With Naturalist Maddie Koenig, second from left, visitors get a look at Lake Hashawha while hunting for natural objects to craft into seasonal decorations at Bear Branch Nature Center in Westminster Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015.
With Naturalist Maddie Koenig, second from left, visitors get a look at Lake Hashawha while hunting for natural objects to craft into seasonal decorations at Bear Branch Nature Center in Westminster Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

Since 1985, July has been National Parks and Recreation Month across the U.S., and since at least 2013, Carroll County has celebrated through its Park Pursuit program, according to county Bureau Chief of Recreation Lisa Carroll. It’s a month full of park-related activities designed to get people out in Carroll’s park system and to support it as well.

“Throughout the month of July there are activities going on daily. Some of them are lead by staff and some of them are on your own,” Carroll said. “The more activities they go around do, the more opportunities to win prizes.”

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Prizes include gift certificates, amusement park tickets and passes to Earth Treks Climbing Centers, activities include disc golf at Leister Park, archery at Robert Moton Center and learning to canoe at Lake Hashawha.

But the very first event is a kick off to the whole Park Pursuit month, to be held from 6 p.ml to 8 p.m. Monday, July 1, at the Carroll County Farm Museum. Entry will be $25 per family and will enter them into the running for prizes for the entire month of Park Pursuit, according to Carroll, and registration will be available the night of the event, online at ccrecpark.org or by calling 410-386-2103.

“We are going to have food for them there, there will be an inflatable, the Baltimore Orioles bird will be coming in and we will be giving out prizes that night,” she said.

Proceeds from the entry fees will benefit the Park Legacy Fund.

“All the money goes right back into the parks,” Carroll said. “The Park Legacy Fund was created to receive donations in order to provide different infrastructure in the parks … Be it tree plantings, be it benches, be it toward a park specifically like the dog park.”

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Park Pursuit will also dovetail with other events that are open to the public, but those who are registered can earn credit toward possible prizes by attending, according to Carroll. One example is the “virtual 5K run/walk.”

“They register for a run and then they can run at any time in any park that they want, and there are three different levels,” Carroll said. “Anybody registered for Park Pursuit is automatically registered for bronze level, which is they get a certificate stating that they ran a 5K to support the parks.”

Those interested in registering for the virtual run at the $20, silver level will receive a medal, and those registering at the gold level for $35 will receive a medal and a T-shirt.

There will also be walks with each of Carroll County’s commissioners, according to Carroll.

“Each commissioner is coming out to a park, one of the locations in July, and they are doing probably a 45 minute to an hour walk where the constituents may ask questions they may have,” she said. “Anyone who comes and participates in that will get a free Kona ice.”

A schedule of the commissioner walks, and all the other Park Pursuit events, can be found online at ccrecpark.org beginning July 1.

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