American Chestnut Land Trust - Prince Frederick, MD & Cedarville State Forest - Brandywine, MD

I recently found a nice little list of all parks (and their amenities) in our county.  So, I decided Fall is the perfect time to go exploring!  We're going to visit them in alphabetical order.  I've already hit a few out of order, but now that I have a list I'm all kinds of exciterpated.  Lists + mild OCD = ridikerous happy Mommy.  First we were exploring by following the plethora of brown signage indicating historical and natural landmarks (of which there are plenty to choose from out here).

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Our first discovery was the American Chestnut Land Trust, which is no more than some hiking trails really, but what fascinating trails they are!  We didn't get to hike every trail, but from what we saw these trails have some of the most interesting flora and fauna we've seen in Maryland thus far.  There are numerous swamplands out here, but the one at ACLT had such interesting trees and vines, it made the overgrowth more like a scene from "Fern Gully" than a swamp in southern Maryland.  

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It's fungus time so we saw a few interesting specimens along the way as well.  It was a pretty cool place.  One we will be visiting again with the dogs since I'm sure they'll thoroughly enjoy all the new smells.

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Yesterday we headed out to Cedarville State Forest, which did have a playground contrary to my handy list's claims.  I let the boys play, we ate our picnic lunch, and then were off to explore!

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This park has very well-maintained picnic pavilions with huge fireplaces and grills on site, bathrooms, water and parking provided.  There was a baby gray squirrel hanging out at pavilion #1, dashing in and out of a hole in the concrete benches.  He was even cooler than the playground ;)

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We went a little later on in the day so I couldn't convince my kidlets to go on a walk with me on the trails.  They were perfectly content sitting in the van while I shuffled around the general area taking pictures.

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As part of FDR's New Deal, the park was home to the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp #335-C which was an African American worker's camp run very much like the military.  They were educated, fed, paid the same wage as whites, and given jobs like working the charcoal kiln, clearing trails, and planting trees.

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From wikipedia "During the time of the CCC, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide and upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas".  One more reason to admire FDR in my opinion.

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This park is also home to some pretty awesome campsites, fishing, hunting, and enough open areas with picnic tables to keep kids safe and busy for hours upon end.  Can't wait to bring Josh and Noah! :)

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