remain in effect. For saltwater regulations, visit Virginia's state website. Fish free at Saturday at at Bogles Wharf and Ingleside at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge will host its annual freshwater fishing event for kids ages 15 and under. Photos, prizes and fun will take place at Hog Range Pond.

2) The 13th Annual Ducks Unlimited youth activity day will be held – rain or shine – on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Baltimore County Game and Fish Protective Association, 3400 Northwind Road in Carney. Activities include waterfowl decoy carving, working dog demonstrations, archery; falconry, wildlife exhibits; firearms safety and marksmanship and bird house construction. The $10 admission fee covers all activities, lunch, a DU Greenwing membership and one-year subscription to DU Magazine. For details, contact Mike Havlik at:

3) The Anita C. Leight Estuary Center in Abingdon is sponsoring its 14th Annual Wade In Festival on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Retired state Sen. Bernie Fowler began the Wade In to measure water quality, and the Tributary Strategy Team and the Estuary Center carries on the tradition at Otter Point Creek. The afternoon will include live music, fish printing, decoy carving demonstrations, pontoon boat rides, fish seining, canoeing, kayaking and face painting. The vent is free and no registration is required.

4) Roland Park is having a community walk Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There are guided tours at 9 and 11--just meet in front of the library. The details are on the website.

5) On Sunday, take a wildflower walk with a naturalist at 9 a.m. at the Patuxent Research Refuge North Tract in Laurel. The guided 90-minute stroll will introduce you to the role that wildflowers play in the ecosystem and will help you identify some common species. Field guide, water, and magnifying glass recommended. Suitable for all ages. The North Tract is on Route 198 between the Baltimore-Washington. The walk is free; donations to the Friends of Patuxent are welcomed. Save a spot by calling 301-497-5887.

Posted by Candus Thomson at 7:00 AM |
About Candus Thomson
In a world of paper vs. plastic and candy mint vs. breath mint, my early memories involved a debate about the merits of freshwater vs. saltwater.

On the one hand, a great uncle’s fishing cabin on the Susquehanna River beckoned, but so did family gatherings on the Jersey Shore.

The correct answer, thankfully, was, “both.”

As The Sun’s outdoors writer for more than a decade, I’ve fished across Maryland in one day, hiked the width of the state in one hour, camped overnight in the median of I-95 to experience the wildlife between the fast lanes and chased mountain bikers in a 24-hour marathon race.

Those are some of the highlights. I’ve also fallen in a raging Gunpowder River during a trout survey (photo available upon request), had a shark spill its guts on my clothes and been stuck in a sub-freezing Vermont wilderness with men armed with flintlocks and hatchets, shuffling along on ancient wooden snowshoes.

And, in my travels I’ve met lots of you, who share a love of the outdoors and the good times and mishaps that go along with it.

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