Mill Creek in Talbot County
Myrtle Simon Pelot in Caroline County
These sanctuaries have trails and a place to park a vehicle.|
They are for day use only and no reservations or fees are required. Large groups should notify Sanctuary Committee Chair Brent Byers prior to visiting.
Mill Creek Sanctuary consists of 156 acres and bounds MD Route 662, about two miles south of Wye Mills in Talbot County. The sanctuary is divided on an east-west line by Route 662 and on a north-south line by Mill Stream. The property is fragmented further by several east-west stream branches and deep ravines where differences in elevation of over 10 feet can occur. Nearly the entire sanctuary is covered by a deciduous forest including Tulip Tree, various oaks and hickories, American Beech, Sycamore, Red Maple, Tupelo and Black Cherry, with some individual trees exceeding 30 inches in diameter at breast height. An exception occurs in the broad, muddy portions of the Mill Stream flood plain which is characterized by swampy, scrub-shrub, non-tidal wetlands and herbaceous tidal wetlands.
A parking lot for about eight automobiles is located behind an inconspicuous gate off of Route 662. (Look for the adjoining private property with a brick house.) There are benches and a weather-proof bulletin board in the parking lot and trails emanate from there. A shelter with a fireplace and a picnic table can be found along the trail running behind the private property. Sitting north of Route 662 is the Royce R. Spring Memorial, a stone marker with an inlaid plaque commemorating the 1965 gift of 30 additional acres to the Sanctuary.
Identified on the sanctuary are over 400 different plants including many grass, sedge, lily, orchid, oak, smartweed, rose, clover, heath, mint and composite species, and a similar number of fungi, including coral, polyphore, amanita, bolete, waxy cap, brittle flesh, and pale-spored species. Numerous arthropod, mollusk, fish, amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal species have also been seen. The tract is home to several species of protected forest interior dwelling birds, among them Parula and Kentucky Warblers, Northern Waterthrush, and Acadian Flycatcher. You can find all the species recorded here on the species list. There are also breeding Luna Moths, Forest Snails, Tasselated Darters, Gray Treefrogs, and Five-lined Skinks. Over a dozen species are endangered, rare, threatened or protected. To avoid disturbing or destroying them, it is important to stay on the designated trails. Visitors can help keep the trails well-marked by adding fallen branches or logs to the sides of the trails.
Two other sources provide more detailed information on Mill Creek Sanctuary. One is Know your Sanctuaries - Mill Creek, an article written by Dickson J. Preston and appearing in the March 1971 issue of Maryland Birdlife. The other is a comprehensive report by Jan Reese, MOS Mill Creek Preserve, Talbot County: Resources, Preservation, Management, 1985, 82 pp. A copy of the latter can be obtained from the author.
MYRTLE SIMON PELOT
This sanctuary was purchased in 1972 using a bequest to the MOS from Mrs. Myrtle Pelot of Ridgely. It is approximately 60 acres of deciduous swamp forest varying from 9 to 20 feet above sea level.
Originally the land was part of an old mill property with Draper Mill Road forming the dam, which impounded Gravelly Branch. The dam washed out in 1937, and the rich pond sediments now support a thriving forest. It is located in the Red Bridges area of the Choptank River, an area that local birders have enjoyed for years. Pelot Sanctuary is an oasis for flowers, birds, and other fauna in the midst of a predominantly agricultural area.
A marked trail begins at the sanctuary sign and there is a rest area with benches approximately 200 yards in on the left. There is parking for two or three cars along the road near the bridge.