Maryland’s Polar Bear Plunge is back; plan ahead for traffic

If you missed the Polar Bear Plunge in Maryland last year, fear not — you’ll get a chance to jump into the slightly-less-arctic waters of the Chesapeake Bay starting this Thursday.

After COVID-19 concerns converted the 2021 plunge to an all virtual event and caused this year’s in-person plunge to be pushed back from its usual January date, the Polar Bear Plunge is back in full force to fundraise for Maryland’s Special Olympics at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis.

There are a few different ways to support the state’s over 6,100 athletes, including:

  • March 24: Cool Schools Plunge for teachers, students and coaches.
  • March 25: Police Plunge for the military, fire/EMS and law enforcement, as well as the separate Corporate Plunge for companies.
  • March 26: Maryland Plunge for the general public.

There are still virtual options to participate in the plunge for those who are interested.

This will be the 26th year of the Polar Bear Plunge, which is sponsored by the Maryland State Police. So far, organizers say over $2.5 million has been raised toward supporting the state’s Special Olympians, with a stated goal of raising $3.5 million.

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration is expecting traffic to be high around Sandy Point when the plunge opens to the general public on Saturday.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day, MDOT SHA said that it will have traffic patrols working the following corridors:

  • US 50 (Blue Star Memorial Highway) between MD 424 (Davidsonville Road) and MD 2 (Ritchie Highway),
  • I-97 between MD 32 and US 50,
  • MD 70 (Rowe Boulevard) between US 50 and Taylor Avenue,
  • MD 2 between US 50 and College Parkway,
  • US 50 between MD 2 and Sandy Point State Park, and
  • US 50 between MD 8 (Romancoke Road) and the US 50/US 301 split in Queen Anne’s County.

Participants are asked to pledge a minimum of $75 per person. Each person who does will receive a 2022 Polar Bear Plunge sweatshirt.

For more information on this year’s event, visit Maryland’s Polar Bear Plunge website.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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