Maryland eases some coronavirus restrictions on outdoor recreation, allowing golf, boating and more

The Baltimore Sun

Maryland remains under a stay-at-home order with schools and many businesses closed, but Gov. Larry Hogan announced a slight easing of restrictions Wednesday on outdoor recreation and nonemergency medical procedures.

The governor amended his stay-at-home order to allow for individual and small group sports — such as golfing and tennis, outdoor fitness instruction, recreational fishing and hunting, recreational boating and horseback riding — starting Thursday.

Also, Maryland’s state-owned beaches and parks will open Thursday for walking and exercise. Local governments will have the flexibility to take similar actions at their discretion, Hogan said.

“I know how anxious people are to get outside, both for their physical and mental well-being, and we know that outside activity is safer than inside activity,” Hogan said during a news conference Wednesday at the State House in Annapolis.

He said his coronavirus advisory team had “much discussion” Tuesday on the issue of outdoor activities, and members ultimately agreed to allow “lower-risk outdoor activities.”[Ocean City to reopen beaches, boardwalk this weekend, as resort town sees first coronavirus cases] »

Hogan also announced that hospitals can resume nonemergency procedures, which had been barred in an attempt to keep inpatient populations low in case a surge of COVID-19 cases threatened to overwhelm them.

“Many Marylanders may have put off important procedures, screenings and other things that they really need to attend to,” Hogan said. “If there’s something that you have had to delay — like a PET scan or a biopsy, an angioplasty or an orthopedic procedure — you should now be able to take care of those time-sensitive procedures.”

The changes marked the first easing of Hogan’s strict statewide restrictions, imposed starting in March to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The governor has pushed back against a wider reopening, saying the state needs to reach a sustained decline in the number of hospitalizations for treatment of the illness.

The governor’s move to reopen golf courses followed lobbying by owners and operators of clubs. A Politico reporter even asked him about it in April during a live interview.

“I want to get you on the record on this critical issue,” Politico reporter Jake Sherman asked. “Will golf courses in your state open any time in the near future?”

“Is there particular golf course that you would like to have open?” Hogan responded, chuckling. Hogan went on to say that opening golf courses would be “one of the early things that we do” as part of reopening — a pledge he fulfilled Wednesday.

David G. Bannister, board member of the Caves Valley Golf Club in Baltimore County, said he thinks golf is an activity that can be done safely.

While some courses might reopen immediately, Caves Valley plans to take its time preparing the facility and open May 22.

“We need a couple weeks to get things ready to go,” Bannister said. “Caves is a high-end experience. In order to present it the way you want, it takes a little time to tidy up.”

Republican lawmakers also had pressed to allow golfing, including U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, Maryland’s only Republican in Congress. Though he’s not a golfer, Harris said as an anesthesiologist he understands how to control infections.

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DNR black bear den survey proves productive

The Garrett County Republican

OAKLAND — Last month, as he does every March, Garrett County resident Harry Spiker checked on black bear sows and their cubs as they slept in their dens.

Spiker is a game mammal section leader for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. He is also Maryland’s principal black bear biologist coordinating bear research and management activities statewide. Since he lives and works in Garrett County, he also helps with bear management and nuisance issues locally.

“We maintain a sample of radio-collared sows (female bears) to track population growth and the overall health of the bear population,” Spiker said. “We try to maintain approximately 20 bears with radios across the four western counties. Since bears give birth every other year, that usually has us working about 10 bear dens per year but there are fluctuations as some bears may die, move away, den in unreachable places, etc.”

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Oakland native’s World War II flight may have inspired song

The Garrett County Republican

OAKLAND — An Oakland native who passed away in November at the age of 100 was once involved in a World War II flight that may have inspired the song “Comin’ in on a Wing and a Prayer.”

J.C. O’Donnell was a 22-year-old Army lieutenant when he flew a twin-engine warplane, a B-26 Marauder, in an intense dogfight in New Guinea on May 28, 1942.

He ended up flying the plane on one engine for four hours, arriving late back to the airstrip at Port Moresby.

News accounts stated that several planes flew over the mountains in New Guinea, and the Americans ended up under attack by more than a dozen Japanese Zero fighter planes.

The battle lasted 35 minutes, and the Marauder’s right engine was destroyed in machine gun fire. The tail was also hit and the fuselage acquired large holes.

O’Donnell took a long route home and was chased by the Japanese planes for about an hour. By the time he got the plane and his crew of six back to the airstrip, it had been declared missing.

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One of Deep Creek Lake’s Favorite Tourists: Albert Einstein

In September of 1946, Deep Creek Lake received a very special visitor:

Albert Einstein.

At this point in time, Einstein had created the basis for the atomic bomb (that he did not want to be used to hurt anyone) and the bombs had landed in Japan. He was quoted as saying, “The war was won but peace was not.” In such a hard time in his life, where did Einstein choose to find that peace?

That’s right, Deep Creek Lake.

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Einstein stayed with a local doctor who was treating him- Dr. Tom Wilson. Throughout his two week vacation, the famous scientist was seen walking his dog, fishing, bird watching, and sailing. With such a heavy heart and mind, Einstein was able to acquire some comfort here at Deep Creek.

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A man, Blair Thompson, was hired to assist Einstein during his vacation. Einstein gave the man an envelope with $50 inside and his signature in the corner. Thompson planned on keeping the envelope as a heirloom but unfortunately he lost it and it was never found.

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For more information about Einstein’s trip to Deep Creek Lake, please click  here.

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Towns of Garrett County- Mountain Lake Park, Maryland

Located 8 miles south of Deep Creek Lake lies Mountain Lake Park, Maryland. Similar to other neighboring towns, Mountain Lake Park was a popular resort area from the late 1800’s to the 1940’s. A “Chautauqua” style town, Mountain Lake Park stressed the importance of education as well as recreation. Over the years, thousands of visitors have traveled through Mountain Lake Park, such as President William Howard Taft and Mark Twain.

Today, the town is filled with Victorian style homes representing the times gone by and over 2,000 residents. It is still a source of recreation, since it neighbors Broadford Lake. When is the best time to visit Mountain Lake Park? The Western Maryland Clay Court Tennis Championships in August! The town has been hosting this event for the past 94 years. For more information about Mountain Lake Park, please visit http://mtnlakepark.org/.

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Towns of Garrett County- Deer Park, Maryland

Located about 5 miles south of Deep Creek Lake, Deer Park, Maryland is known for a historic resort hotel that once stood there. A small train town, Deer Park was a booming industry in the late 1800’s. The B & O Railroad dropped off many prestigious guests at the Deer Park Hotel for a fun, relaxing weekend in Mountain Maryland. In fact, President Grover Cleveland honeymooned here in 1886. The Deer Park Hotel is long gone, however, The Deer Park Inn Bed and Breakfast still offers an elegant French cuisine.

With a population just over 400 residents, Deer Park is once again ready for growth. With new sewer and water lines, the town is planning new construction projects and restoring historic buildings. For more information, please visit http://www.visitdeepcreek.com/pages/SouthernGarrettCounty.

FUN FACT: You know Deer Park Natural Spring Water? Yes, this is the same Deer Park! The popular bottled water comes from springs right here in Deer Park, Maryland.

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