BAY DAZE: The 26th annual Chesapeake Appreciation Days are next weekend, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at Sandy Point State Park at the western end of the Bay Bridge. Activities include skipjack races, a photo contest, an oyster-shucking contest, a jousting exhibition plus plenty of crabs, oysters and other bay delicacies. Admission is $5 for adults, children under 12 free. Call (301) 269-6622.


Virginia officials say quail hunters had much-improved success last season, bagging an average of .4 birds per hour and flushing .28 coveys per hour, up 38 and 27 percent, respectively, from the previous year.

Even better results are expected this year after excellent nesting conditions during a mild winter. Quail season opens Nov. 12 in Virginia, Nov. 15 in Maryland.


Snow bunnies eager to get a leg up on ski season can head to the Washington Ski Show under a big-top tent at 2704 Columbia Pike, Arlington, Friday through Oct. 28. Attractions include Rollerblades to test, exercises for skiers, ski-tuning clinics and information on racing. Proceeds benefit Special Olympics and the U.S. ski team. Call (703) 521-0330.

Meantime, Bryce Resort in Basye, Va., offers grass skiing Sundays in November for those who just can't wait. Cost is $8 for a lift ticket, $8 for grass ski rentals. Bring your own boots. Call (703) 856-2121.


Mountain bikers, the Maryland state championships are next weekend at Green Ridge State Forest in Allegany County. On-site registration is $16 for one day, $25 for both days. Hill climbs, cross-country racing and a pasta buffet are planned. Call (301) 777-2345.


In a recent report to Congress, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that more than half the wetlands in the lower 48 states have been lost to development in the last 200 years. Of more than 220 million acres that existed in colonial times, only 104 million remain, the report said.

It said 10 states have lost more than 70 percent of their wetlands, including Maryland (1.65 million acres in 1780 to 440,000 in 1980).

Copies of the report should be available soon from USFWS Publications Unit, 1849 C St. NW, Mailstop 130 ARLSQ, Washington, D.C. 20240.


Alpha Phi Omega, a national coed service fraternity, plans a 10-mile guided walkathon around the University of Maryland College Park campus at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Minimum donation is $10, proceeds to benefit St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Texas. Call the fraternity office, (301) 314-8471.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, the C&O Canal Association holds an 11-mile heritage hike from Spring Gap to Cumberland, Md. Call (202) 393-3306.


Families with wee ones should check out the Halloween party Saturday at Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary in Upper Marlboro. Call (301) 888-1410 for reservations.