At a Glance
- Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend: 9 am-6 pm.
- After Labor Day until Friday before Memorial Day: 7 am-dusk.
- Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend: $4/vehicle Monday-Friday; $5/vehicle on Saturday and Sunday. Walk-ins are also charged a fee.
- There are some exceptions including July 3rd Fireworks and other special events.
- After Labor Day until Friday before Memorial Day: free.
Tips: Bring scope. ◾ Restrooms are available only in summer.
Best Seasons: Winter and spring.
Breeding Bird Atlas Blocks: Deer Park CW, Deer Park SW, Oakland SE
Local MOS Chapter: Allegany-Garrett Bird Club
134 Recreation Lane, Oakland, MD 21550
GPS: 39.4073364, -79.37438
Note: As of late 2020, Broadford Park has embarked on construction of a new multi-use trail system for hiking, biking, birding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The trail system will occupy the wooded hillside near the southwest portion of the lake. Construction is in progress; completion date is unknown. A trail map will be posted here when available.
Located near Oakland, Broadford Lake is a small man-made lake in the Appalachian Plateau, located in a park owned by the town of Oakland. Broadford Lake was built in 1972 as a water supply reservoir for the town and opened for fishing and recreation in 1975. Adjacent woodlands provide good habitat for songbirds. It is a popular birding site throughout the year and is known to be a good spot for finding waterfowl and songbirds. In fact, it’s the #1 eBird hotspot in Garrett County in terms of number of species reported.
The lake covers 140 acres of the 400-acre park and public access is allowed along the entire shoreline. The upper shallow end contains submerged stumps, lily pads, and flats with heavy growth of aquatic vegetation, providing ideal habitat for fish as well as birds that eat fish. The lake is stocked with fish every year. Brush piles created by beavers near deeper water also provide excellent habitat for birds. In addition to fishing, Broadford Lake Park offers swimming, biking, canoeing, and kayaking. The park has one boat ramp and rental boats are available at the park’s concession stand. Gasoline-powered outboard motors are prohibited. Broadford Lake Park also has picnic facilities.
Upon arriving at the Lake, work along the entire western shore (the developed side of the lake), checking the water as well as the trees and other vegetation around the parking areas and ball fields. After checking that side of the park, it often pays to walk across the dam at the south end of the lake to check the small woodland at the south end, where a stream flows into the woods from the lake. There is a good brushy field at the southeast corner that often holds sparrows.
Eventually birders will be able to use the woodland trail system that is under construction as of summer 2021.
Over 210 species have been recorded on eBird at this small park and lake. Broadford Lake is a great spot for waterfowl in the winter. It can also be a good place for finding songbirds in spring and fall. There are often large flocks of hundreds of Canada Geese and many ducks of various species. The beach area could turn up a shorebird or two in migration and the little wetland across Broadford Road at the intersection with Memorial Drive is also worth checking for ducks and shorebirds. Some of the rarer species known to show up here include Red-necked Grebe, Red-throated Loon, Greater White-fronted Goose, Cackling Goose, and all three scoters. There have also been sightings of Eurasian Wigeon and American Avocet (not reported in eBird).
There are some birding opportunities from the car driving the road system within the park or from the parking lots. There are a couple of spots where a view of the lake can be obtained from paved surfaces at the boat launch area, near the swimming beach, or near the ballfields.
Dogs are permitted in the parking lot but not elsewhere.
No bikes, skateboards, or roller blades. No alcohol.
During the summer, boat rentals are available at affordable rates of $5/hour or $15/per day; johnboats, canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats are available.
The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Allegany-Garrett Bird Club, which hosts field trips in the region and meetings with informative presentations, all free and open to the public.
When the park is officially open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, park in the lot at the south end of the lake. Do not park at the ballpark area (off limits if not attending a game).
From MD Route 219 north of Oakland, turn east onto Memorial Drive. Follow Memorial Drive to its end at Broadford Road; turn right (south) onto Broadford Road. Turn left at Recreation Lane into the park. Go past the ballfields to the parking lot at the south end of the lake. Note that the park is officially open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
Bottomland DeciduousConifersHedgerows Garden or ArboretumLawn, Ballfields, Golf CourseUrban or Small Town Landscape Old Fields, Shrubby Meadows Forested SwampFreshwater Marsh or FloodplainFreshwater Pond, Lake, or ReservoirMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Rivers & Streams
Features:Ball Fields or Other SportsBeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)Boat or Canoe/Kayak LaunchBoat RentalsFishingFree - No Entry Fee on Some Days or Parts of YearParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaPlaygroundRestroomsSwimmingWater ViewWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families
Type:#1 Hotspot in County or CityCommunity and Urban ParksPonds, Lakes, and Reservoirs