by Rachel Felver
June 29, 2018
Join us over the next two weeks to discover the newest public access sites your state has to offer.
If you’re looking to get out and play on the water this summer, Maryland’s many public spots to fish, swim, boat and recreate are a great start. In 2017, Chesapeake Bay Program partners added nine new sites where you can enjoy the water in Maryland. Learn a little more about them below.
Beaver Creek Fishing Access (Washington County)
Anglers now have improved access to Beaver Creek, a tributary of Antietam Creek, for catch-and-release fly fishing. Beaver Creek is a limestone creek that supports wild brown trout. Limestone creeks are extremely rare, providing ice-cold, spring-fed water that flows through limestone and dolomite bedrock, providing a perfect habitat for trout.
Benjamin’s Bridge Canoe/Kayak Launch (Harford County)
A new soft launch is now available for canoers and kayakers on Deer Creek. The launch is named after Benjamin Boniface, an avid kayak on Deer Creek who passed away in 2012 at 20 years of age. His family helped to fund construction of the launch.
Clark’s Landing (St. Mary’s County)
Local and county funds were used to build a new, concrete ramp to allow boaters to access Cuckold Creek, a tributary of the Patuxent River.
Discovery Village Soft Access (Anne Arundel County)
Discovery Village, a facility for research and Bay restoration, sits on Parrish Creek and is still an active, viable waterfront for local watermen. Now boasting a new, soft boat access on a natural shoreline, the facility invites the local community to experience the water from its shores.
Gilbert Run Park Soft Launch (Charles County)
Gilbert Run Park offers a variety of amenities from a large playground, hiking trails and picnic areas. Now, boaters can take advantage of a new soft access point to enjoy Wheatley Lake, including a floating EZ Launch system. EZ Launch provides individuals with disabilities the ability to easily access watercraft by using a floating platform, launch rollers and guide rails.
Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum Soft Access (Calvert County)
The Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum sits on St. Leonard’s Creek, a tributary of the Patuxent River. Home to the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory, visitors can hike, explore and now access the water through a new soft launch on their existing beach area.
Little Blackwater Soft Launch (Dorchester County)
The Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge provides ample opportunity for bird-watching, hiking and wildlife-viewing. Now, visitors to the park can add boating and paddling to that list with the opening of a new pier that provides a soft launch onto the Little Blackwater River.
Port of Salisbury Marina Soft Launch (Wicomico County)
Located on the Wicomico River, the Port of Salisbury Marina provides easy access to both the water and the town of Salisbury. Boaters now have soft access to the water through a new floating pier and launch.
Sherwood Landing Soft Launch (Talbot County)
Boaters looking to get out on the water can easily access Waterhole Creek by a new, floating dock that has an EZ Launch system installed adjacent to the existing pier.
There are now 1,292 public access sites across the Chesapeake Bay watershed that allow for boating, fishing, swimming and other recreational activities, 610 of which are in Maryland. Public access sites are maintained by a variety of partners, including local, state and federal agencies as well as nongovernmental organizations. That’s why it is vital to establish strong partnerships and initiatives among all partners in order to provide more opportunities to access the water.
Increasing public access to open space and waterways creates a shared sense of responsibility to protect these important natural environments. Through the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, our partners have committed to increasing public access as part of a larger effort to engage communities in our conservation work. The number of public access sites in the watershed is on track to reach 1,439 by 2025. Since tracking began in 2010, our partners have opened 153 sites, meeting 51 percent of our goal to open 300 new sites over the next decade.
Find a public access site near you.