Attraction magazine has partnered with the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office and Chesapeake Conservancy to help readers find their next adventure. Each month, we’ll feature a new place from their helpful website, FindYourChesapeake.com. There, you can also sign up for an e-newsletter, Trips and Tips, that delivers fresh ideas to your inbox each week.
Ready to try something new? At FindYourChesapeake.com, also find expert advice on experiences like birdwatching, fishing, camping, and hiking. Their team also developed content to help people explore the Chesapeake virtually so folks can stay safe at home during the pandemic.
This month, the spotlight is on the Sassafras River in Kent County. Whether you are paddling the scenic waters of the Sassafras River or walking the trails of the Sassafras Natural Resource Management Area (NMRA), this little piece of Eden on Maryland’s Eastern Shore should not be missed. Visit https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/eastern/sassafras.aspx.
Turner’s Creek Park and Sassafras NMRA lie side-by-side along the Eastern Shore’s Sassafras River in Kennedyville. The 143-acre park and the nearby natural harbor of Turner’s Creek was once the site of a thriving local shipping port, disbursing agricultural goods throughout the Bay region. The tranquil harbor is now home to a half dozen crabbing and fishing boats, and visitors can be seen enjoying hiking, birding, horseback riding, and mountain biking.
There are approximately nine miles of trails that travel through a variety of terrain that includes old dirt roads, field edges, and paths within the young forest, with spectacular views opening at every turn. Fresh and saltwater ponds, wooded ravines, farm fields, a variety of forest stands and the river itself create prime habitat for viewing waterfowl and many other species.
For the trail map, visit https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Documents/Sassafras_map.pdf.
For a change of perspective, launch a SUP, kayak, or canoe from the public boat ramp at Turner’s Creek Park. Go to www.kentcounty.com/recreation/parks/county-parks/turner-s-creek-park for details.
Between Turner’s Creek and the mouth of the Sassafras, dramatic cliffs line both sides of the river. The forested cliffs provide ideal habitat for nesting bald eagles, and the birds can often be spotted soaring overhead. The Turner’s Creek area is also known for being one of the top places in the watershed for seeing the American lotus, which emerge in July. For a nice four-mile paddle that departs from Turner’s Creek Landing, check out the blog Gateway to the Blooming American Lotus at Turners Creek Landing (includes maps) at www.paddlethesassafras.com/itineraries/gateway-to-the-blooming-american-lotus-at-turners-creek-landing.
As part of its’ annual solstice celebration, the ShoreRivers organization has two great events coming up that would be a great introduction to this beautiful area. On June 21, ShoreRivers is hosting the Sunrise Wildlife & Agriculture Hike at Turner’s Creek as well as a guided paddle of Turner’s Creek and Lily Pad Pond.