At a glance

Size: 82 Acres
Habitat: Wooded with beech, oak, tulip poplar, and sweet gum predominating.
Trails: Yes.
Notable birds seen: Small woodland birds, Pileated Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Pine Warblers, Canada Geese.
Parking: Yes.
Facilities on site: NA
eBird: http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L5941724

Piscataway Sanctuary (Prince George’s County)

Piscataway MOS Sanctuary, 82 wooded acres located in southwestern Prince George’s County, is MOS’s most recent acquisition, having been donated by a developer in 2008 with a conservation easement.  The property is bounded on the north by the residential development The Preserve at Piscataway; on the south by Gardner Road Park (102 acres owned by the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission and managed as a hunting area by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MNCPPC)); and on the east and west by private lands. Another MNCPPC property, Danville Estates Park, is located nearby to the east.

Piscataway Sanctuary lies in the watershed of Piscataway Creek, a major tributary of the Potomac River.  The land is mostly wooded, with beech, oak, tulip poplar, and sweet gum predominating.  A good understory of dogwood, sassafras, and other small trees is present, with shrubs including spicebush and viburnums.  Ferns and spring ephemeral wildflowers form a groundcover.  A full assessment of the habitat and vegetation has yet to be conducted.

The main access to Piscataway Sanctuary is from the north, at the end of Hardy Tavern Road in the adjoining residential development.  One can park a car on the cul-de-sac just outside the gate or in the gravel MOS parking lot near the covered pavilion.  Take the obvious double-track grassy trail down the hill from the parking area, and at the bottom of the hill, turn right (west) to follow a broad wood-chipped trail through a stream valley.  The trail follows the path of a sewer line that was constructed for the residential community, and eventually the sides of the trail will revert to woodland as succession takes place.  The trail can be wet at times and there are several small streams to cross, so waterproof footwear is advised.  The trail ends at a larger stream that cannot easily be crossed on foot; turn around here and retrace your steps to return to your car.

A second access point to Piscataway Sanctuary is through the MNCPPC-owned Gardner Road Park to the south.  A parking area is located at the north end of Gardiner Road; leave your car here and walk north into the wood following the obvious double-track old road, which eventually narrows to a single track.  The initial half-mile will be on Gardner Road Park property, and then the trail continues into Piscataway Sanctuary, with an MOS sign on a tree to the left of the trail.  The mostly flat trail takes you through open moist deciduous woodland, with several small stands of pine and small streams to both east and west.  The trail heads northwest and then north and nears, but does not currently connect with, the Sanctuary’s stream valley trail described above.  The Gardner Road Trail peters out just before the slope that leads down to the stream valley.  Turn around here and retrace your steps to the Gardner Road parking area.

The woods of Piscataway Sanctuary offer year-round habitat for small woodland birds such as chickadees and titmice.  Pileated Woodpeckers are found here, along with Red-bellied and Downy.  Warm season birds include Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Wood Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Wood Thrush, Northern Parula, and Ovenbird. Pine Warblers are present in the small patches of pines in the adjoining Gardner Road Park. Canada Geese, Wood Ducks, and Killdeer use the stormwater ponds in the neighboring residential community, including a large and well-vegetated pond near the west end of the sanctuary’s stream valley trail, just south of Granery Lane and Lusby Ridge Road. We are still discovering the birdlife that uses Piscataway, and we invite your contributions to eBird using the hotspot at http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L5941724.

Directions to Piscataway Sanctuary

To reach the northside access to Piscataway Sanctuary through the residential community (entrance located at 14301 Hardy Tavern Dr, Accokeek, MD, 20607)

From the Capital Beltway (I-495),

  • Take Exit 7 onto MD Rte. 5/Branch Avenue south toward Waldorf.
  • In 4.2 miles, exit onto MD Rte. 223/Woodyard Road west toward Clinton & Melwood. Note that Rte. 223/Woodyard Road will become Piscataway Road.
  • In 6.8 miles, turn left (east) onto Floral Park Road.
  • In 0.2 miles, turn right (south) into The Preserve at Piscataway community on Saint Mary’s View Road. At the traffic circle, take the second right to continue on Saint Mary’s View Road.
  • At the end of Saint Mary’s View Road, turn right (south) onto Hardy Tavern Road and continue to its end at a cul-de-sac with a yellow metal gate across a gravel drive into the MOS parking area.

From U.S. Rte. 301,

  • Turn west onto MD Rte. 381/Brandywine Road.
  • In 0.3 miles, turn left (west) onto MD Rte. 373/Accokeek Road.
  • In 2.8 miles, turn right (north) onto Danville Road. (Be careful not to turn onto Springfield Rd, which goes north from Accokeek Road at nearly the same point).
  • In 3.4 miles, turn left (west) onto Floral Park Road.
  • In 0.4 miles, turn left (south) into The Preserve at Piscataway community on Saint Mary’s View Road. At the traffic circle, take the second right to continue on Saint Mary’s View Road.
  • At the end of Saint Mary’s View Road, turn right (south) onto Hardy Tavern Road and continue to its end at a cul-de-sac with a yellow metal gate across a gravel drive into the MOS parking area.

To reach the southside entrance to Piscataway Sanctuary through Gardner Road Park (nearest residential lot is at 14700 Gardner Road):

From the MOS parking lot at the northside of Piscataway Sanctuary,

  • Go north on Hardy Tavern Drive to Saint Mary’s View Road.
  • Turn left (west) on Saint Mary’s View road. At the traffic circle, take the second right to continue on Saint Mary’s View Road.
  • Turn right (east) onto Floral Park Road.
  • In 0.4 miles, turn right (south) onto Danville Road.
  • In 3.4 miles, turn right (west) onto Md Rte. 373/ Accokeek Road.
  • In 1.1 miles, turn right (north) onto Gardner Road.
  • Continue north on Gardner Road for 0.9 miles to its end at a parking area.
  • Park and walk north on the obvious double-track dirt road into Gardiner Road Park; this dirt road will become a single-track trail and will reach the south border of Piscataway Sanctuary in about 0.5 miles; there is a white MOS Sanctuary sign on a tree to the left of the trail.
  • The trail dead-ends near a slope down into the stream valley of Piscataway Sanctuary, but does not reach the stream valley trail on the north side. Turn around where the trail ends to retrace your steps to the parking area.

From the Capital Beltway (I-495),

  • Take Exit 7 onto MD Rte. 5/Branch Avenue south toward Waldorf.
  • In 8.5 miles, turn right (west) onto MD Rte. 373/Accokeek Road.
  • In 3.9 miles, turn right (north) onto Gardner Road.
  • Continue north on Gardner Road for 0.9 miles to its end at a parking area.
  • Park and walk north on the obvious double-track dirt road into Gardiner Road Park; this dirt road will become a single-track trail and will reach the south border of Piscataway Sanctuary in about 0.5 miles; there is a white MOS Sanctuary sign on a tree to the left of the trail.

From U.S. Rte. 301,

  • Turn west onto MD Rte. 381/Brandywine Road.
  • In 0.3 miles, turn left (west) onto MD Rte. 373/Accokeek Road.
  • In 3.9 miles, turn right (north) onto Gardner Road.
  • Continue north on Gardner Road for 0.9 miles to its end at a parking area.
  • Park and walk north on the obvious double-track dirt road into Gardiner Road Park; this dirt road will become a single-track trail and will reach the south border of Piscataway Sanctuary in about 0.5 miles; there is a white MOS Sanctuary sign on a tree to the left of the trail.

Other nearby places to bird

Donate to the MOS Sanctuary Fund

Sanctuary Fund Donation Form

The Maryland Ornithological Society (MOS) is pleased to announce that the children of Chandler and Eleanor Robbins have presented MOS with a generous gift of property in Garrett County, to be known as the Chandler and Eleanor Robbins Sanctuary at Red Run. In addition, MOS is purchasing additional land to increase the size of the Irish Grove MOS Sanctuary. Part of the purchase price will come from a bequest from the late Chandler Robbins. To fund the remainder of the purchase price for the Irish Grove land, MOS is seeking donations for its Sanctuary Fund. Donated funds will also provide for ongoing maintenance and operations of the new Robbins Sanctuary at Red Run, as well as the other nine MOS sanctuaries across the state. MOS is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all donations are tax-deductible.

You may donate online, below. To donate offline, you may use the download the Sanctuary Fund donation form.

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Donation Total: $50.00