The number of winter closings of state parks in Maryland is being expanded this year because of a statewide hiring freeze. Eighteen of the state's 31 parks are being shut down for three months this winter -- six more than last year, according to Donald MacLauchlan, director of the Maryland Forest, Park and Wildlife Service. Part of Patapsco Valley State Park also will be closed.
Most of the closings are to prepare the parks for spring, MacLauchlan said, but others are to "economize." The state has imposed a hiring freeze in most departments because of a revenue shortfall predicted to reach $300 million in the current budget year. The park service has 39 vacancies among its 361 park rangers, MacLauchlan said.
Ranger stations, bathrooms and other buildings in the closed parks will not be open, but members of the public will still be allowed to visit those parks. "Nobody is going to be run out of the park," MacLauchlan said.
Here's the list of state parks and their status this winter:
Rocky Gap -- open all year.
Dan's Mountain -- Closed Dec. 3; reopening to be announced.
Deep Creek Lake -- Closed Dec. 10-March 1.
New Germany -- Open all year.
Herrington Manor -- Open all year.
Swallow Falls -- Closed Dec. 3-March 29.
Seneca Creek -- Closed Oct 1-March 29.
*Gambrill -- Closed Dec. 1; reopening to be announced.
Houck Area -- Closed Oct 28-March 8, noon to sunset.
Manor Area -- Open all year.
*Fort Frederick -- Closed Dec. 1; reopening to be announced.
*Greenbrier -- Closed Dec. 9-Feb. 28; closed March 1-April 18, 8 a.m.-sunset.
Gathland -- Closed to day use Dec. 1; reopening to be annnounced.
Washington -- Closed Dec. 1; reopening to be announced.
*Cedarville -- Closed Dec. 4, reopening to be announced.
Smallwood -- Closed Dec. 3-Feb.28.
Calvert Cliffs -- Closed Oct. 1; reopening to be announced.
Point Lookout -- Open all year.
Sandy Point -- Open all year.
Metapeake Closed Dec. 1-May 1.
Jonas Green -- Closed Oct. 1-May 3.
Hilton area -- Closed Dec. 1-March 1; open Fri.-Sun. from March to Memorial Day
Glen Artney area -- Closed Nov. 1-March 31
McKeldin -- Closed Mon.-Wed., Nov. 1-June 30.
Avalon -- Open all year.
Pickall -- Open weekends and holidays, May 5-Oct. 15.
Assateague -- Closed Dec. 9-April 11.
Shad Landing -- Open all year.
Milburn Landing -- Closed Dec. 3; reopens March 27.
Cherry Lane -- Closed Sept. 30; Reopening to be announced.
Lake Area -- Open all year.
Martinak -- Open all year.
Choptank River Fishing Piers -- Open all year.
*Janes Island -- Closed Dec. 3; reopening to be announced.
Elk Neck -- Closed Dec. 9; reopening to be announced.
*Susquehanna -- Closed Dec. 9; reopening to be announced.
Gunpowder Falls -- Open all year.
Rocks State Park
Wilson Area -- Closed Sept. 3-May 3.
Rock Ridge -- Closed Oct. 29-March 29.
Hills Grove -- Open all year (restrooms closed Dec.-Feb.).
*Denotes park being closed that previously remained open.