Preserve Guidelines

The Nature Conservancy’s preserves are set aside to protect natural plant and animal communities. We invite you to observe and enjoy these preserves, but remember that every visitor has an impact. Please follow these guidelines to lessen the impact of your visit.

Our preserves are open to the public during daylight hours. We ask visitors to respect the nature of the land at all times. Passive recreation such as walking, bird watching, and photography is welcomed.  To protect the health of our preserves for generations to come, and to ensure the safety of all visitors, the following activities are not allowed:

  • Picking flowers, mushrooms, etc.; removing rocks or other parts of the landscape.
  • Smoking.
  • Camping, fires or cookouts.
  • Driving motorized vehicles, including ATV’s, except on designated access roads.
  • Biking.
  • Fishing, trapping, or hunting, except as otherwise posted.
  • Bringing dogs onto the preserve.
  • Horseback riding.
  • Feeding wildlife.
  • Releasing animals or introducing plants.
  • Disposing of trash or other waste, including biodegradable materials.

In addition, in order to minimize the impact visitors have on the preserve, we ask that you please:

  • Use trails.
  • Avoid walking in wet, boggy areas.
  • Inspect pant legs and shoes to remove seeds before entering and when leaving the preserve. Failure to do so could introduce unwanted weeds to new locations.
  • If you flush a ground nesting bird - stop and avoid walking near the nest area.
  • Observe all posted signs.
  • Please do not remove stakes, signs, flagging, tape or other objects - they might be part of a research project.
  • Please do not trespass on private property adjacent to the preserve.

For your own comfort and enjoyment, come prepared. Wear comfortable shoes for hiking, pack some rain gear and wear long pants with socks over them to protect yourself from ticks and poison ivy. Bring along insect repellent and sunscreen for protection. Always remember to carry a water bottle for thirst quenching. And, of course, bring your binoculars, camera, field guide and a compass.

Tick and Mosquito Alert

When you get home, plan to drop your clothing directly in the laundry and do a tick check before you shower. Deer ticks, the type that carry lyme disease, are about the size of a pinhead and tend to attach in hair, under ears, underarms, trunk of the body, groin, and backs of the knees. Remove them by gently pulling with tweezers and wipe the skin near the bite with a mild disinfectant. If, within 7-10 days after exposure, you experience a rash (especially an expanding "bull's eye" rash), chills, fever, headache, stiff neck, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes and/or aching joints and muscles, contact your doctor. You can find more information on lyme disease at or by calling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at (404) 332-4555.

More Information

If you want to do research on a Nature Conservancy preserve, please share your plans with us and receive permission before starting. Contact Deborah Barber, Director of Land Management, at 301-897-8570 or

If you observe any illegal activity such as ATV use on a preserve, feel free to call the local police.

Enjoy your visit and please report any problems with a preserve to the Maryland Chapter at 301-897-8570 or


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