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Maryland/DC

Black Marsh Natural Area




Open to the Public

Yes

Things To Do

Take a self-guided audio tour View All

Get Directions

Black Marsh Natural Area comprises almost half of North Point State Park, established by the Conservancy and Baltimore County in 1987. This 1,300-acre park on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay once served as a private retreat for Bethlehem Steel executives. 

Part of the property had been continuously farmed for almost 350 years.  Today Black Marsh Natural Area belongs to all Marylanders, offering visitors a wading beach, fishing pier, hiking trails, and scenic overlooks.

Why You Should Visit

Black Marsh Natural Area is amazingly wild and natural.  It includes over six miles of shoreline, high quality tidal and non-tidal wetland, and upland forest bordering the Chesapeake Bay, Back River, and Shallow Creek. 

The relatively undisturbed tidal freshwater/brackish wetland is uncommon in the northern part of the Chesapeake Bay; the large bayside marsh, Black Marsh, is considered to be one of the finest examples of a tidal marsh on the upper Chesapeake. 

Within this system, a variety of wetland wildlife can be found. The area supports several State-listed plant species, including Agalinis fasciculata, Bidens coronata, and Eupatorium leucolepis. Several rare, threatened, or endangered birds also occur in the marsh, including black rail, least bittern, swamp sparrow, and bald eagle.

The mature upland and riparian forests provide habitat for at least five species of sensitive forest interior birds, such as Louisiana waterthrush. Black Marsh is also an important source of food and shelter for numerous fish species.

The State of Maryland manages a portion of the property as a "Sensitive Management Area" allowing only passive, recreational uses such as hiking, bird watching, and nature study.

eBird Observations

Click here for Preserve Visitors Guide (PDF).

Hours

8 a.m. – Sunset (closed Christmas Day)

For more information about fees, activities, and park policies, visit the North Point State Park web site.

Download an Audio Tour

Planning a visit to Black Marsh Natural Area? Before your trip, download our self-guided audio tour to your handheld device. It's like having a naturalist in your pocket!

  • Step 1: Download the Black Marsh audio tour map. This map will help identify which audio tracks to play based on your location on the trail, so make sure to take a copy with you on your trip.

  The parking lot shown on the audio tour map is on the left just after you pass the fee booth. Walk southeast on Old Bay Shore Road to reach the spot for the first audio segment.
  • Step 2: Download and save the mp3 audio files to your handheld device. Play the corresponding track when you reach a waypoint along the trail. Listen to them all or pick & choose based on your interests!

Tour stops 1 - 10
 

Directions

From North Baltimore:

  • Travel I-695 (Baltimore Beltway) south towards Essex/Key Bridge
  • Take Exit 42 and bear right (south) onto MD 151 (North Point Boulevard)
  • At the first light, turn left onto MD 158 (Bethlehem Boulevard), which bends right in 0.1 mile and becomes MD 20 (North Point Road)
  • Continue about 2 miles, staying left at the fork, to North Point State Park on the left
  • The parking lot shown on the audio tour map is on the left just after you pass the fee booth. Walk southeast on Old Bay Shore Road to reach the spot for the first audio segment

From South Baltimore:

  • Travel I-695 (Baltimore Beltway) north towards Glen Burnie/Key Bridge
  • Cross the Key Bridge and take Exit 43. At the first (blinking) light, turn left (east) onto MD 158 (Bethlehem Boulevard)
  • Continue about 1 mile and go straight across MD 151 (North Point Boulevard)
  • In 0.1 mile the road bends right and becomes MD 20 (North Point Road)
  • Continue about 2 miles, staying left at the fork, to North Point State Park on the left
  • The parking lot shown on the audio tour map is on the left just after you pass the fee booth. Walk southeast on Old Bay Shore Road to reach the spot for the first audio segment

 

Discussion

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Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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