Due to the fragile ecologies of these preserves, they are open only for scientific research with prior permission from The Nature Conservancy.
Crabtree Cave is the largest bat hibernaculum in Maryland, and shelters eastern pipistrel, little brown, big brown, and northern long-eared bats. Explore
Crescent Preserve's seasonally flooded freshwater wetlands are among the state's rarest natural communities. Explore
Dorchester Pond is the largest coastal plain pond in Maryland. Since 1986, 51 acres have been purchased in one of Maryland's rarest natural communities, Delmarva bays. Explore
Fort Hill's limestone cliffs hold fossils of 600 year-old ocean life. Explore
The Glades' 601 acres is one of the oldest examples of mountain peatland in the Appalachians. Explore
John Friend Cave is home to unusual and rare species that have evolved to survive in permanent darkness. Explore
Little Catoctin Highland Glades is home to one of the most recent natural discoveries in Maryland. Explore
Oldtown Shale Barren
Shale barrens represent a unique combination of geology, soil, topography, and climate. They have desert-like conditions, and are habitat for the unique, endemic species that have adapted to live within them.
The preserve is an unusually old Eastern Shore woodland of mixed hardwoods and loblolly pines, a seldom seen remnant of the forests that once covered much of the Delmarva Peninsula. Otwell Woodlands also provide a secure habitat for year-round and migratory birds.
Pilot Serpentine Barren
Pilot Serpentine Barren is named after its unusual serpentine bedrock. It is one of only four remaining examples of this barren natural community in Maryland. Soils here are thin and nutrient poor but rich in minerals. This environment combined with a dry, hot microclimate results in an unusual community of plants adapted to the serpentine barren.
Older forests, such as Ranck Woods, are increasingly uncommon on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Since 1987, The Nature Conservancy has protected 43 acres. This site was chosen for its mature, mixed forest of conifers and hardwoods. It also provides habitat for the Federally endangered Delmarva fox squirrel.
Since 1986, 40 acres have been protected in one of Maryland's rarest natural communities, seasonally flooded freshwater wetlands also called Delmarva bays.