For Immediate Release - December 23, 2009

Patrick-Murray Administration's New Blog on The Great Outdoors Gets 12,500 Views

BOSTON - Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles announced today the 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 has recorded more than 12,500 website hits in its first month.

The blog, launched last month, features tips about weekend hikes, where to go apple picking, how to track wildlife, ideal fishing holes and spotlights field reports on whale research from state biologists. The blog's authors are staff representing the Departments of Agricultural Resources (DAR), Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and Fish and Game (DFG), and are experts in Massachusetts-grown foods, wildlife biology, wetlands restoration and outdoor sports and activities. They offer suggestions about family-friendly activities, volunteer opportunities and recipes for cooking locally grown produce.

"With all that Massachusetts has to offer outside, this blog is a great resource for information and we look forward to its continued success," said Secretary Bowles. "We hope the public will continue to engage with us about all the wildlife, scenic destinations and outdoor activities found across the state."

There have been 22 blog posts and the blog has had an average of 223 page views per day since EEA launched it on November 20, 2009.

"With so many great outdoor activities to choose from, Massachusetts is an ideal getaway for an affordable weekend or week-long stay," said Betsy Wall, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. "With great deals being offered by the industry, who wouldn't want to be in Massachusetts at any season?"

The blog includes posts about how to volunteer to count bald eagles, where to find local vineyard tour events, local outdoor holiday shopping, state park visitors summiting local peaks and features a collection of photographs on each topic. The blog is also a place where you can interact with the experts and share your own tales from the great outdoors.

"It's great that people are reading and commenting on our posts about local wildlife, outdoor adventures, fishing and hunting opportunities, and ecological restoration," said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin. "Already, this blog is inspiring people to get outside and share their experiences with others."

"There is so much to do in our 450,000 acres of state parks, from skiing and sledding to hiking and picnicking," said DCR Commissioner Rick Sullivan. "We're happy that people are using the information we're posting on The Great Outdoors blog to learn more about these activities and about DCR-sponsored programs and events."

"The good momentum this blog is getting highlights the valuable service it is providing to folks interested in finding out what the great outdoors has to offer in Massachusetts," said DAR Commissioner Scott Soares. "I know that I am learning a lot from our sister agencies and hope that people are enjoying the agriculture entries that showcase the many activities related to Massachusetts' diverse farming community."

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