Skip to Main Content

Maryland Department of Natural Resources Purchases Former Bay Club Golf Course to Preserve Open Space in Worcester County

Partnership with Lower Shore Land Trust Adds to Chesapeake Forest Lands

Photo of stand of trees in a forest

The Chesapeake Forest Lands now comprise more than 76,000 acres n the lower Eastern Shore. Maryland Department of Natural Resources photo

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with Lower Shore Land Trust, today announced the  purchase of the former Bay Club near Berlin, Worcester County, from Carl M. Freeman Companies. Formerly a golf club, this purchase will help  conserve 672 acres in the headwaters of the Pocomoke River watershed with the objectives of restoring wetlands, reforestation, and providing public access. 

“The purchase of this property will provide significant water quality and habitat benefits in addition to  public recreational opportunities,”  said Department of Natural Resources Land Acquisition and Planning Director Hilary Bell. “The department is grateful to our partners at the Lower Shore Land Trust for their work, and to the Carl M. Freeman Companies for their commitment to conservation.”

The Department of Natural Resources will coordinate on watershed restoration projects that meet departmental goals for bay restoration and climate resiliency. Portions of the property may provide pollinator habitat demonstration areas, forest management, and fulfill goals for meeting Maryland’s 5 Million Trees Initiative. Through this acquisition, the Maryland Forest Service will add significant acres of new pine and mixed hardwood forest to the Chesapeake Forest Lands

“The opportunity for recreational trails was a major motivation to support this project,” said Executive Director of Lower Shore Land Trust Kate Patton.

The Bay Club was purchased using funds from Maryland’s Program Open Space. The seller recognized the conservation value of the property and worked diligently with Lower Shore Land Trust to meet the requirements of the State.  

“We are delighted to have been part of preserving such a critical resource in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and have appreciated our partnership with the Lower Shore Land Trust and the State of Maryland,” said CEO of the Carl M. Freeman Companies Michelle Freeman.

The Chesapeake Forest Lands comprise 76,000 acres in Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester counties.