This area is home to a distinctive ecosystem, a long human history
—and a community working to preserve its environment. —
Groundwater seeps from the hillside here at Douglas Point, creating wetlands called "spring seeps." These boggy areas contain a distinct set of plant species, including bayberries, orchids, fringe trees and magnolias. Other habitats here include river shore, hardwood forests, swamps, marshes and meadows.
This area is rich in biodiversity, with many different species. It provides the large wooded area that Forest Interior Dwelling Species (FIDS) need. The region also includes the largest heron nesting sites on the east coast.
Large trees form the habitat of bald eagles. Beavers built dams that flooded tree swamps. Ospreys, ducks and the rare dwarf wedge mussel contribute to this unique ecosystem.
This area also contains fossils—including shark, turtle and crocodile fossils—some of which are 55 million years old.
The area also has a long human history. Some sites suggest that people hunted and camped near here for almost 10,000 years before Europeans came. Native Americans were here in 1608, when John Smith met the Potopaco Indian community part of the Piscataway nation.
In the 1700s, European settlers cleared farmland and built houses in this area. The brick chimneys and foundation of he Chiles house remain here,
and other house sites have been found. Sometimes, remains of the house ae visible above ground. Other times, the only evidence of former houses are plants that do not grow in the wild here—such as lilacs, peonies and daffodils. These plants were likely placed around a house and continued to grow after the house disappeared.
The area has seen many changes, but its current residents remain committed to preserving its cultural and natural resources.
This is a map of Charles County from 1794. Douglas Point is located just south of where Liverpool Point is labeled on the map.
(Icon in the upper-left corner for the Chiles Homesite.)
(Icon in the lower-right corner for the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management.)