Battle Creek Cypress Swamp
A sub-tropical tree found mostly in the Carolinas and Southeast, cypress stands are unusual this far north. The Battle Creek cypress stand is presumed to have established itself somtime in the last 10,000 years.
Northernmost Stand of Cypress in the U.S.
Early settlers in Calvert County, especially boat builders, discovered that cypress wood does not break down readily from bacterial or fungal infection and is virutually rot resistent unerwater. The stand was cut fairly regularly until the early 1950's when two scientists became concerned that it would be over-cut and destroyed. Through their efforts, a nature conservancy purchased the watershed. The boardwalk was built later to provide for visitors.
100 Acre Nature Sanctuary
There's a sense of age and mystery about Cypress Swamp. A 1/4 mile boardwalk trail meanders through a 100-foot canopy of trees that can reach an age of over 1,000 years. Such swamps were prevalent during the age of mammoths. But today, the swamp is populated with woodpeckers, raccoons, flying squirrels, owls, a bee hive, and frogs. There do not seem to be any alligators or dinosaurs in this particular swamp.
Calvert County is at the northernmost natural range of bald cypress trees in the U.S. Exhibits in the nature center focus on the natural and cultural heritage of the area.
Cypress knees, projections of cypress tree roots may help stabilize these towering conifers in their muddy habitat.
For hours and directions see the Battle Creek Cypress Swamp web page.