The sanctuary was named after Edgar Merkle (1900-1984), an active conservationist who devoted much of his life to protecting and providing for wildlife. 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 parcles, to the state. With the acquisition of adjoining tracts, the Natural Resource Management Area now encompasses over 1,900 acres.
The geese arrive in mid-October and stay until late February or early March. About 100 geese stay year round. During the peak of the season, more than 2,000 geese may be present.
580 Taylor Ave, Annapolis MD 21401