Woodcock love the alder wetlands

State Wildlife Management Area Project

Mt. Nebo WMA is a 1,863-acre tract in western Maryland centered on Millers Run in the Youghiogheny River watershed. Around 90 percent of the management area is mixed hardwoods with trees in differing age classes, including some young forest. Other important habitats include old fields, aspen stands, and alder wetlands.

Small Patch Cuts

Wildlife specialists with Maryland's Department of Natural Resources work to maintain a balance of habitats appropriate for the species present on Mt. Nebo WMA as well as the climate, topography, soils, and ecology of the area. Since the 1970s, small patch cuts periodically have been made in wooded sections to create and maintain young forest.

American Woodcock

A special American woodcock habitat project is dedicated to the memory of Aelred Geis, a longtime Maryland resident and migratory bird scientist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Geis conducted pioneering research on woodcock and was a strong advocate of science-based wildlife management. A large sign on the demonstration area recognizes his accomplishments.

American woodcock breed, feed, and rear their young in damp-soil areas of young forest at Mt. Nebo WMA.

The core of the woodcock area is an extensive wetlands dominated by speckled alder and other native shrubs, including ninebark, highbush blueberry, elderberry, and willow. Woodcock feed and rear their broods in such dense habitats, using damp zones during dry periods and moving into higher, drier terrain during wet weather.

The WMA has a population of alder flycatchers (listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation need in Maryland), and efforts to keep alder stands healthy benefit this uncommon bird. Young forest created in higher and drier habitats may attract golden-winged warblers. Other wildlife that use young forest on Mt. Nebo include cottontail rabbits, white-tailed deer, black bears, ruffed grouse, wild turkeys, and many kinds of songbirds. Visitors sometimes see river otters at Mt. Nebo, and waterfowl using a small lake.

How to Visit

Mt. Nebo WMA is west of U.S. Route 219 midway between the town of Oakland and Deep Creek Lake. Gated roads invite walk-in access. Maryland Department of Natural Resources provides a map.