We’re Dog People at ACLT!

Our four legged friends are among our favorite people at the American Chestnut Land Trust! There are few things that make us happier than seeing the dogs of our visitors and volunteers joyfully bounding along the trails.  Hiking with dogs offers many benefits that range from giving you motivation to get out for some fresh air and exercise to carrying a light pack of supplies.  We truly encourage you to enjoy the trails with your dogs – and be sure to bring them by the office so we can say hello!

Because we love them so much we want to make sure they stay safe and don’t run into trouble out on the property.  Here’s a list of a few rules and suggestions  – and why they are important!

1. Sorry – but yes, they need to be on a leash!

I know this is the hardest rule for some of our members and guests.  We have so many well behaved dogs, but here’s why…

  • Beaver Fever – Funny name, but it’s actually an illness that can seriously endanger your pups life!  A nickname for the parasite “giardia“, Beaver Fever is an illness dogs (and humans!) can catch by swimming in waters where beavers are busy.  Symptoms include severe diarrhea with blood, vomiting, lethargy and severe weight loss.  It can even cause death in puppies and older dogs with weaker immune systems.  ACLT has several resident beavers and at least one case of Beaver Fever in a dog was reported this winter.  Keeping your dog on a leash keeps them out of the water and keeps them safe!
  • Ground nesting birds – Providing a safe haven for wildlife is an important part of the work here at ACLT.  Through no fault of their own, dogs’ instincts are strong and its very difficult for most to resist the urge to sniff out or chase the deer, squirrels, fox, turkeys and SO many other animals that call the Parkers Creek Preserve home.  But a big concern for us is our ground nesting birds that seasonally find refuge in our large stretches of taller grasses.  Many of these birds, like the Bobwhite Quail, are losing thousands of acres of suitable nesting areas each year and their numbers are seriously declining.  ACLT provides a much needed refuge.  Even if the dog doesn’t kill a bird, they could inadvertently damage the nests which impacts the young.
  • Our ACLT Friends and Members who are NOT dog people –  While we know that for dog owners it’s hard to imagine that someone isn’t a dog person, there are many who are nervous near even the nicest, most well behaved dogs!  ACLT is a place for everyone.  Please help us make all of our guests, members and friends feel welcome by respecting their needs.

2.  Be ready with supplies on the coming warm days:

  • While we may assume 2 – 4 miles may be easier for our pets than for us, the changing weather can be tough on them.  Even though its cool now, in the coming weeks the temperatures will start to rise.  Please be sure to bring supplies that will allow your dog to have fresh water during your hike.  Don’t assume that they will be able to drink from any water source that may be near the trails.  See Beaver Fever above!
  • For our most ambitious Dog/Owner teams, the longest hike at ACLT may be very tempting!  The round trip for our PF2BAY trail is 12.2 miles.  This is a challenging hike for you AND your dog.  For these long hikes, please consider a pack of supplies just for your pup including snacks and water.  Check out this great article about things you might want to consider having while taking long hikes with your 4 footed buddy!
  • Bring a “Tick Comb” with you.  Having this handy little comb with you and combing your dogs immediately after your hike will help protect them and you from Lyme disease which is remarkably prevalent in Southern Maryland.

3.  Clean up after them

  • We love our trails and work hard to care for them.  Please be prepared to clean up your pups “business” when they’re enjoying the trails!  We ask that our guests not to walk off the trails –  for your safety and the safety of the plants and wildlife – and we are confident that most of our friends respect that.  (Did you know that we have many endangered types of plants that thrive here at ACLT?) This means your dogs only option for relief is on the paths.  Please help us keep the trails nice for everyone!

We hope you get out and enjoy the trails now that the weather is getting warmer.  We’re looking forward to seeing many smiling faces  – and wagging tails!


Photo courtesy of Trish Snyder  via Creative Commons license – Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)


You are a “Force of Nature!”

Volunteers are the awesome power behind the American Chestnut Land Trust’s ability to care for the Parkers Creek Preserve!

The watershed would not be in such great shape without the devoted help of our volunteers. The Bay Journal describes it this way:  “Parts of Parkers Creek look much like they did when John Smith sailed up the Bay. This is not by chance. The creek and much of the land in its watershed are protected by a dedicated group of local residents and one of the most active land trusts in the state-the American Chestnut Land Trust.”  That’s 100% thanks to you.

You are the most important part of ACLT!  So in your honor – and recognizing the truth of the title – we are renaming our volunteer program

A Force of Nature!

Our “Force of Nature Volunteer Program” will:

  • Expand our circle of fun, inspiring and hard-working people dedicated to caring for the Parkers Creek Preserve.
  • Offer well-defined activities that match your interest and availability.  Only have an hour to spare?  We’ve got something that will only take an hour!  Want to spend an afternoon on the trails in the spring? We can plan that today!  Do you enjoy planning parties? 2015 will be all about events and celebrating this beautiful area!

Register for the “Force of Nature Volunteer Team” or talk to Pam (ACLT’s Community Relations Coordinator) at volunteer@acltweb.org or by calling 410-414-3400.

***Already a Member and a Volunteer?  Thanks for jumping in again! Follow this link to the Volunteer Registration page to verify your information and to update what kinds of activities you want to be involved with!


So what kinds of activities can you be a part of?

Handy People (Carpenters/Equipment Repair/Electrical):  We have multiple barns and buildings and equipment to maintain them.  Our Handy People help us with general maintenance and building projects. Carpentry skills valuable for sign-in box building, bridge repairs, etc.

Trail Stewards:  Work with our land manager to select a trail that you can adopt to care for like it is your own! Hike it frequently, moving branches and noting tree roots.  Report back to the land manager for major repairs and upkeep.

Canoe Guides:  Qualified and experienced paddlers can sign up for training each May to become an ACLT Canoe Guide on our Parkers Creek Trips.

Farm/Garden:  If you love to be in the garden, we need help planting, weeding, watering and harvesting!  This is a special year as the farm changes over to primarily supplying fresh fruits and vegetables to local food banks. You’ll be helping so many people with your volunteer hours!  We also have pollinator gardens, rain gardens and demonstrations that are teaching tools for the public.

Events Team:  ACLT hosts many outreach events that require lots of help, from set up to socializing, to running games and food tables, our event team is a critical aspects of ACLT’s ability to reach its goals in 2015! This category has several activities that can be done from home!

Water Quality Monitoring:  This is a great option for our Citizen Scientists.  WQM takes place on Parkers Creek monthly and helps us track the health of the watershed.  Training provided!

Weed Whacking Wednesdays: Join our weekly Wednesday group to care for our South Side trails.

Thursday Trail Adventurers:  Join our bi-weekly Thursday Team that cares for our North Side trails.

Spring/Fall Trail Maintenance:  Twice a year, ACLT gathers a large group of volunteers to spend a Saturday morning doing large projects and maintenance.  ACLT provides equipment, food and fun. You provide the elbow grease!

Musicians: ACLT will have a variety of events in 2015 that we would like to make even more festive with live music!  If you are a musician that plays family friendly country, bluegrass, pop/rock classics, or jazz please get in touch with the Community Relations Coordinator at 410-414-3400. Can’t wait to hear you!

Register here for the “Force of Nature Volunteer Team”.  Or talk to Pam (ACLT’s Community Relations Coordinator) at volunteer@acltweb.org or by calling 410-414-3400.