Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1933 as a waterfowl sanctuary for birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway.Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is home to an incredible amount of plant and animal diversity in its three significant habitats forest, marsh, and shallow water. The refuge contains one-third of Maryland's tidal wetlands, which makes it an ecologically considerable area within the state. These wetlands also provide storm protection to lower Dorchester County, including the town of Cambridge. Blackwater NWR is recognized as a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention and was named a priority wetland in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Also, Blackwater NWR has been designated as an Internationally Important Bird Area. Blackwater NWR is home to the largest natural population of formerly endangered Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrels and is also home to the largest breeding population of American bald eagles on the East Coast, north of Florida. The refuge has been referred to as the Everglades of the North and has been called one of the Last Great Places by the Nature Conservancy. Visitor Center Hours: Mon to Fri 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.; Sat and Sun 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. In addition to being a prime viewing spot for bald eagles as they soar over the center and forage in the nearby marsh, the Center has exhibits specific to the refuge, an upstairs observation area and library, an authentic eagle's nest, and TV monitors for watching live video from the osprey and eagle cams and the Eagle’s Nest bookstore and gift shop. Outside the Center, visitors can enjoy our Butterfly and Beneficial Insect Garden with walking paths, and utilize one of our picnic tables for a meal. Wildlife Drive Open: Dawn to dusk every day. The Wildlife Drive takes visitors along the Blackwater River and offers excellent views of the Refuge. Visitors can drive, bike, or walk the approximately 4-mile paved road, and turnouts are available at different points to safely stop and observe the scenery. Brief stopping outside of the turnouts is permitted only when there are no other vehicles on the Drive. Walking and biking on the Drive is permitted in both directions; however, visitors must remain on the paved road and should abide by standard road etiquette. The Drive may be closed during and after severe weather for safety reasons. Download the Wildlife Drive brochure. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge currently has four land trails: the Marsh Edge Trail, the Woods Trail, the Key Wallace Trail, and the Tubman Road Trail. Trails Open: Daily, dawn to dusk. The Marsh Edge Trail is typically closed January through early August to limit disturbance to nesting eagles and herons. Other trails may be closed periodically for refuge hunts. Trail closures will be listed on the refuge alert page. Tips for those using the trails: Anyone who visits during warm weather is advised to bring insect repellent. Also, the three unpaved trails can get soggy in wet weather, so visitors should wear appropriate footwear if it's been raining. The Marsh Edge Trail is closed from mid-winter through mid-summer to limit disturbance to nesting eagles and herons. During the fall hunting season, the Key Wallace Trail may be closed periodically for safety reasons. Please remember that pets are not permitted on trails, even if on a leash. Pets must remain in vehicles while on the Wildlife Drive. If needed, pets may be walked in the area around the Visitor Center.
Date: Saturday, May 5, 2018
Time: 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm (or when the group decides) with the possibility of dinner afterward.
Meeting place: We will meet at the Visitor Center
Agenda: Take pictures from your cars, get out and walk closer to subject. Long lenses are not needed.
A daily permit is required for all visitors to the Wildlife Drive unless they possess an annual pass, lifetime passport, or current Duck Stamp. Private vehicle $3.00, Pedestrian, Bicyclist $1.00, Commercial Van or Bus up to 20 passengers $15.00
21 or more passengers $25.00
Directions and parking: Take Rt 50 across the Bay Bridge toward Cambridge. The refuge is located approximately 12 miles south of the town of Cambridge on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. From Route 50 in Cambridge take Route 16 West until you reach the flashing light, then turn left onto Egypt Road. Follow Egypt road for approximately 7 miles and it will dead end at Key Wallace Drive. Turn left for the Wildlife Drive, or turn right for the visitor center. There will be plenty of parking at the Visitor Center
If you are using GPS navigation to find the refuge, you will need to enter our actual physical address, which is listed below. This will bring you to the Blackwater NWR Visitor Center. DO NOT USE BLACKWATER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE!
Contact Information: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge 2145 Key Wallace Drive, Cambridge, Maryland 21613, Telephone: 410-228-2677
Bring your camera. Extra-long lenses are not needed. The birds are used to the cars so they don’t usually fly away and are very near 200 – 300 mm lenses and possibly shorter lenses will work.
Tripods are allowed
The facility is handicap accessible