It was during the spring of 2020, when the world as we know it was changed forever due to the rapidly spreading coronavirus. THAT was when I realized just how important public lands are to our society. When we were scared, stressed, lonely, and oh so desperate to get out of the house, we turned to the great outdoors.
Being the outdoorsy family that we are, getting outdoors was a no-brainer. We knew where to go, how to do it safely, and how to avoid other people.
But that wasn't the case for most of those living here. I had countless people, from all corners of my life, text me, facebook message me, or email me - all looking for my advice on where to go and what to do. "Assateague is closed, where else can I walk my dog?" "I need to get these boys out of the house!" "Where can I take my family on a hike that is stroller friendly?" "What are your tips for kayaking solo?" "What trails have the least amount of people?" "I want to have a picnic on the water with some shade, where can I go?" "I need the beach but OC's beaches are closed, where can I go?!"
ALL of these questions and more came my way. And I absolutely LOVED answering them! But at the same time, I was nearly dumbfounded by how little my friends and family actually knew about the public lands in their own communities. I felt called and challenged to do something about it, but I didn't know what.
Meanwhile, I was taking my own family hiking all over the place! We avoided the well-known parks and headed to lesser known trails in state forests and Nature Conservancy properties. We hiked miles upon miles, GPS tracking the trails and taking loads of photos along the way.
By August of 2020, I had enough content to begin developing Delmarva Trails & Waterways. It is still currently a work in progress, with way more content to add. But it's plenty of information to get anyone outside and enjoying the wild side of the Delmarva peninsula. And some may ask "Why bother? All of this information is on the internet somewhere." This is true, to a certain extent. But what I have found is that there is no one-stop-shop. Public land is owned and managed by so many different agencies and levels of government, that it can be incredibly overwhelming for someone to find the information they need with a simple google search or puttzing around on the DNR website. Yeah, there are those crowd-sourcing, user-input sites, but they tend to be incomplete and full of false information. In addition, many of the governing sites have vague information, not-mobile-or-user-friendly ArcGIS maps, and next to ZERO photos! No fun. Not one bit.
So. As the idea for this website was brewing in April of 2020, I told a friend of mine about it. I said I didn't know what I was going to do, but I knew that I wanted to connect people to public lands. He told me that was a powerful statement and encouraged me to act on it.
I hope this website helps connect YOU to some trails, waterways, and public lands. Places that provide space, fun, exercise, knowledge, peace, and lots and lots of memories.