Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, operated by the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks
, is a gem of biodiversity where visitors can hike, birdwatch, and enjoy observing nature. Established in 1985, the Sanctuary is the largest park in the system and it includes one of the largest freshwater tidal wetlands on the East Coast. The Sanctuary is managed so visitors can enjoy, appreciate, and learn about the peaceful, quiet environment and the expansive wetlands. To learn more about the Sanctuary, read this article in the Bay Journal.
Located in southern Anne Arundel County, 20 miles east Washington D.C. and 18 miles south of Annapolis, the Sanctuary is a designated site on the Patuxent Water Trail.
The Sanctuary consists of 1,600 acres of tidal freshwater wetlands, forests, meadows, and fields along the Patuxent River. The wetlands contain large diverse stands of aquatic plants, which are home to many bird, fish, reptile, and mammal species. To recognize the large and diverse bird populations here, the Sanctuary has been designated as a Nationally Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society.
The Sanctuary contains a wide variety of aquatic and upland habitats. To learn more about our wetlands, stream, forest and meadow habitats, click here.
The Sanctuary is an estuarine site within the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve System, Maryland -- a research and education program administered jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Maryland's Department of Natural Resources and Anne Arundel County. Twenty-eight other coastal Reserves around the country operate similar programs that focus on estuarine research, education and land stewardship. Since 1985, the County, the State (via Program Open Space) and NOAA have continuously purchased additional adjacent lands in order to expand the Sanctuary, to enhance wildlife habitats, and to better protect the Patuxent River estuary and the Chesapeake Bay.
The Friends of Jug Bay is a non-profit citizen's organization that acts to preserve the Sanctuary and to support its education and research programs. Through membership dues and donations, as well as hard work, the 900 FOJB members provide critical support that greatly enhances Sanctuary programs and activities. The FOJB have prepared a Fact Sheet that describes the unique characteristics of the Jug Bay area and outlines local development projects which could negatively impact the Jug Bay environment.
The Patuxent River now boasts a 75-mile long "Water Trail" and part of it goes through the middle of the Sanctuary (stops #43 and #47). The trail makes it easier for canoers and kayakers to traverse the entire length of the river and to find put-ins, campsites and places of interest along the way. The partnership that developed the Patuxent Water Trail was spear-headed by the Patuxent Riverkeeper. To learn more about the water trail, go to http://www.patuxentwatertrail.org/.