Maryland's State Forests

ALERT: As per Governor Hogan’s amended stay-at-home order​, on Thursday, May 7, 2020, the Maryland Forest Service has reopened the public shooting ranges at Green Ridge, Savage River, and Elk Neck State Forests and other recreational activities such as camping and equestrian use with certain c​onditions. Please read and follow these conditions for the safety of all visitors and staff, and so that these facilities can remain open for public use.​​

Photo of forested land​​​The Maryland Forest Service manages over 214,000 acres of designated State Forest. Maryland’s State Forests offer a number of recreational opportunities. Click on a forest name below to learn about activities available in a particular forest. State Forest Foresters employ silvicultural activities to care for the forest ecosystems. Foresters for each state forest collaborate with other units within the department and stakeholders to make sustainable forest management decisions, and select and delineate areas for active management. A major tool used by the foresters is harvesting. Among other benefits forest harvest operations in state forests:

  • Utilize mature and dead, dying, and diseased trees
  • Thin out overstock stands
  • Improve and diversify wildlife habitat
  • Control invasive exotic plants
  • Effectively correct public safety concerns and issues
  • Reduce the forest vulnerability to insect attack or wildlife hazard
  • Improve aesthetic aspects of an era
  • Improve the proportions of age class and species diversity within stands and management blocks.

Dictionary of Forestry

The Dictionary of Forestry is published by the Society of American Foresters and edited by F.C. Ford-Robertson under the authorization of the Joint FAO/IUFRO Committee on Forest Bibliography and Terminology. There has been substantial changes in the forestry profession. These changes have modified the use of existing terms, introduced new terms, and created the need for an up-to-date dictionary that permits consistent use of professional language.

A more complete review of terms used in the State Forest annual work plans and Sustainable Forest Management Plans can be found online through use of the Dictionary of Forestry.

Firewood Alert

Firewood for camping must be purchased from local vendors. Please do not bring personal firewood in to the State Forest. A wide variety of forest insect pests are accidentally transported and introduced to new areas by transporting personal firewood between distinct geographic locations. Please keep our forests safe!

State Forests in Western Maryland

  • Potomac-Garrett State Forest
    Potomac State Forest is 10,488 acres in southeastern Garrett County, off MD Route 135. The Potomac River has its headwaters in this rugged mountain forest. Garrett State Forest is 8,144 acres in Garrett County, 5 miles northwest of Oakland, off U.S. Route 219. In 1906, this forest was given to the state of Maryland and was the beginning of our present public lands system. These forests contain a diversity of trees, abundant wildlife, beautiful scenery and excellent trout fishing.
  • Green Ridge State Forest
    48,840 acres. In eastern Allegany County, about 22 miles east of Cumberland, Exit 64 on Interstate 68. This vast forest stretches across the mountains of Western Maryland and occupies portions of Town Hill, Polish Mountain and Green Ridge Mountain. Wildlife is plentiful and includes wild turkey, grouse, squirrel and deer. There is an accessible overlook at the forest headquarters with a trail.
  • Savage River State Forest
    55,155 acres. In central and eastern Garrett County, generally south of U.S. Route 40. Savage River State Forest is a strategic watershed surrounding the Savage River Reservoir. This forest is classified as a northern hardwood forest. 13,405 acres of the forest have been designated as Wildlands.

State Forests in Central Maryland

  • Elk Neck State Forest
    Cecil County (410) 287-5675. 3,571 acres in Cecil County and consists of four separate tracts of land.
  • Stoney Demonstration Forest
    Harford County - Managed by MD DNR Forest Service Bel Air Office at (410) 836-4551. 317.87 acres in Creswell area of Harford County. This forest serves as an educational resource where a variety of silvicultural practices, forest best management practices, and wildlife habitat management practices are implemented and studied.

    Self Guided Tour

State Forests in Southern Maryland

  • Cedarville State Forest
    10201 Bee Oak Road, Brandywine, MD 20613 (301) 888-1410. 3,783 acres in Prince George’s and Charles Counties. Cedarville State Forest offers its visitors a beautiful woodland setting, with freshwater fishing and hiking. 
  • Doncaster Demonstration Forest
    Charles County (301) 934-2282. 1,953 acres in Charles County. This forest serves as an educational resource where a variety of silvicultural practices, forest best management practices, and wildlife habitat management practices are implemented and studied.
  • St. Inigoes State Forest
    St. Mary's County (301) 934-2282. 938 acres in St. Mary's County. East and West side of Beachville Road due south of Webster’s Field and Gum Landing Road out to Kitts Point on the Potomac River. The property is comprised of 938 acres. With recreational opportunities such as hiking trails, water access and is open to public hunting.
  • Salem State Forest
    At. Mary's County (301) 934-2282. 902 acres in St. Mary's County. South side of Indian Bridge Road, approximately one-half mile south of St. Andrews Church Road in St. Mary’s County. This property is 902 acres and is entirely wooded with opportunities for hiking, mountain biking and equestrian use.

State Forests in Eastern Maryland

  • Chesapeake Forest Lands
    73,724 acres on 240 separate tracts, spread across eight counties of Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore, the Chesapeake Forest Lands are comprised of the former Chesapeake Forest Products Company lands plus several recent additions which include both the Seth Demonstration Forest in Talbot County and the Wicomico Demonstration Forest in Wicomico County. New land acquisitions are added on a regular basis.
  • Pocomoke State Forest
    6572 Snow Hill Road, Snow Hill, MD 21863 (410) 632-3732. 18,206 acres in Worcester County, between Snow Hill and Pocomoke City. The forest is famous for its stand of loblolly pine trees. Cypress swamps border the Pocomoke River and the nearby waters provide good fishing. Two areas in the forest, including the swamp, are designated Wildlands Areas.

Have a complaint?

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service has a State Forest Grievance Policy. If you would like to file a grievance or complaint regarding the management of a State Forest, please contact the State Forest office with which you wish to file the grievance or complaint or email your message here.