Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Northeast Region
 
2145 Key Wallace Dr
Cambridge, MD 21613
(410) 228-2677

Frequently Asked Questions

If you're planning a visit to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and have questions about the Refuge's services, facilities, and recreational opportunities, please refer to our list of frequently asked questions displayed on this page. If your question is not on this list, feel free to contact the management of Blackwater Refuge at:

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
2145 Key Wallace Drive
Cambridge, Maryland 21613
Telephone: (410)228-2677
(Hearing-impaired visitors may call the Maryland Relay Service at TDD/(800)735-2258 voice)


Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Brochure (pdf - 1.37MB)
Wildlife Drive Brochure (pdf - 746KB)
Bike Map (pdf - 120KB)


Visitor Center. Credit: Lisa Mayo

How do I get to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge?
When are the hours of operation?
What are the entrance fees?
What is at the Visitor Center?
What is the weather like at Blackwater Refuge?
What is the Wildlife Drive?
Does Blackwater Refuge have trails?
Are pets allowed at the Refuge?
Where can I find information about wildlife at the Refuge?
Where can I find information about biking at the Refuge?
Where can I find information about hunting, boating, and fishing at the Refuge?
Where can I find information about educational opportunities at the Refuge?
Where can I find information about the fire management program at the Refuge?
What types of visitors' services are available in Dorchester County?
Where can I find information on lodging and camping?
Where can I find information about the Friends of Blackwater?


How do I get to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge?

From Easton, MD heading East (South):
From the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, follow Route 50 East to Easton. From Easton continue south on Route 50 East. Cross over the Senator Frederick C. Malkus, Jr. Bridge (Choptank River Bridge) into the city of Cambridge. Continue on Route 50 (approximately 4 miles) through several traffic lights until you come to a traffic light just past the Dorchester Square Shopping Center (Center includes Wal-mart and Dollar Tree). You will see a brown sign directing you to the Refuge. Turn right at this light onto Route 16 West (Church Creek Road). Follow Route 16 straight through a traffic light at Maple Dam Road (Snow's Turn Exxon is on the corner). You will you pass the South Dorchester High School on your left. At the blinker light, turn left onto Egypt Road just past the school buildings (first road past the traffic light). You will see a parking lot with community buses across from Egypt Road. Follow Egypt road for approximately 7 miles and it will dead end at Key Wallace Drive. You will see a brown Refuge sign directing you to turn left onto Key Wallace Drive to go to the Wildlife Drive, or turn right onto Key Wallace Drive to get to the Refuge Office and to the Visitor Center. After turning right onto Key Wallace Drive, the Refuge Office (headquarters) will be the first building on the left (1/2 mile), and the Visitor Center will be the second building on your left (1 1/4 miles).

From Salisbury, MD heading West:
From Salisbury head west on Route 50. Once you are almost in the town of Cambridge, you will come to a traffic light with a gas station on your left and the entrance to the Hyatt on the right. Before the light there should be a large brown sign on the right directing you to the Refuge. At the light you should see the Dorchester Square Shopping Center with a Wal-mart and Dollar Tree. Turn left onto Route 16 West (Church Creek Road). Follow Route 16 straight through a traffic light at Maple Dam Road (Snow's Turn Exxon is on the corner). You will you pass the South Dorchester High School on your left. At the blinker light, turn left onto Egypt Road just past the school buildings (first road past the traffic light). You will see a parking lot with community buses across from Egypt Road. Follow Egypt Road for approximately 7 miles and it will dead end at Key Wallace Drive. You will see a brown Refuge sign directing you to turn left onto Key Wallace Drive to go to the Wildlife Drive, or turn right onto Key Wallace Drive to get to the Refuge Office and to the Visitor Center. After turning right onto Key Wallace Drive, the Refuge Office (headquarters) will be the first building on the left (1/2 mile), and the Visitor Center will be the second building on your left (1 1/4 miles).

From Vienna, MD:
When coming off the Route 331 ramp, make a right at the 1st stop sign, then make a left onto Race Street toward Market Street. Take the 1st right onto Market Street (if you are on Race Street and reach Middle Street, you've gone a little too far). Market Street becomes Elliotts Island Road/Vienna Henrys Crossroads Road. Turn slight right onto Steele Neck Road. Stay straight to go onto New Bridge Road (you will pass Layton's Chance Winery on the left). Turn left onto Ravenwood Road. Turn right onto Drawbridge Road. Take the 1st left onto Decoursey Bridge Road (if you are on Drawbridge Road and reach Fork Neck Road, you've gone about 2.6 miles too far). Turn left onto Bucktown Road. Turn right onto Greenbriar Road (if you are on Griffith Neck Road and reach Lewis Lane, you've gone about 9.6 miles too far). Turn slight left onto Maple Dam Road/MD-341. Take the 1st right onto Key Wallace Road/Key Wallace Drive (if you are on Shorters Wharf Bridge Road and reach Sandy Island Road, you've gone about 5.4 miles too far). After turning right onto Key Wallace Drive, the Refuge Office (headquarters) will be the first building on the left (1/2 mile), and the Visitor Center will be the second building on your left (1 1/4 miles).

For GPS users: The address of the Blackwater NWR Visitor Center is 2145 Key Wallace Drive, Cambridge, Maryland, 21613.
Should you get lost...our phone number is (410) 228-2677 for the Visitor Center or 410-228-2692 for the Refuge Office. Happy traveling.

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What are the hours of operation?

The Refuge's outdoor facilities and Wildlife Drive are open from dawn to dusk, all year. The visitor center and gift shop are open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the weekend (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas). The visitor center and/or the Wildlife Drive may be closed during hazardous weather conditions.

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What are the entrance fees?

Visitors can purchase a daily permit at the self-pay kiosk, located at the entrance to the Wildlife Drive for the following amounts:

Private Vehicle - $3
Pedestrian, Bicyclist - $1
Commercial Van or Bus up to 20 passengers - $15
Commercial Van or Bus 21 passengers or more - $25

Annual and lifetime passes are available at the Visitor Center and include either a current Federal Duck Stamp valid July 1 to June 30 ($15); a Blackwater NWR Pass ($12), valid one year from date of issue; an Interagency Annual Pass ($80), valid one year from date of issue; a lifetime Interagency Seniors Pass ($10); or a lifetime Interagency Access Pass, which is free for the blind and permanently disabled.

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What can I see at the Visitor Center?

The Visitor Center offers wildlife exhibits, an authentic bald eagle's nest, our Osprey Cam and Eagle Cam TV monitors, and a second-floor "Wild Birds Unlimited Pathways to Nature Observatory" (accessible via stairs or a wheelchair-friendly elevator). In addition, visitors can pick up brochures and maps, browse The Eagle's Nest Book & Gift Shop (run by the Friends of Blackwater) or make use of the restrooms. Visitors can also enjoy our beautiful Butterfly and Beneficial Insect Garden, which is located behind the building. The garden is a peaceful and restful place to enjoy the beauty of butterflies and the plants they favor.

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What is the weather like at Blackwater Refuge?

The Eastern Shore of Maryland enjoys four unique seasons. Many visitors come from late October through early April to avoid the mosquitoes and biting flies that invade the Refuge during the warmer months. The Eastern Shore has temperatures that range from winter lows in the 20s to summer highs in the 90s; average annual rainfall is 40 inches and average annual snowfall is 10 inches.

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What is the Wildlife Drive?

The Wildlife Drive is approximately 4 miles in length (or about a 7-mile loop) and takes visitors in cars, on bicycles, or on foot past some of the most scenic marshes, forests, and fields at Blackwater. The paved drive passes by two of our trails and also offers a good chance of seeing a bald eagle. In addition, there is an observation blind on the Drive that offers photographers and birdwatchers an opportunity to more closely observe the wildlife. Remember that visitors on the Drive are asked to stay on the roadway. Also pets are not allowed on trails or out of vehicles on the Wildlife Drive, even if on a leash. This policy is to protect the endangered ground-feeding Delmarva fox squirrels. Visit our Wildlife Drive page for more information.

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Does Blackwater Refuge have trails?

Yes, Blackwater Refuge has four land trails and three paddling trails.

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Are pets allowed at the Refuge?

Pets are not allowed on trails or out of vehicles on the Wildlife Drive, even if on a leash. This policy is to protect the endangered ground-feeding Delmarva fox squirrels.

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Where can I find information about wildlife at the Refuge?

See the Wildlife section of this website.

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Where can I find information about biking at the Refuge?

Cyclists can choose to complete an approximate 4-mile or 7-mile-loop route along the paved and level Wildlife Drive. Blackwater also has 20-mile and 25-mile routes that follow county roads through the Refuge's varied habitats. Visit our Cycling page for more information.

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Where can I find information about hunting, fishing, and boating at the Refuge?

Visit our Hunting page for more information about our deer hunts. Also visit our Fishing/Crabbing page for more information about fishing or crabbing at the Refuge. Note that visitors can fish from kayaks and canoes -- visit our Paddling page for more information about our water trails.

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Where can I find information about educational opportunities at the Refuge?

Visit our Education page for more information about our educational offerings.

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Where can I find information about the fire management program at the Refuge?

Visit the Fire Management Program page on the Blackwater USFWS website.

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What types of visitor services are available in Dorchester County?

See the Local Links section of this website.

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Where can I find information on lodging and camping?

Camping is not allowed on Refuge property, but lodging and campgrounds can be found in surrounding towns. Visit the Local Links section of this website to find more information. When selecting a place to stay, note that Cambridge is the closest major town to the Refuge.

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Where can I find information about the Friends of Blackwater?

See the Friends of Blackwater section of this website.

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Last updated: December 18, 2013