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The Parks

Assateague State Park

Assateague State Park is Maryland's only ocean park. It is located on Assateague Island, a barrier island bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by Sinepuxent Bay. Two miles of ocean beaches offer swimming, beachcombing, sunbathing, surfing and fishing.

The island's bayside offers visitors the chance to explore secluded coves by canoe or kayak. The marsh areas have a variety of wildlife, including deer, waterfowl and feral horses.

Gunpowder Falls State Park

Water tumbling over rocks in Gunpowder River

Nearly 18,000 acres in Harford and Baltimore Counties, Gunpowder Falls State Park has a diverse topography that includes everything from tidal marshes and wetlands to steep, rugged slopes. A great place to hike, bike, bird watch, canoe, and enjoy many other recreational opportunities that are just a short drive from Baltimore.

Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary and Visitor's Center

Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary is the only wildlife sanctuary operated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. It is the wintering ground for several thousand Canada geese, the largest concentration on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

The sanctuary was named after Edgar Merkle (1900-1984), an active conservationist who devoted much of his life to protecting and providing for wildlife. Many knew him as the founder of Merkle Press in Washington, D.C. (1936), and others knew him as the originator of a goose breeding plan to introduce Canada geese to the western shores of Maryland (1932).

Starting with a handful of breeding pairs, a great deal of perseverance, and a habitat improvement plan in mind, Mr. Merkle eventually encouraged thousands of geese to visit the 400-acre Merkle farm to feed and rest. In 1970, the Merkles sold their land, including some donated parcels, to the state. With the acquisition of adjoining tracts, the wildlife refuge now encompasses 1,670 acres.

Patapsco Valley State Park

Located just three miles south of the Baltimore Beltway, Patapsco Valley State Park extends nearly 35 miles along the Patapsco River. With over 170 miles of trail, Patapsco is a great place to explore natural habitats. As one of Marylandís oldest parks, the area has a rich history and many unique park features.

Susquehanna State Park

Located along the Susquehanna River valley with its heavy forest cover and massive rock outcroppings, Susquehanna State Park offers a wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities as well as historical significance. The park is home to some of the most popular mountain biking trails in Maryland and the river itself beckons fishermen and boaters alike. Susquehanna State Park also contains a very family friendly campground with traditional campsites and cabins. History buffs will be drawn to the restored Rock Run Historical Area with its working grist mill, the Archer Mansion, Jersey Toll House and the remains of the Susquehanna Tidewater Canal.

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Contact Information

Fred Banks, Program Director
Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Avenue, E-3
Annapolis MD 21401
Phone: 410-260-8150

Captain Peyton Taylor, Executive Director
Conservation Corps and Interpretation
Maryland Park Service
Gunpowder Falls State Park
P.O. Box 480
Kingsville, MD 21087
Office: 410-592-2897

Contact the Park Service

  • Toll Free: 1-800-830-3974
    (Annapolis Office)
  • Reservations: 1-888-432-2267
  • Park Watch: 1-800-825-7275
  • Email Us

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