One year after Bill Burton went on the last fishing trip of his 82 years, the state formally dedicated the two fishing piers over the Choptank River near Cambridge in his memory.
About two dozen friends, family members and state officials gathered under a blazing hot sun to remember Burton, who wrote about Maryland's outdoors for more than a half century, 37 of those years as a columnist for the Evening Sun.
"Bill's words were clean and crisp and the people he met on the bay were like they were right out of a novel," said Joe Gill, deputy secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and an avid reader. "This is an appropriate place to honor Bill Burton. ... It's a place where people come, where people are alive."
Burton's daughter, Heather Boughey, recalled how her father mounted a campaign in his column in 1985 to save the old U.S. 50 bridge from demolition after a new bridge was built.
Last July, days before the state Board of Public Works voted to rename the 20-acre site the Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park, friends arranged a fishing trip to the Talbot County side of the pier so the writer could enjoy an outing with a group of kids -- his favorite constituency.
Burton signed certificates for each young angler and posed for pictures.
"It was my last fishing trip with my dad," Boughey said. "This is a perfect way to honor my dad's memory."
Weakened by cancer, Burton was unable to attend the Board of Public Works. He died in early August.
State Fisheries Service biologist Marty Gary said local fishing groups had agreed to join forces to sponsor a fall fishing tournament in Burton's honor.
"I hope you can come back and join us," Gary said. "It's up to us to carry it forward."
Photo: Lois Burton, wife of the late outdoors writer Bill Burton, and the couple's granddaughter, Mackenzie Boughey.