American Chestnut Land Trust
   Connecting people with the land


ACLT is committed to the goal of environmentally responsible land management. Our activities include monitoring and maintaining the land and the natural ecosystems it contains.

Trail through the forest.

The Forest

The Parkers Creek watershed contains some of the largest unbroken woodlands left in Calvert County

  • The watershed is 76% forested.
  • 80% of this forested area qualifies as potential forest-interior dwelling bird habitat.
  • ACLT lands are primarily second-growth hardwood forest.
  • Our namesake American Chestnut tree—approximately 2 feet in diameter and 80 feet tall—survived in these woods until 2006 despite being infected with the Chestnut blight which has virtually eliminated this once dominant species from the forests of North America.

The Wetlands

The woodlands surround the only pristine salt-water/freshwater marsh on the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

  • The wetlands associated with the main stem of Parkers Creek include forested wetlands; shallow, freshwater emergent/scrub-shrub/open water wetlands; and estuarine emergent wetlands.
  • The wetlands that are not on the main stem of Parkers Creek are almost all forested and contain narrow tributaries that drain into Parkers Creek.
  • An unusual "marsh island," probably created by a previous stream meander, exists within the saltwater marsh area of the watershed.

The Creek and the Chesapeake Bay

The Creek flows through woods, marsh, across a barrier beach, and into the Bay.

  • The creek is part tidal and part freshwater.
  • Parkers Creek is an unusual example of an inverted stream—it once flowed towards the west, into what is now Battle Creek, and then into the Patuxent River whereas it now flows east into the Chesapeake Bay.

The Calvert Cliffs

The high cliffs at each end of the beach, the open bay, the creek, marsh, wetlands and woods are all still in a natural state.

  • The Calvert Cliffs are a unique landmark of the Chesapeake Bay remarked upon by Captain John Smith in his voyages of 1607-1609.
  • These fossilized marine outcrops, famous for their sharks' teeth and other marine fossils, date from the Miocene era of geological time and are recognized by the Geological Society of America as in the top 100 outcrops of any type and age in northeastern North America.
  • The portion of the Calvert Cliffs preserved at Parkers Creek represent an older time than the cliffs further south in the county—ranging from 16 million years old at the base of the cliffs to 11 million years old at their top.

A Sanctuary for Native Plants and Wildlife

This combination of ecosystems located in close proximity to each other and representative of all the ecosystems present in the Chesapeake Bay makes Parkers Creek unique.

  • Thanks to the research by ACLT member Leslie Starr, the Parkers Creek watershed was named an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the Maryland-DC Chapter of the Audubon Society in 2006.
  • Neotropical forest interior dwelling species of birds (Wood Thrush, Scarlet Tanager, several species of Wood Warblers, Vireos, and others) favor the thick hardwood forests for their summer nesting sites.
  • The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has identified several rare, threatened or endangered species within the watershed.
  • The Warrior's Rest Sanctuary is a state-owned property managed by the land trust where public access is limited due to habitats of special concern. Animal species include the Bald Eagle, the Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle and the Puritan Tiger Beetle.
  • The shell deposits found in the Calvert Cliffs are also found elsewhere in the watershed where the land is intersected with steep ravines that expose natural lime, and perhaps accounting for the presence of rare plants.

Additional Resource Available at ACLT Library

Vegetation Mapping and Assessment of the American Chestnut Land Trust Forest Ecosystem, Steve Stadelman (2006).

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