The plant thrives in acidic soil and is naturally found on rocky slopes and mountainous forest areas.
Mountain Laurel The plant thrives in acidic soil and is naturally found on rocky slopes and mountainous forest areas. © Kent W. Mason

Places We Protect

Hellen Creek Hemlock Preserve

Maryland / DC

Some species of plants and animals found here are more characteristic of the Appalachian forest in western Maryland.

Hellen Creek Hemlock Preserve harbors part of an isolated stand of eastern Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), which is the southern-most stand in the coastal plain of the eastern U.S. The stand is probably a relict community left behind by the last glaciers some 15,000 years ago. 

Protection of Hellen Creek started in 1957 with land donated by Mr. and Mrs. Chandler S. Robbins. It was preserved primarily for its protection of eastern hemlock in the coastal plain, as well as its rich birdlife. 

In July, 2019, a unique partnership between TNC, local conservation organizations and state and federal government concluded a land transfer 10 years in the making.

The transaction spearheaded by the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT) and Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust (CPNHT) involved the purchase of an easement to land along upper reaches of Hellen Creek near Lusby from TNC, which in turn donated the land to CPNHT.

Monies for the easement came from the U.S. Navy’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program (REPI). The easement will be jointly owned by the Maryland Environmental Trust and PTLT, which will be responsible for protecting terms of the easement in perpetuity.

CPNHT, which has managed the land since 2006, will be responsible going forward for its care, including public access. Together with the Hellen Creek Preserve on the southern shore and the newly acquired Turner Road property on the northern, there are more than 280 acres of protected property on Hellen Creek.

There is a variety of landscapes at this preserve, such as upland woods, steep bluffs, ravines, and marsh. This diverse topography provides habitat for many species of wildlife. 

What to See: Plants

  • Climbing fern
  • Mountain laurel
  • Hercules' club
  • Cardinal flower

What to See: Animals

  • Hellen Creek is rich in bird life, harboring dozens of bird species, including pileated woodpeckers, kingfishers, and bald eagles
  • Deer mouse

What to do: Geocaching

Geocaching is a fast-growing hobby that provides an exciting way to explore the outdoors. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS, and can then share their experiences online.  It's a great way for kids to connect with nature and learn navigation skills, with the fun reward of finding real hidden treasure.

Log on to www.geocaching.com to set up a free account and then begin your quest for Hellen Creek View.

  • Caches are only accessible during normal hours of operation.
  • Stay on marked trails at all times.
  • Please respect the land; do not remove plants, animals, artifacts, or rocks.
Hellen Creek Hemlock Preserve
Hellen Creek Preserve harbors part of an isolated stand of eastern hemlock, the southern-most in Maryland.

Hellen Creek Hemlock Preserve A little bit of the west in the southeast.