Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Cambridge, MD
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network

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Brief Description:

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), located in the Blackwater and Nanticoke River watersheds on Maryland's Eastern Shore, preserves over 26,000 acres as a wintering area for vast numbers of migratory birds. It also serves as a haven for several threatened or endangered species, including one of the largest concentrations of nesting bald eagles along the Atlantic Coast. While primarily a tidal marsh, the refuge also includes a mature pine forest.

Before its designation as a Refuge, the marshland along Blackwater River was managed as a fur farm. Muskrats were the primary species trapped. Most of the wood-lands, including islands, had been timbered. Remains of old drainage ditches and furrows which crisscross in some existing woods indicate past agricultural use.

Location / Directions: Blackwater NWR is located about 12 miles south of Cambridge, MD. From US 50, turn south on Route 16. Follow Route 16 about 7 miles to Church Creek, JD, and turn south on Route 335. Follow Route 335 about 4 miles and turn east on Key Wallace Drive. The visitor center is located about 1 mile from the intersection and the headquarters is a mile past the visitor center. Various directional signs are located along the route.
Driving Directions
Address: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
2145 Key Wallace Drive
Cambridge, MD 21613
Visitor Phone: (410) 228-2677
Business Phone: (410) 228-2692
Activities: Wildlife drives, nature walks (wheelchair accessible), fishing, hunting, crabbing, and birdwatching. The Friends of Blackwater hold their "Spring Fling" in May with special demonstrations and exhibits and discount prices on books and gift store items. The Friends also sponsor a refuge open house each December.

Biking Birding and Wildlife Viewing Fishing Hiking Picnicking Canoeing / Kayaking Hunting

Operating Hours: Refuge open Mon.-Fri. 8-4, Sat.-Sun. 9-5. Wildlife Drive open daily dawn-dusk. Visitor center open Mon.-Fri. 8-4, Sat.-Sun. 9-5
Fees: $3 per private vehicle, $1 per pedestrian or bicyclist, under 16 free. Annual passes for those over 61 and free lifetime passes for the permanently physically and visually impaired are available at the visitor center; passes cover all vehicle occupants.
Visitor Facilities: Visitor center with film and exhibit, wildlife drive, two nature trails, and a bicycle route. Prime waterfowl viewing in mid-October to Mid-March. Call for special programs such as guided bird walks. The Marsh Edge Trail, located along refuge's Wildlife Drive, will be closed to the public until further notice due to nesting Bald Eagle activity.
Size: 26,000 acres
Accessibility: Some trail miles paved in asphalt over level ground. Visitor center is wheel-chair accessible.

The following product(s) are available to enhance your experience at this Gateway. Click on the title below for a more detailed description.

Blackwater Paddling Trails GuideBlackwater Paddling Trails Guide - Double sided, fold-out water trail map/guide. Full color, water proof paper, with route information and descriptions of local wildlife.
Price: $5.00 

Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network - Comments or Questions: Call: 1-800-YOUR-BAY