In the summer of 2017 the Department of Natural Resources completed the purchase of 460 acres in southern Cecil County, outside the Town of Chesapeake City, for the future development of a state park. The property includes approximately 225 acres of upland and hydric forest and 195 acres of cultivated land.
The shoreline features 14,000 feet of frontage on Great Bohemia Creek and tidal inlets, 1,500 feet of first-order non-tidal streams and 40 acres of emergent wetland, (2 of Special State Concern). The forested areas of the park contain potential habitat for forest interior dwelling species with opportunities for expansion and the wetland areas contain rare threatened or endangered plant species.
The terrain includes numerous ephemeral streams, meadows, small tributaries and wetlands. Historically, the entire acreage of the park was cultivated land and evidence of former farming activity is evident in the young woods that characterize the forested areas.
Anticipated future recreational opportunities include low-impact recreation such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking, canoeing, nature observation, fishing and hunting.
Archery/Muzzleloader/Shotgun (no rifles/no SWC rifles) hunting for deer permitted on 200 acres of designated hunting areas with daily sign-in required – free WHS permit/reservation and daily sign-in required.
The name, Bohemia River State Park, was selected for the new state park based primarily on the river that forms the park boundary to the south, Great Bohemia Creek. This joins Little Bohemia Creek at the southern tip of the park to form the Bohemia River which empties into the Elk River before its confluence with the Chesapeake Bay.
The state park name was also selected based on more than 350 years of related historical references to the land. The earliest mention of the name was in the late 1600s in reference to land known as "Bohemia Manor" acquired by Augustine Herman, an early settler of the area.
In the 1650s, Dutch conquistadors wanted to extend their rule of New Amsterdam (New York) into Maryland. They sent Augustine Herman to Maryland’s colonial capital to present their case to the governor. Herman’s expedition left New Castle, Delaware, and sailed down the modern-day Bohemia River to the Elk River, and then into the Chesapeake Bay.
Although Herman and his team were not able to convince the Maryland governor to allow the Dutch to move east, Herman was so impressed with the region’s beauty that he decided to settle there. Since Herman was a native of Prague, which was then called Bohemia, he named his new home “Bohemia Manor” and renamed the (then Opperquermine) river after his native land.
Today, the section of Route 213 along which Bohemia River State Park is located is aptly named Augustine Herman Highway. The land was farmed by a succession of landowners, the most prominent of which were the Bayards, who farmed the property until the State's purchase.
Bohemia River State Park is managed as a Natural Resource Management Area (NRMA). NRMAs are state parks with significant unique natural resources, including rare, threatened, and endangered flora and fauna. They are often managed in conjunction with the Wildlife and Heritage Service (WHS), to preserve and protect unique natural resources and biological diversity. Recreation on NRMAs is typically low-impact, passive recreation, such as hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, wildlife viewing, fishing and hunting. At Bohemia, our plan is to provide opportunities for public access and carefully guide all use and activities on the property to ensure implementation of the provisions for NRMAs consistent with the primary goals of protection, conservation and education.
Presently, Maryland Park Service staff are working diligently to contract for, and oversee, several important stabilization efforts that are necessary in order for the property to be safely opened to the public for outdoor recreation. A crucial element of this work is designing and constructing a new public entrance to the property as the existing entrance roads do not meet minimum safety requirements. In order to provide safe ingress and egress from the property, a new entrance and improvements to Route 213 will be required as specified by the State Highway Administration (SHA). The department is currently working with the State Highway Administration (SHA) and other permitting agencies on the new entrance. It is anticipated that work on the road and entrance improvements will go out to bid this fall with construction starting in the spring of 2019. Throughout the fall, work on other stabilization efforts will continue, so that the park can be opened to visitors when the entrance and road improvements are completed next year.
Effective management of the deer population on the property will be conducted by implementing a public hunting program this fall, using the standard reservation system utilized by the Wildlife and Heritage Service.
Development of a Strategic Management Plan for the property has been initiated and will include opportunities for public comment and involvement via an online survey. Check this website for additional information and updates.
Bohemia River State Park
Park Manager Rachel Temby
300 Tawes Drive
Elkton MD 21921
Park Address: 3864 Augustine Herman Highway (MD 213)Chesapeake City MD 21915
580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis MD 21401
Call toll-free in *Maryland* at 1-877-620-8DNR (8367)
Out of State: 410-260-8DNR (8367)