By the Byways: Easton to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

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If you take no other intentional tour along the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byways, find time for a visit to The Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge just south of Cambridge. Less than 30 miles fr

om the center of Easton, the visit offers an experience not easily matched. In fact, the refuge has been referred to as the “Everglades of the North,” and is called one of the “Last Great Places” by the Nature Conservancy.

Before being declared a wildlife refuge, the marshland along the Blackwater River was managed as a fur farm. Then, in 1933, The Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge was established as a waterfowl sanctuary for birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway.

While the area is large, visitors can experience the heart of the Refuge by going to the entrance at Wildlife Drive. Click here for the map.

Here is a scene captured one quiet morning near the entrance to Wildlife Drive….just to provide a feeling for the natural beauty of the area…

Along Wildlife Drive, you will see wildlife…sometimes when you least expect it, so go slow! The drive is a four and a half mile paved road that winds along freshwater ponds, through woods, past fields, and adjacent to marshes. You enjoy it best by pulling off and just watching the wildlife.

On one recent cold morning, a Blue Heron stood still for more than one photographer…

One of the most remarkable sites involves the American bald eagles. Blackwater is home to the largest breeding population of American bald eagles on the East Coast, north of Florida. And, they are sited frequently while just driving through the Refuge.

Of course, there are numerous areas to hike and get off the road for even better looks at the waterfowl and wildlife. If you visit once, you will most likely come back throughout the year for brand new experiences.

For more information, click here for the Blackwater brochure:

Letters to Editor

  1. Charles Dickerson says

    I enjoyed your article on the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge. The Visitors Center there is quite good and worth a visit in and of itself. It has loads of information and displays as well as a library for adults and children to enjoy. And the volunteer my wife and I met when we there last week was very helpful and knowledgeable. We look forward to our future visits.

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