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General Information

Canada Goose at Merkel Wildlife Sanctuary
Copyright: - Maryland State Forest and Park Service
Canada Goose at Merkel Wildlife Sanctuary
Description - The Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary is comprised of 1,600 acres of marshland, woodlands, farm ponds and fields along the picturesque Patuxent River. The sanctuary offers habitat for a large variety of birds and mammals, and is managed primarily for Canada geese. Edgar Merkle (1900-1984) was an active conservationist who originated the plan to reintroduce Canada geese to Maryland's western shore and donated his 400-acre farm as a part of the present-day wildlife sanctuary.

Attractions - The Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary is haven for Canada geese that typically arrive in mid-October and stay until late February or early March. Visiting geese sometimes reach 5,000 with approximately 100 geese staying the year round. In addition to the geese, the habitats attract a variety of other wildlife including white-tailed deer, red fox, and plethora of birdlife. Hiking and biking trails enable visitors to explore remote reaches of the sanctuary offering a better chance of viewing the 200 species of recorded birds and several species of fur-bearing animals. A beautiful visitor center is another way to enjoy the sanctuary's wildlife. A large building with two-story windows looks out over several ponds, meadows and wooded hills that frame the Patuxent River. The center's exhibits focus primarily on the life history and management of the Canada goose.

Located just moments away is the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Driving Tour. It is open for self-guided driving tours on Sundays from 10 AM to 3 PM throughout the year. It is open on Saturdays from 10 AM to 3 PM for hiking and biking from January through September. The tour begins at Patuxent River Park (not to be confused with Patuxent River State Park). Also found at Patuxent River Park is Black Walnut Creek Boardwalk Trail, a 1-mile nature loop. Leashed pets allowed. To reach Patuxent River Park travel to Croom Airport Road, off Croom Road, north of the sanctuary. The drive offers a unique opportunity to see and learn about the outstanding natural resources along the Patuxent River.

Recreation - Viewing wildlife, viewing wildlife exhibits, auto driving, biking and hiking are ways to enjoy Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary.

Climate - Maryland has four distinct seasons with spring and fall being particularly pleasant with low humidity and mild temperatures. The average January temperature ranges between 30 and 34 degrees F (-1 to 1 C) with July averages ranging between 74 degrees F and 80 degrees F. Typically, coastal temperatures are slightly warmer then the western Appalachian Plateau area. Travelers should be aware that winters can become miserably cold and summers can be hazy, hot and humid with afternoon thundershowers.

Location - The Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary is in southern Prince George's County, within 30 miles of Annapolis, 45 miles of Baltimore and 20 miles of Washington, DC. It can be reached from Route 301.

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More Information

Contact Information:
Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary and Visitors Center, 11704 Fenno Road , Upper Marlboro, MD, 20772, Phone: 301-888-1410

Additional Information:
Capital Region - The Capital Region of Maryland is as diverse as the people that inhabit the area stretching from the agricultural lands bordering Pennsylvania and continuing south past the United States Capital City and down into the Atlantic Coastal Plain.
Maryland State Parks - Maryland State Forest and Park Service offers 47 state parks with recreational opportunities offered for all ages. From the forested regions to where land meets sea, Maryland's public parcels provide recreation, relaxation, and education. Many facilities possess barrier-free design.

Maryland State Forest and Park Service -
Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary and Visitors Center - Official agency website.


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