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Places

Fourth-graders and family visit national parks free
      Autumn invites us to pack up the camping gear and head to a park, trail or national monument. If you have a fourth-grade student, your park visit can be free.       For the fifth year, fourth-grade children can get a free pass to visit more than 2,000 federal recreation areas. The Every Kid Outdoors program is a partnership between the Department of the Interior, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Forest Service.

1.3 million acres protected this decade

      At a time when preservation efforts are being diminished, from monuments in the West to endangered and threatened species, a report this week from the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership offered good news.             From 2010 until the end of last year, more than 1.3 million acres of land throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed has been permanently protected, according to a report citing data from the Chesapeake Bay Program.

How many roads is just right?

      Build too many new roads, and development will overtake Calvert County in the next two decades. Build too few, and the future is gridlocked. How much road construction — hence commuting time — is just right? That’s the question Calvert County transportation planners are asking.             The best prep for answering that question is reading the revised Transportation Plan now online. But commenters will have to hurry: The online public comment period ends September 6.

Vanishing islands to be restored from Baltimore Harbor dredging

      Since Bay Weekly was young in the 1990s, we have watched as fast-disappearing Poplar Island, a getaway for Franklin Roosevelt, was rebuilt with the dredge spoils form Baltimore Harbor. Over the years, 34 million cubic yards of materials from the harbor bottoms have dramatically expanded the landmass off Tilghman Island, and we’re told now that the project is about done.

Growing and thriving over 43 years

     Do you smell the roasting smoked turkey legs? Hear the clanging of steel as jousters meet on the field of battle? Spot courtiers from the 1500s showing up in everyday scenes?       Yes, it’s that time of year again. The Renaissance Festival is Chesapeake Country’s unofficial sign that summer is ending.

Honor the memory of the enslaved

      August 25 marks the 400th anniversary of the first landing of enslaved Africans in English-occupied North America. They arrived on the White Lion, an English privateer ship sailing under Dutch authority, at Point Comfort in Hampton, Virginia, now part of Fort Monroe National Monument, a unit of the National Park System.

Maryland’s senators use their ­summer break to learn about the communities they serve

      When the U.S. Congress goes on summer vacation, senators and representatives head home. With Congress in long summer recess — all of August and the first week of September — our two senators are visiting communities in Maryland from the ocean to the mountains.

Must we eat our way out of this problem?

     Stopping at Bob Evans Seafood in Shady Side, Lou Hyde reports he routinely finds blue catfish in his 240 crab pots in Herring Bay. Some of the horned invaders are so fat that he tears up his pots cutting them loose.       Mick Blackistone, fishmonger, worries that they’re eating juvenile crabs.
You have to get up early if you’re going to fill your basket
     “Nothing is better than being on the water in the morning,” I tell my skeptical family as we head out the door at 5:45am.       We are meeting Captain Trey Plumb and my colleague Audrey at Collins Marine Railway in Deale. Plumb, owner of FishMermaniac Charters, is a Maryland native and a lifelong waterman. He has been fishing the Bay, its tributaries and the Atlantic Ocean for more than 30 years. Five years ago, he expanded his business by offering crabbing charters.

Turning a crab feast into an eco-success

       Twenty-two hundred crab-lovers filled their bellies with crabs, barbecue, beer and watermelon at the 74th Annapolis Rotary Crab Feast earlier this month.             Trash cans were filled as well, with shells, claws, cups and plates. Instead of the landfill, all that waste is going to recycling.