In July, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) formally dedicated the Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park. Attending the ceremony were members of the Burton family, DNR Deputy Secretary Joe Gill, representatives of the Fisheries Service, Maryland Park Service and other invited guests.
The park is now officially dedicated to Bill Burton, an outdoors reporter, writer and fisherman who chronicled outdoor activities in Maryland for over half a century.
At the dedication ceremony, members of Bill’s family including his wife, Lois, and daughter, Heather, each spoke about his lasting legacy and dedication to Maryland’s many natural resources.
The Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park is a fitting tribute to Bill’s life and work, as he was instrumental in preserving the Choptank River Bridge for use as a fishing pier when the new bridge was constructed.
The park is a destination fishing spot for anglers and a popular access point for many working families of Maryland because of the variety of fish that can be caught there, including perch, striped bass, hardheads, sea trout and catfish.
The dedication took place nearly one year to the date from when the Board of Public Works approved the renaming of the Choptank River fishing piers in Talbot and Dorchester counties on July 22, 2009. Sadly, less than a month after the renaming, Bill passed away at age 82 on August 10, 2009.
“Bill is an iconic figure in Maryland’s outdoor history, having reported for over 50 years on outdoor opportunities for Maryland citizens,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “The Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park is a wonderful tribute to a man who spent his life’s work sharing information about the bountiful natural resources our state has to offer.”
Portions of the Bill Burton Fishing Pier were closed for several months to replace over 700 broken, cracked and hazardous handrails with new concrete rails. During this time, the Maryland Park Service also upgraded park benches and picnic tables. The Dorchester section of the pier was closed first and reopened, and then the Talbot section of the Pier was closed and reopened Friday for fishing and crabbing.
The Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park is now open 365 days per year, 24 hours per day. Both sections of the piers are lighted for night fishing from April 1 through December 31 and the Dorchester County side of the pier is open and lighted year round. The pier adjoins Sailwinds Park via the walkway under the bridge.
Source: MD DNR press release