For Immediate Release - November 20, 2009

Patrick-Murray Administration Launches New Blog on The Great Outdoors

BOSTON - Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles announced today the launch of a new blog dedicated to engaging and informing Massachusetts residents and visitors about the Commonwealth's outdoor activities and events, wildlife, state parks, and local agriculture.

Wondering where to roast marshmallows over the crackle of a campfire, feel the spray of the ocean or sink your teeth into a crisp Massachusetts-grown apple after a hay ride? The Great Outdoors blog will tell you about outdoor activities, wildlife, and local farms, as well as offer suggestions for places to explore, hike, fish, hunt, or go boating around the state. A great tool for planning a day-trip, weekend or family vacation, The Great Outdoors will cover topics like recipes for cooking locally grown produce, the three steepest hikes in Massachusetts, field reports from shark biologists, when to volunteer to count bald eagles, where to tour local wineries, and the best stocked fishing holes.

"Massachusetts is home to superb outdoor landscapes. Whether you're a fan of backcountry sports, walks in the park, or freshly grown fruits and vegetables, Massachusetts is full of outdoor treasures," said Secretary Bowles. "This blog is a tremendous opportunity for residents and visitors to connect with our agency experts and find new ways to enjoy the great outdoors."

The blog includes posts from staff representing the Departments of Agricultural Resources (DAR), Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and Fish and Game (DFG) who are experts in Massachusetts-grown foods, wildlife biology, wetlands restoration, and outdoor sports and activities. Follow the blog and find out which blogger likes Brussels sprouts or who just returned from hiking the Appalachian Trail and why another is fond of gunkholing. It's also a place where you can talk back to the experts and share your own tales from the great outdoors.

"I can't think of a better way to highlight the great diversity of our rich agricultural community than this blog forum," said DAR Commissioner Scott Soares. "Once folks start to see up close all that our state has to offer - including pick-your-own farms, locally grown oysters, farmers' markets and farm stands, wine, agricultural fairs, B & B's, and more - they are going to be amazed. I look forward to contributing to The Great Outdoors."

"The DCR parks are one of the Commonwealth's finest resources," said DCR Commissioner Rick Sullivan. "We hope residents and visitors will use this information to find out where to ski, sled, skate, swim, stroll, bike, or picnic in our 450,000 acres of parks, forests, greenways, historic sites, seashores, lakes and ponds."

"There are spectacular locations across the Commonwealth for hunting, fishing, boating and observing wildlife," said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin. "We hope this blog will help outdoor enthusiasts, families, individuals and visitors discover these special local places and get outside and enjoy them."

Visit The Great Outdoors at www.mass.gov/blog/environment.