Choptank River Trip - Kings Creek Preserve

The Nature Conservancy's Kings Creek Preserve

The Kings Creek Preserve, part of a larger tract known as the Choptank Wetlands Preserve, was established in 1978.  It protects about 250 acres of fresh to brackish tidal marsh along the Choptank River in Talbot County.  The Nature Conservancy acquired the land and built the 1600-foot boardwalk and observation tower with help from the Easton, Maryland, Waterfowl Festival. 

The marsh is a temporary home for many species of water birds during migration seasons.  In winter you may see northern harrier, wood duck, or snipe flying over the wetlands.  In spring you might be treated to red-winged blackbirds, osprey, least bittern, and red-tailed hawks. Summer is the best time for flowers.

King's Creek marsh has a boat dock, a 2,000-foot board-walk over the marsh with interpretive signs, and an elevated viewing platform. A brochure about the marsh and a checklist of birds are available at the entrance.  There is no access to the Frazier Neck (Hog Island) marsh.

The Preserve is open dawn to dusk, year-round, for nature walks. The preserve is reached by small boat from Kingston Landing, located about 2/3-mile upstream on the Choptank River.  Overland access is across private property and permitted only with prior permission of The Nature Conservancy.  The preserve can accommodate school or group field trips with advance notice.

In the summer months, come prepared with sunscreen or hat and insect  repellant. 

Significance

The Choptank Wetlands are of extraordinary ecological value for wintering and nesting waterfowl, spawning fish, sediment control, and nutrient production.   A survey of the natural areas by the Smithsonian Institution ranked this marsh system as one of the most important Chesapeake Bay natural areas. The King's Creek Preserve in Talbot County is a joint project of The Nature Conservancy and the Waterfowl Festival, Inc., which shared the cost of land acquisition and construction of the 2000-foot boardwalk and observation platform.

Facts About Choptank Wetlands Preserve

Counties

Talbot and Caroline

Acres Protected

King’s Creek:  250
Frazier Neck (Hog Island): 406
Total: 656

Protection Started

King’s Creek: 1978
Frazier Neck (Hog Island): 1976

Benefactor

Land donated in part by Choptank Partnership

Preserve Usage Guidelines

  • The preserve is open for daytime use only. Camping is not permitted.
  • Please remain on the boardwalk at all times to avoid destroying vegetation.
  • Fires and smoking are not permitted.
  • Do not remove or disturb any plants or animals.
  • Weapons are not permitted.
  • No pets are allowed.

Directions

King's Creek marsh is best reached by small boat. From the Baltimore/Washington area, take Route 50 east across the Bay Bridge to Easton. Turn left (east) onto Route 331/Dover Road,  towards Preston.  Continue 2.1 miles and turn left onto Black Dog Alley Road and then immediately right onto Kingston Road.  Continue until the road ends at a T intersection (3.7 miles). Turn right, and drive .7 mile to Kingston landing where you can put in your boat. Go downriver (southwest) to the first creek upstream (northwest) to the boat dock on your left. (There is no boat ramp.)  From there it is a short walk to the boardwalk. Access to King's Creek preserve overland is limited; please call the Maryland/DC Chapter office for permission and directions at 301-656-8673.

(Text and drawings in this Trip Story used with permission of The Nature Conservancy, Maryland/DC Chapter.)