Turner's Creek Park & Sassafras Natural Resource Management Area

Turner’s Creek Park & Sassafras Natural Resource Management Area

Turner's Creek Park and Sassafras Natural Resource Management Area lie side-by-side along the Eastern Shore's Sassafras River. The 143-acre park and the nearby natural harbor of Turner's Creek was once the site of a thriving local shipping port, disbursing agricultural goods throughout the Bay region.

Now the tranquil harbor is now home to a half dozen crabbing and fishing boats. A granary still stands on the site where an earlier commissary shipped supplies to Washington's troops at Valley Forge. The Kent Museum, housing many artifacts from the Kent County of bygone years, stands a few hundred yards up the hill from the Granary and Landing.

Spectacular views open at every turn along the trails and old roads of the adjacent Sassafras Natural Resource Management Area. Fresh and saltwater ponds, wooded ravines, farm fields, a variety of forest stands and the river itself create prime habitat for viewing waterfowl and many other species.

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Image Credit: Turner's Creek Park & Sassafras Natural Resource Management Area

Hours

Turner's Creek Park: Open daily year-round. (Kent Museum is opn 1st & 3rd Saturdays, April to October, 12 noon – 3pm, or by appointment.)

Sassafras NRMA: Open daily from sunrise to sunset

Knock's Folly is open as a Visitor Center on the 1st Saturday of the month (May through October) 10am - 4pm

(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

No entry fees.

Public boat launch at Turner's Creek Park requires launch permit (3-day permit - $10.00; annual permit - $20.00 for MD residents),  call Public Works 410-778-7439 to order (also available at several local stores).

Activities

Turner's Creek Park: Fishing opportunities both from land and on the water are good. Two well marked trails, half mile and one mile long, provide opportunities for walking. An historic tree grove flourishes on the hillside above the parking area, beside both a Forestry Demonstration Area and a Soil Conservation Agricultural Demonstration Area. Special events include a Fishing Derby, for youth 15 and under, each Spring and Fall Fest in October with a variety of activities for adults and children alike. The Pavilion picnic area offers barbeque grills, volley ball court, horseshoes and swings, all with spectacular panoramic views of Turner's Creek. Turner's Creek provides excellent waters for kayaks and canoes.

Sassafras NRMA: Visitors can enjoy the varied trail system on foot, bike or on horseback. Fishing is available on a small freshwater pond and along the river's shoreline. Hunting is permitted for certain species during the legal hunting seasons.

Facilities

Turner's Creek Park: Parking; boat launch accessible year-round (permit required); 100 foot pier and 80 foot board walk; restrooms (April to October); two walking trails; frisbee golf course; pavillion picnic area (available for rental by calling Parks & Recreation Office 410-778-1948); Kent Museum. The picnic pavilion includes charcoal grills, electric, and approximately 12 picnic tables.

Sassafras NRMA: Parking; nine miles of trails. Knock's Folly Visitors Center. Primitive youth group camping is available during the camping season from May through October.

Picnicking is available at two locations. Visitors can take a break for lunch at Knock's Folly in the picnic grove or at the small pavilion by the pond near the parking area. Picnic tables and a pavilion are available at Turner's Creek County Park, a short distance from Knock's Folly. Restroom facilities are available at Turner's Creek County Park or at the vault toilet at the pond.

Accessibility

At Turner’s Creek Park, the wharf, picnic pavilion and restrooms are all accessible to wheelchairs.

Related Trip Ideas

History

In July and August 1608, Captain John Smith explored the rivers in the upper Chesapeake Bay, including the Elk, North East, and Sassafras rivers. At the mouth of the Sassafras River, Smith and his crew met a party of Massawomeck Indian who had just raided the Tockwogh chief’s town upriver. The Indians and Englishmen regarded each other cautiously. They talked (in sign) and eventually a brisk trade session ensued. The next morning, the English sailed up the Sassafras to the Tockwogh town. When the people there saw Massawomeck shields and spears on Smith’s barge (acquired by trading), they concluded that the English had fought and beaten their enemies. They hailed the English as heroes, and Smith cannily did not correct them. The Tockwogh had iron cutting tools and pieces of brass, acquired in trade with the Susquehannock. This interested Smith, and he decided to seek out the Susquehannock later in his voyage.

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Last updated: April 30, 2019
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