Deer in Spring Landscape

Cedar Island WMA

Photograph of Snow Geese in Flight Courtesy of John White

Because of its nearly 3,000 acres of tidal marsh, ponds and creeks, black ducks flock to the island located in Tangier Sound near the town of Crisfield. Other tidal wetland wildlife species are also attracted to the area, but its attraction for black ducks is legendary. In the 1960s, wildlife biologists became concerned about the black duck, which seemed to be declining in numbers. Loss of habitat was thought to be the primary cause. Today, black duck populations are on the mend and Cedar Island WMA is one of Maryland's best winter habitats for these beautiful birds.

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What To See

Of course, Cedar Island is one of the best places to see black ducks in the winter. In addition, barn owls use nest boxes placed in the marsh to raise their young. Barn owls typically nest between April and September, which is the best time to see them.

What To Do

The many black ducks and other waterfowl, including mallards, scaup and bufflehead attract hunters. Trapping is offered by yearly lease. Crabbing, as well as fishing for sea trout, rockfish, bluefish and spot are activities enjoyed by visitors. Mosquitoes and other biting insects are plentiful from spring through early fall. Bring insect repellent, minimize exposed skin and wear light- colored clothing.

Area Regulations

  • Use of Cedar Island WMA is generally permitted seven days a week throughout the year.
  • Hunting is allowed in accordance with open seasons and shooting hours. 
  • All State and Federal Hunting Laws and Regulations are applicable.
  • Trapping is by permit only.
  • No motorized vehicles are allowed (access by boat only).
  • Non-hunting Users Guide

  • Non-hunting visitors are welcome.
  • Be aware of open hunting seasons and visit accordingly.
  • Season dates available in newspapers, on the Internet, and at some area stores.
  • Visitors to the management area should be aware that there may be biting flies, mosquitoes, and ticks present during April - November. 
  • Weather conditions in Tangier Sound can change rapidly and a seaworthy boat is recommended for access to the WMA.
  • Site Management Goals

  • Nest boxes for Barn Owls have been erected to supplement natural tree cavities for nesting.
  • Designated as a Maryland State Wildland due to its nearly pristine status.
  • Tidal marsh habitat conditions on the island limit management practices that can be implemented.
  • Directions

    The island can only be reached by boat. A nearby ramp at Crisfield is available for public use. From U.S. Route 13, take MD 413 to Crisfield and Somers Cove Marina or Jenkin's Creek Wharf. For additional information, contact the Wellington Wildlife Office at (410) 543-8223.

    Photograph of Snow Geese in Flight Courtesy of John White


    This area is a part of Marylandís Department of Natural Resources public land system and is managed by the Wildlife and Heritage Service. The primary mission of the WMA system is to conserve and enhance wildlife populations and their respective habitats as well as to provide public recreational use of the Stateís wildlife resources.

    Eighty-five percent of the funding for Maryland's state wildlife programs comes from hunting license fees and a federal excise tax on sport hunting devices and ammunition. The federal aid funds are derived from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (or Pittman-Robertson) Fund, which sportsmen and women have been contributing to since 1937. Each state receives a share of the funds, which is administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service; these funds are used for wildlife conservation and hunter education programs, including the management of the WMA system.

    Other sources of funds for land acquisition include Program Open Space Funding for Maryland's State and local parks and conservation areas, provided through The Department of Natural Resources' Program Open Space. Established in 1969, Program Open Space symbolizes Maryland's long-term commitment to conserving natural resources while providing exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities.