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Off The Beaten Path

Douglas Point Special Recreation Management Area


The Potomac River doesn’t just pour out of Washington DC and head straight for the Chesapeake. It has to bend around the Nanjemoy peninsula which juts out of Maryland like a big bulbous nose. Not a lot of people live here, and that makes it beautiful.

The Bureau of Land Management, the State of Maryland, and Charles County work together to manage protected land along the water around Douglas Point. This is actually an exciting example of county and state and federal government agencies working together to protect land and open it up for public use.

There are two trailheads off of Route 224 with signage kiosks and parking areas to access the trails managed by BLM. I parked at the northern one. At 9 am on a Sunday morning, my truck was the only one there. It being summer, I liberally applied the bug spray and was quite glad I did. The kiosk has a little container where you can pick up a map and brochure. I decided to follow the Cal Posey trail southward, and then take the Blue Banks Beach trail; about a mile overall.

The trail is wide here, looking a little like a wagon trail with moss in the middle. It cuts through mature hardwood forest with healthy understory. It was beautiful and quiet, and then I discovered that being first down the trail that morning has a serious drawback. Spider webs. (Tip:  Get a three foot long stick and wave it in front of you in a gentle figure 8 pattern as you walk. That will get rid of cobwebs. No need to cut a fresh stick. There are plenty of dead ones lying around.)

At an intersection I turn right onto a narrower path, but still very nicely cleared. Halfway down this spur to Blue Banks Beach, a boardwalk helps you cross a wet area with groundwater from natural springs. It’s quite lovely. I hear only birds and insects and the swish of my web-clearing stick. At the beach, I only see a little cleared area where paddlers could come in and take a break. I know that I’m missing something, because I know there are wide beaches where people look for fossils. Rather than look for it on this trip, I decide to double back and take the spur to the overlook.

Cindy Chance

Cindy Chance is a Cultural Anthropologist for the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office. She lives in Annapolis, MD, on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. 

June 16, 2015

Main image: Douglas Point water view (Image courtesy: Cindy Chance)
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