Woodlawn Wildlife Area / New Beginnings
331 Firetower Road, Colora, MD 21917
Located between Port Deposit and Colora in northwestern Cecil County, the Woodlawn Wildlife Area—New Beginnings is a reclaimed former landfill that has been transformed into a wildlife area. The land is the site of the old Woodlawn landfill, a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site. About 53 acres of the Wildlife Area are privately owned by Bridgestone America Holdings, Inc., and another 22 acres or so are owned by Cecil County. Woodlawn Wildlife Area is managed by the nonprofit Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC). The Wildlife Area consists of a large open grassland with some scattered shrubs and young trees, sitting on top of the capped landfill; forested woodlands; a 4-acre meadow planted with warm-season native grasses and wildflowers; shrubby areas that are in early-stage reforestation; and a small man-made wetland. Well-maintained mowed-grass or dirt trails provide access to all the areas. A pavilion with a living “green” roof was constructed by a local Eagle Scout candidate and is used for outdoor education and as a shady rest spot for visitors.
After parking outside the gate at the small lot off Firetower Road, explore the Wildlife Area on foot. A nature trail traverses the meadow and passes through parts of the forest before emerging at the large open grassland (see trail map at link at left). The trail loops around the grassland, with some side trails cutting across the middle. The trail passes by tall raptor perches, bluebird boxes, and a Purple Martin house. The southeast corner of the site has a small retention pond that has been transformed into wetland habitat, with cattails and other emergent vegetation. The southern border of the old landfill is bounded by woods and a small creek. The western edge of the Wildlife Area runs along the property of a private horse farm. More nest boxes line the trail as it emerges from the woods, and then continues around and through the meadow.
To arrange for a group visit with access to the gated parking lot, contact the Wildlife Council (phone number above) ahead of time. They track community use and arrange for gate opening/closing. For individual drop-in visits, park just outside the gate.
Over 160 species have been reported on eBird at Woodlawn Wildlife Area. Depending upon the season, the meadow, shrubby areas and the wetlands attract various species of sparrows including Eastern Towhee; Field Sparrow; Chipping Sparrow; Grasshopper Sparrow; Vesper Sparrow; Savannah Sparrow; Fox Sparrow; Lincoln’s Sparrow; Song Sparrow; Swamp Sparrow; White-throated Sparrow; White-crowned Sparrow; and Dark-eyed Junco. Migrating flycatchers, vireos, warblers, orioles, and other passerine species are found during spring and fall migration. Raptor perches attract raptors throughout the year. Pine Siskins, Common Redpolls, and Purple Finches may be present in the winter during irruption years. Yellow-breasted Chat and Scarlet Tanagers breed on site or nearby.
Gravel lot at the entrance gate. There is a gated lot used for pre-arranged groups, and outside the gate is parking for 3 or 4 cars. Don’t block the entrance gate and or other cars.
There is a kiosk at the parking area with extensive information about native plants found in the Wildlife Area. Interpretive signage and tree/shrub identification tags are found throughout Woodlawn Wildlife Area. ◾ The meadow area features wildflowers from spring through fall, attracting various pollinators. ◾ The Wildlife Area hosts a Monarch Waystation, located near the covered picnic pavilion. ◾ Woodlawn Wildlife Area often hosts visiting school groups for curricular modules on native habitat, pollinators, monarch butterflies, and more. ◾ Woodlawn is in need of volunteers to help with habitat maintenance, including removal of invasive species. If interested in volunteering, see http://ccgov.galaxydigital.com/agency/detail/?agency_id=59073. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Cecil Bird Club, which offers field trips and meetings with informative programs, all free and open to the public.
From I-95: Take Exit 93 for MD Route 222 north; in 0.6 miles, where Route 222 turns left, go straight to continue north on MD Route 275/Perrylawn Drive (also signed as MD Route 222 Truck Route). Go north for another 2.2 miles to the traffic light at the intersection with MD Route 276/Jacob Tome Memorial Highway. Turn right (northeast) onto Route 276 and travel about 0.9 miles to the next traffic light. At that traffic light, turn left (northwest) onto Firetower Road. In 0.8 miles, Firetower Road makes a turn to the right where Waibel Road comes in from the left, at the entrance to the Woodlawn Transfer Station. Bear right to continue north on Firetower Road for another 400 feet and look for a lane on the left (west) side of Firetower Road, immediately past a small woodlot. There is a small gated parking lot for the Wildlife Area with an information kiosk.
If birding with a pre-arranged group and the gate is open, pull into the lot and park. If the gate is closed, park outside the gate but do not block it or other cars. There is space for 3 or 4 cars outside the gate.
Perryville Community Park; Octoraro Creek Trail at Conowingo Park; North East Community Park; Elk Neck State Forest; Elk Neck State Park-Turkey Point; Tydings Memorial Park & Havre de Grace City Marina; Conowingo Dam/Fisherman’s Park (Harford County Side); Susquehanna State Park
Bottomland DeciduousConifersHedgerowsUpland Deciduous Garden or ArboretumReclaimed Industrial Site Old Fields, Shrubby Meadows Forested SwampFreshwater Pond, Lake, or Reservoir
BeginnersFree - No Entry FeeHabitat Restoration ProjectHiking/Walking TrailsNative Plant Garden or Meadow/Pollinator PlantsParkingPets AllowedRestroomsYoung People / Families
Community and Urban ParksPrivate Sanctuaries and Preserves