To bring awareness to the state's unfair and arbitrary decision-making throughout this pandemic, Maryland Park Rangers completed a 5-mile hike from Arnold Park, MD, to Lawyer's Mall, Annapolis, on June 23.
At the beginning of the initial pandemic lockdowns, Maryland Park Services were asked to remain open. They were a vital service for Marylanders, who could no longer frequent shopping malls, restaurants, or bars. Being outdoors at a park was the safest way to maintain their physical and mental health. Park Rangers, despite working in the busiest times in State Park history and enduring prolonged exposure to COVID-19, never received COVID pay.
After their hike, a press conference was held where they received citations from the offices of Senator Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Anthony Brown. Maryland Delegate Heather Bagnall personally presented a citation and gave remarks: "I'm immensely grateful for your hard work, dedication, and commitment to our community in the midst of the greatest health crisis in a generation. You are truly unsung heroes."
Park Ranger and MPEC member Chris Czarra spoke at the press conference: “Since March 2020, we have not received an answer on why we were denied COVID pay. No reason was given. We held this march to raise attention and to ask the Governor for five minutes for the five miles we hiked.”
Mark Ricci, Communications Director for Gov. Hogan, gave a statement to the Baltimore Sun in an article published shortly after the hike and press conference: