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Outdoors

James Drake

The first time we visited Point Lookout State Park, I remember my thoughts mirroring a real estate agent’s thinking “location, location, location.”

It’s just a little spit of land for a state park, not much more than 1,000 acres, but it is some of the most beautiful topography you’re likely to encounter.

While driving down to the lighthouse at the end of the park road on the right, you look out over Cornfield Harbor on the Potomac River and you can actually see Virginia on the far side.

If you look left, the broad expanse of the Chesapeake Bay wholly fills your eye. It is just stunning.

That initial visit was about 40 years ago and it was summertime. I saw folks back then fishing on the bay side and more people were wading into the water and crabbing with their chicken necks, string and long-handle nets on the Potomac shore.

Bike riders, walkers and joggers shared the road and everyone was just happily recreating by the water. It looked like they were all having a grand time.

I knew back then that this was a place I’d have to visit many times in the future, and we surely have over the years.

The most recent stopover was just last week on a beautiful, warm Tuesday with blue skies and little wind. Our daughter brought along two of our grandchildren and it made for a lovely family outing.

The park is open year-round, but during the winter months, several areas were closed off. It didn’t matter.

A gazillion good climbing rocks were all still readily available both along the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay shores. Our 2-year old and 5-year-old both seemed on this day to be more linked to mountain goats instead of just this old goat. The grandchildren loved it.

Along the gravely shore, there were little smooth rocks to pick up and admire and even a few shells of the oyster variety perked up some great interest.

We initially parked down by the end of the road near the lighthouse. Listening to the waves lapping against the shore plus the laughing and crying gulls and occasional ducks squabbling out on the water was a most intoxicating and yet peaceful sonata.

A very few and really most infrequent other motor vehicles did come down the road during our stay, but when they did, the noise of those internal combustion engines just sounded so out of place in such a serene, natural setting. You might call it desolate but unassumingly lovely sure works, too.

Bring along binoculars and maybe a bird identification guide, for there are lots of interesting targets all over the park and plenty more in the nearby water.

Leaving Lexington Park and the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Point Lookout is another 20 minutes or so down Route 235 and then seven more miles south once you hit Route 5.

During the offseason, the cost is $3 fee for vehicles to enter the park. The fishing pier isn’t open yet, but the playground is available should you have little ones along.

This time of year still enough of the park is yours if all you want to do is drop 15 or 20 points off that dreaded blood pressure reading.

Flounder options

Fewer summer flounder were caught during the 2012 season than anticipated, and Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources is planning to expand that fishery for 2013.

The public is invited to comment before March 29 by emailing to fisheriespubliccomment@dnr.state.md.us on what option they like best.

The choices currently under consideration are to keep the daily limit at three with the current size minimum of 17 inches but expand the season Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, keep the daily limit at three with a 16-inch minimum size during a Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 season and increase the daily limit to four with a 16-inch minimum size during a Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 season.

License your shoreline

Waterfront property owners, or those people with permission from the waterfront property landowner, have between now and June 1 to obtain an offshore blind site license for waterfowl hunting.

You may also get one of these licenses simply to prevent others from buying a license to hunt from that site.

For more information or to obtain an application, call the wildlife division of Maryland’s DNR at 410-260-8540 or 877-620-8367.

The cost is $20 per year or $60 for a three-year license.

If you miss the June 1 deadline, you may also apply during the open season, which begins on Aug. 6.

Maple syrup demonstration

Cunningham Falls State Park near Thurmont will host a maple syrup making demonstration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 9, 10, 16 and 17.

This is a fun event for the whole family with continuous presentations of the process of how to turn sap into syrup, kid-friendly games, delicious pancake and sausage breakfasts (the food is available for an additional charge) and even live music in large, heated tents.

The cost to attend the demonstration is only $2 per person or $1 per youth in a group. The park opens at 9 a.m. and closes at sunset.

Bassmaster Classic

The 2013 Bassmaster Classic will be held at Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, just outside Tulsa, Okla., Feb. 22 to 24. This will be the 43rd edition of this event that many call the Super Bowl of bass fishing.

Fifty-three of the best bass fishermen in the world will be casting for a half-million dollar payday in this competition with an overall $1.2 million purse.

The favorites to win are Mike McClelland, who won on this water in 2006 and lives only 40 minutes away, plus Oklahoma residents Jason Christie, Edwin Evers and Tommy Biffle.

zbasser@aol.com