Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

Dameron Marsh Natural Area Preserve

The 316-acre Dameron Marsh Natural Area Preserve is one in a series of protected state lands that line the shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. This preserve contains one of the most significant wetlands on the Chesapeake Bay for marsh-bird communities, and its pristine sandy shorelines are highly important for the federally threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle (Cicindela dorsalis dorsalis). DCR's efforts to conserve sites like Dameron Marsh are an effective means to sustain these important coastal ecosystems and protect habitats for both rare and common species. Dameron Marsh supports impressive salt marsh communities, sandy shoreline strands, and maritime shrub and forest habitats.

Most upland portions of the property were used for agricultural purposes for over three centuries. However, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Army Corps of Engineers, has restored the former fields to forested habitats that now support a great diversity of wildlife and contribute to water quality improvement in the Chesapeake Bay.

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Image Credit: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

Hours

Dameron Marsh Natural Area Preserve is open to the public from dawn to dusk. Part or all of the preserve may be periodically closed for resource management or protection activities. Please call before visiting.

(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)

Fees

Free

Activities

  • Walking
  • Birding and Wildlife Viewing
  • Kayaking and Canoing
  • Photography

Facilities

Public access facilities at the preserve include a small parking area, walking trails and a boardwalk and wildlife viewing platform overlooking the marsh and Chesapeake Bay. A designated “hand-carry” boat launch site is also accessible via a short trail that accommodates kayaks, canoes and other small “car-top” vessels. A drop-off point and vehicle turn-around facilitates launching, with vehicles returning to the parking area.

The highly exposed preserve location is subject to high winds and strong wave action accompanying storms and prolonged wind events. These, in combination with sea-level rise, bring constant change to the physiography of the preserve. Shorelines are constantly shifting, with more exposed (northeast facing) areas being eroded at a rate of 8 feet per year.

History

Most upland portions of the property were used for agricultural purposes for over three centuries. However, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Army Corps of Engineers, has restored the former fields to forested habitats that now support a great diversity of wildlife and contribute to water quality improvement in the Chesapeake Bay.

Weather

Last updated: March 07, 2017
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