NRP Lodge 8 was founded on May 10, 1971 and serves officers from Western Shore/Southern Maryland area and is one of 4 Lodges serving the law enforcement officers of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  Lodge 16 serves officers from the Eastern Shore and Lodge 77 serves officers from Western Maryland.  DNR Lodge 130 is a state wide lodge that serves the Natural Resources Police and works with the Maryland Ranger Association that supports law enforcement Park Rangers. 


The Natural Resources Police Force is Maryland oldest State law enforcement agency and one of the oldest conservation law enforcement agencies in the country. It traces its origin to 1868, when the State Oyster Police Force was created to enforce oyster laws. As the State Fishery Force, it reorganized in 1874 under the Commissioner of Fisheries and, in 1880, under the Board of Public Works. The New York Times had an article describing an encounter between law enforcement and the Oyster Boats.

In 1922, the Force became part of the Conservation Department and was renamed Maryland Patrol and Inspection Fleet. Marine enforcement by the Natural Resources Police Force originated from responsibilities of the early fisheries fleets

For wildlife and inland fisheries, the creation of the post of State Game Warden in 1896 provided a system for uniformly enforcing conservation laws across Maryland. After the Warden's appointment, government programs were initiated that still define the inland enforcement duties of the Natural Resources Police Force. In 1922, the State Game Warden joined the Conservation Department along with the State Fishery Force (renamed the Maryland Patrol and Inspection Fleet). In 1939, the Conservation Department split into two departments: the Department of Tidewater Fisheries, and the Game and Inland Fish Commission (later the Department of Game and Inland Fish). The Marine Enforcement Fleet then was named the Division of Inspection and Patrol. Responsible for enforcing the Maryland Boat Act of 1960, it became the Maryland State Marine Police in 1962 and was made part of the Department of Chesapeake Bay Affairs in 1964. That department and the Department of Game and Inland Fish were abolished in 1969 when the Department of Natural Resources was created. In 1972, the Maryland State Marine Police was renamed the Natural Resources Police Force (Chapter 348, Acts of 1972). From 1992 to 1995, the Force was part of Resource Management. The Force transferred to Public Lands in 1995, to Resource Conservation in 2003, and to the Office of Secretary in May 2007.

The Force is organized into three offices: Administrative Services; Field Operations; and Support Services.

Throughout Maryland, the Natural Resources Police Force has full police powers. It protects life and property, preserves the peace, prevents crime, detects and apprehends criminals, and safeguards individual rights. Since April 22, 2005, through a Memorandum of Agreement signed with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Force also can make arrests for violations of federal safety or security zones, further enhancing maritime security operations.

The Force serves as the primary search and rescue agency on Maryland waters and in rural areas of the State. Through enforcement of hunting and wildlife conservation laws, the Force provides the primary law enforcement and emergency services for some remote areas in Maryland.

State laws and regulations on boating, commercial seafood harvesting and sport fishing, waterways pollution, and wildlife conservation are enforced by the Force, as are general criminal laws. The Force inspects boats for violations of conservation and boating laws, and inspects seafood processing houses and trucks carrying seafood cargo. The MNRP can make arrests, issue criminal citations, and warnings to violators. It arrests and issues warnings to violators. The Force also investigates boating accidents and reports them to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Boating and hunting safety education programs are conducted by the Force. In addition, the Force operates the Maryland Natural Resources Police Academy at Matapeake, which is the central maintenance and supply facility, and an aviation working out of Easton, Maryland unit to provide airborne surveillance, search and rescue services to enforcement programs and Department agencies (Code Natural Resources Article, secs. 1-201 through 1-210).

In 2003 the Maryland Natural Resources Police celebrated its 135th anniversary of conservation law enforcement.

On February 15, 1884, the New York Times reported that the Piratical Oyster Crews were illegally harvesting oysters at will, and the fledgling oyster police were being ignored. A battle was expected at some point.

Sure enough a battle came. The New York Times had another article describing an encounter between the Maryland Fisheries Force and the Oyster Boats in 1888. A battle raged with small firearms fire and cannon fire in addition to sinking vessels from boat ramming! Would you call that a tough day on patrol?

Lt. Gregory Bartles of the Natural Resources Police believes he has acquired the same cannon that was on the vessel in the article above.

Natural Resources Police History At A Glance: