The newly formed Depart­ment of Re­cre­ation, Parks and Tourism

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum - Eileen Min­nick is the di­rec­tor of the Depart­ment of Re­cre­ation, Parks, and Tourism for Charles County Gov­ern­ment.

Charles County Gov­ern­ment’s re­cent re­or­ga­ni­za­tion, ef­fec­tive July 2016, formed the new Depart­ment of Re­cre­ation, Parks and Tourism, join­ing to­gether three leisure-re­lated di­vi­sions. Each divi- sion works to en­hance the qual­ity of life for res­i­dents and vis­i­tors. Com­bin­ing these three di­vi­sions into one depart­ment al­lows your county gov­ern­ment to more ef­fec­tively and ef­fi­ciently pro­vide you with pro­grams, ser­vices and fa­cil­i­ties.

The re­cre­ation di­vi­sion pro­vides fun, qual­ity recre­ational and leisure ac­tiv­i­ties for all ages, in­clud­ing: sport pro­grams and leagues, aquat­ics, com­mu­nity cen­ters, gym- nas­tics, sum­mer camp pro­grams, fit­ness classes, arts and crafts, per­sonal en­rich­ment and spe­cial events. The di­vi­sion op­er­ates nine school-based com­mu­nity cen­ters, six aquat­ics fa­cil­i­ties, the Port To­bacco Re­cre­ation Cen­ter, and Elite Gym­nas­tics and Re­cre­ation Cen­ter.

If get­ting out­side and en­joy­ing na­ture ap­peals to you, Charles County is home to more than 4,000 acres of open space, in­clud­ing parks and na­ture ar­eas. The parks di­vi­sion main­tains 50 miles of county trails in­clud­ing the In­dian Head Rail Trail, fish­ing lo­ca­tions, five boat­ing ac­cess fa­cil­i­ties, a skate park, eques­trian fa­cil­i­ties and a re­gion­ally-ac­claimed golf course.

Open space preser­va­tion plays a vi­tal role in pro­tect­ing our en­vi­ron­ment, im­prov­ing wa­ter qual­ity and pro­vid­ing a won­der­ful habi­tat for wildlife. Visit our parks to en­joy na- ture, get phys­i­cally fit and con­nect with your neigh­bors and friends. Gath­er­ing spa­ces and pav­il­ion rentals are also avail­able for cel­e­bra­tions, such as fam­ily re­unions, cor­po­rate events, and birth­day and grad­u­a­tion par­ties.

The tourism and spe­cial events di­vi­sion hosts fam­ily-friendly an­nual events for res­i­dents and vis­i­tors. Cel­e­brate Charles events are held through­out the year. These events in­clude A Fun-Filled Fourth in July and Fal­lFest in Oc­to­ber. Tourism events fo­cus on a va­ri­ety of in­ter­ests, in­clud­ing his­tory. The county of­fers tours of the His­toric Port To­bacco Vil­lage and his­toric trails, such as the Civil War Trails and the John Wilkes Booth Es­cape Trail.

Cur­rently, the tourism and spe­cial events di­vi­sion is work­ing to re-brand tourism mar­ket­ing ef­forts to en­gage more vis­i­tors. Events draw­ing overnight vis­i­tors are es­sen­tial be­cause they cre­ate a pos­i­tive eco­nomic im­pact. These events gen­er­ate tourism in­dus­try sales and tax dol­lars, and sup­port lo­cal hos­pi­tal­ity jobs. The tourism di­vi­sion hosts sev­eral events through­out the year that bring peo­ple into the county from other ar­eas. Bass­mas­ter Tour­na­ments, Fish­ing League World­wide Tour­na­ments, Mary­land High School Rodeo and Fall Fes­ti­val, Am­a­teur Ath­letic Union Tae Kwon Do Mary­land Dis­trict Cham­pi­onship and the St. Charles Run­ning Fes­ti­val are just a few events that bring in tourism rev­enue.

What­ever your in­ter­est, the Depart­ment of Re­cre­ation, Parks, and Tourism has an ac­tiv­ity, pro­gram or fa­cil­ity for you to im­prove your so­cial, men­tal and phys­i­cal well-be­ing. Our pro­fes­sional staff is ded­i­cated to en­rich­ing the qual­ity of life for present and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. Read the GUIDE and learn more about events, ser­vices and ac­tiv­i­ties at www.CharlesCoun­, or by call­ing the depart­ment at 301-934-3470. Fun hap­pens here!

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