Paddling through the northernmost stand of Baldcypress trees in the U.S should be on the bucket list of everyone who lives in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This is your chance to take a guided canoe tour of Trap Pond and experience the sights, sounds and smells of a cypress swamp. $15 per person. May 15, 9 a.m. Trap Pond State Park, Laurel, DE. If you prefer taking in the eerie aura of paddling the swamp’s dark waters at night, the Swamp After Dark Canoe/Kayak is being offered May 19 at 7:30 pm. More information on both paddles.
Built in 1949, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway steam locomotive No. 1309 was built to handle the railroad’s heaviest coal trains throughout Kentucky and West Virginia. No. 1309 has been meticulously restored back in service by the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, who is offering summer steam rides (in addition to the usual diesel rides) that include the Moonlight on the Mountain (available once a month on Friday) and Frostburg Flyer, typically available on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday weekly. Train schedule and tickets.
As the trees leaf out, spotting birds becomes increasingly more difficult. Often it is faster and easier to identify a bird by its song – if you know how to bird by ear. In this online program, presented by the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, Master Naturalist Colt Gregory will explain the many benefits of birding by ear, introduce some of the most common birds by their songs and calls and share resources and apps to help you practice your birding by ear skills. This program is intended for beginner birders but may be a helpful refresher for more experienced birders. The program welcomes children age 10+, accompanied by a participating adult. $20 for nonmembers. May 12, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. More information and registration.
With the discovery of rich hematite ore deposits in the hills of the Monocacy River Valley in the mid-18th century, industrialization rapidly swept into the valley. From 1776 to 1903, iron companies mined the rich ore banks near Catoctin Mountain, smelted it in furnaces, and cast both raw pig iron and iron implements of many sorts. The Iron Festival celebrates this history with blacksmithing and casting demonstrations, live iron pours, log hewing, live music, guided hikes and an artist and maker market. There will be children’s activities, a bake sale, “Feats of Strength” Challenges, food and beverages and more! May 21-22, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Catoctin Mountain Park, MD. Complete weekend schedule.
Enjoy a full moon paddle at Caledon State Park on the evening of a total lunar eclipse. As dusk is an active time of day, there's a good chance to see and hear wildlife as they search for food along the shore.
Must be 16+ for a solo kayak and 8+ (accompanied by an adult) for tandem kayak. $19/solo, $25/tandem; parking fee is $5. May 15, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Caledon State Park, VA. More information and registration.
Join the James River Association and their conservation partners to tour a local James River Buffer Program project, hear from partner speakers and enjoy a trip on the James. You'll get to hear from batteau historians and enjoy a free (optional) guided trip on the James! Registration is free and required for lunch and participation on river trips. May 26, 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Riveredge Park (across the James from downtown Lynchburg), VA Schedule and registration.
Observe the beautiful Tuckahoe Creek view while scouting for signs of beavers. We’ll be searching for plants of interest like mountain laurel, beech, tulip tree, pink lady's slipper, Solomon's seal, and may apple. Following the guided walk with a docent naturalist, enjoy a delicious and nutritious lunch along with a brief lesson about nutrition. $30 for nonmembers. May 21, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD. More information and registration.
Looking for an excuse for a spring visit to the mountains? Discover the connection between native plants, people and wildlife at this free event at New Germany State Park. There will be many native plant and artisan vendors and conservation groups, including Garrett Trails, Maryland Conservation Corps, Trout Unlimited, Maryland Native Plant Society and University of MD Extension - Garrett County Master Gardeners. May 14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information.
Feature of the Week
A New Park Honoring the American Indians of Virginia
Machicomoco State Park, located in Gloucester County overlooking the York River, is the first state park celebrating and honoring the history and legacy of the American Indians of Virginia. The park, designed in collaboration with input from tribal representatives, seeks to immerse visitors in the history of this land and the rich Powhatan presence that is deeply linked to it. An outdoor exhibit and interpretive trail describe thousands of years of local American Indian history, continuing to this day. Machicomoco State Park also offers camping, yurts, fishing, and a boat launch. Read Machicomoco: Telling the Story of the American Indians of Virginia

Featured Tips
Become a Tree Rescuer
If it makes you sad seeing our native trees being smothered by invasive vines, there are many ways you can help. Plant NOVA Trees has launched a community volunteer program called Rescue Trees. Rescue Trees community volunteers are asked to watch a video about invasive vine identification, walk around communities counting trees at risk from invasives, drop off brochures provided and report back to Plant NOVA Trees. Though areas being counted are in Northern Virginia, the Vine ID cardseducational video and list of organizations seeking volunteers to help with removal of invasives are valuable tools for tree lovers anywhere. Learn more about how to become a Tree Rescuer.

Head out on the water and learn firsthand the experiences of Captain John Smith's Voyage on NOAA's Chesapeake Bay interpretive Buoy System. CBIBS provides real time weather and environmental information, as well as a glimpse into living Chesapeake Bay History. You can also download the app for your Android or iPhone from the website. Note: some buoys may be offline with no data currently available.

Take a virtual tour of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail from your computer or mobile device! To help you plan your trip before you go, the Chesapeake Conservancy partnered with Terrain360 to bring you virtual tours of the trail’s great rivers. Sit back and virtually explore the Elk, James (sponsored by the James River Association), Nanticoke, Northeast, Patapsco, Patuxent, Potomac, Rappahannock, Sassafras, Susquehanna, and York rivers. Check out some of the Chesapeake’s special places like Werowocomoco, Fones Cliffs, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Mallows Bay. We hope to eventually bring you a virtual tour of the entire Chesapeake Trail! Explore the Chesapeake's great rivers on our website.

Chesapeake Trips and Tips is a partnership publication of National Park Service Chesapeake Gateways and Chesapeake Conservancy.
Connect with us on social media
Open the link above and use it to
forward to a friend!