OK, most of us haven't even started this weekend yet.

But there's nothing to say we can't begin planning for our next work-week break. I mean, next week is a short week after all. Might as well get a jump on the crowds.


Two big events stand out on June 5 — National Trails Day and Maryland Free Fishing Day — each of which anchors lots of local doings. Perhaps the biggest trail happening June 5 is the opening of the Appalachian Trail Museum in Gardners, Pa., about the halfway point on the 2,100 path from Georgia to Maine and less than two hours by car from the Baltimore area.

Requiring more than a decade of planning and fund raising, the museum features exhibits that highlight the exploits of the first end-to-end, or "thru" hikers and takes note of today's adventurers, some of whom will probably be sitting on the front porch, resting their feet before continuing on.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony begins at 11 a.m. and there's a parking and shuttle system to get folks into Pine Grove Furnace State Park. Get all the details at www.atmuseum.org.

National Trails Day has lots of other activities closer to home, from walks in parks to restoration projects. You can help REI Timonium rebuild trails at Patapsco Valley State Park or take a 4-mile hike at Patuxent Resaerch Refuge along a path dedicated to one of the world's greatest bird experts, Chandler Robbins, who has spent more than half a century working at the research refuge.

Some programs require registration. Details of all 26 Maryland NTD events are at http://www.americanhiking.org.

Next Saturday is the first of the state's three free fishing days. The event extends to adults the same privilege enjoyed by anglers under the age of 16: no license required.

Free fishing can take place on any piece of freshwater, tidal water or saltwater in Maryland. All rules and regulations about number and size of fish still apply, so be sure to read up on that stuff before you go. The complete list is at on the state's website.

For the kids, there's a fishing derby at Piney Run Park in Sykesville. The 300-acre reservoir has two floating docks, perfect platforms for little feet, and lots of panfish. The derby runs from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., and includes a casting contest and tons of prizes. The cost is $5 per kid. The entry form is at Carroll County's government's website.

Also for the kids, is the 13th annual Ducks Unlimited Greenwings outing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the grounds of the Baltimore County Game and Fish Protective Association, 3400 Northwind Road, Carney.

Activities include casting, archery and bird box building. There will be falconry and turkey-, goose- and duck-calling demonstrations.

The event is open to all kids up to age 17, accompanied by an adult. Admission is $10 per person, which covers lunch, a T-shirt, and a Ducks Unlimited Greenwings membership.

Call Robert Batchelor, 410-592-9276, for more information.