The Maryland Park Service (MPS) recently reopened the Susquehanna State Park campground, which had been closed for eight months while undergoing upgrades. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) partnered with the Maryland Department of General Services (DGS) to complete the eco-friendly renovations, according to a news release.

“The Susquehanna State Park campground is a great place for families to connect with Maryland’s natural resources,” said MPS Superintendent Nita Settina. “These newly renovated buildings have many green technologies incorporated into their design that will reduce campers’ impact on the environment.”

To enhance the camper experience, MPS focused the renovation on the restroom and shower buildings. Energy-reducing green technologies in the renovated shower buildings include solar panels, on-demand hot water heaters, occupancy sensors, an insulated metal roof and clearstory windows. Also incorporated into the design were low-flow faucets and dual flush toilets with an infrared beam powered by small solar panels. The park salvaged old fixtures to be re-used and all concrete and metal from the old building was recycled.

On the exterior, workers installed “pervious paving” which allows storm water to be filtered back into the surrounding area. The renovations also provide ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility and include two new campsites with 30-amp electric hookups for campers with RVs.

“The renovations at Susquehanna State Park are another example of DGS and DNR taking a leadership role in energy conservation efforts. Recent important upgrades include retrofitted buildings at Rocky Gap State Park with a geothermal heat pump and the addition of a green roof to the new Madonna Forestry building in Harford County,” said Bart Thomas, DGS assistant secretary for facilities planning, design and construction. “As part of Gov. O’Malley’s Smart, Green and Growing initiative, we’ve also achieved LEED Silver certification for the Hammerman Beach Complex building at Gunpowder Falls State Park and will be seeking LEED Silver for the Harriet Tubman State Park Visitors’ Center now being designed.”

The Susquehanna State Park campground is located in a forested area, with ready access to the Susquehanna River. It is downstream of the Conowingo Dam, an area renowned for fishing, boating, hunting and general outdoor recreation for the public. Also located in the park is the Rock Run Historic Area, containing the remnants of an 1800’s river town, including an operating mill. Visitors can hike or mountain bike nearly 16 miles of natural surface trails, fish on the Susquehanna River, go tubing on Deer Creek or participate in a naturalist-led program.

Campers are invited to make reservations for the 61 campsites, eight campsites with electric hook-ups, and six mini-cabins by visiting reservations.dnr.state.md.us or calling (88) 432-2267.

Maryland’s State Parks not only provide great outdoor recreation for Marylanders and visitors, they are also a great asset to State and local economies. According to a recent study, conducted in partnership with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, the Maryland Office of Tourism Development and the Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations, Maryland State Parks have an estimated annual economic benefit of more than $650 million. In 2010, visitors directly spent more than $567 million locally — $25.56 locally for every dollar the state invests in state park — during their visits. And almost 95% of visitors had their expectations met or exceeded during visits.