Eastern Shore traditions endure in Cambridge, Maryland where watermen still pull up to the docks at J.M. Clayton Co to sell their days catch and where the biggest party of the year is the annual Crab Cook-Off,. This waterfront town located in Dorchester County is one of the oldest colonial cities in Maryland, which overlooks the Choptank River near Chesapeake Bay. Tourism industry with a mix of private and public renovation projects is reinvigorating Cambridge, while also enhancing the quality of life residents enjoy. Cambridge has just been ranked as one of the Top 10 Small Towns in America.
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, approximately 12 miles south of the town of Cambridge, in Dorchester County. The Refuge includes over 27,000 acres, composed mainly of rich tidal marsh characterized by fluctuating water levels and varying salinity. Other habitat types include freshwater ponds, mixed evergreen and deciduous forests, and small amounts of cropland and managed impoundments that are seasonally flooded for waterfowl use.
Blackwater Refuge was originally established in 1933 as a haven for ducks and geese migrating along the Atlantic Flyway. The Refuge is a popular place during the November migration when upwards of 35,000 geese and 15,000 ducks visit Blackwater.
Blackwater is also a haven for several troubled species including the American bald eagle, the endangered Delmarva fox squirrel, and the migrant peregrine falcon. The Refuge is unique in that it hosts the largest remaining natural population of Delmarva fox squirrels and is also host to the largest breeding population of bald eagles on the East Coast, north of Florida.
At the Refuge, visitors will find a beautiful Visitor Center, a Wildlife Drive, four hiking trails, three paddling trails, miles of cycling roads, hunting/fishing/crabbing opportunities, and adventures in environmental education.
Blackwater NWR is part of the Chesapeake Marshlands NWR Complex, which also includes Eastern Neck NWR, Martin NWR, Susquehanna NWR and the Barren Island, Watts Island, Bishops Head, Garrett Island and Spring Island Divisions. To protect the wildlife, only Blackwater and Eastern Neck, and a small section of beach on Garrett Island are open to the public.