COVID-19 Update (August 1, 2021)
TNC’s public preserves in Maryland remain open. We ask all visitors to observe our preserve access guidelines and follow current health and safety precautions, including guidance from the Maryland Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Thank you for helping us in our efforts to protect our visitors’ health and well-being.
Originating from the southwestern mountains of Pennsylvania, Sideling Hill Creek tumbles its way down the steep, forested, shale cliffs of western Maryland before it finally spills into the Potomac River.
The Sideling Hill watershed is about 80% forest cover and is incredibly intact. The area is sparsely populated, and this isolation has allowed Sideling Hill Creek to have supremely high water quality and healthy aquatic communities.
What TNC Is Doing Here
Management includes annual trail spring cleaning, studying and monitoring the shale barren communities, removing non-native weeds on the shale barren, and monitoring the stream for sediment, pollutants and excess nutrient runoff.
In 2019 TNC conducted a 55-acre controlled burn at the preserve, aimed at helping a variety of fire-adapted native tree and plant species, including Table Mountain pine (which needs fire to regenerate), pitch pine, oak trees, blueberries, huckleberries, and many native wildflowers. The chapter's fire team was joined by partners from Maryland DNR Forest Service, Maryland DNR Heritage, the US Forest Service and others.
The burn also offered a unique opportunity to connect the local community to our fire work. TNC hosted a viewing station at the Oak Barrel Café—located directly opposite the burn unit—to give local residents and visitors a better look at this critically important conservation practice.