A recent walk through the Millington Wildlife Management Area in eastern Kent County, Maryland reminded me of a theme of Paul Gruchow’s book “The Necessity of Empty Places” which is that there needs to be in the world, if only for inspiration, places set aside that are not designed to be occupied my man.
The 4000 preserved acres in this northeastern corner of Maryland’s Easter Shore unintentionally fits that purpose. While a wonderful mix of preserved hardwood forests, pine groves, wetlands and managed fallow farm fields, the acreage is not completely contiguous, trails are poorly marked and mapped, and invitations of public access are nearly non-existent. In fact, armed with the website overview and a printed web-based map, following trails and finding the access points can be a challenging exercise.
Of course, this also means that your odds of running into another hiker are rare and your opportunities to stumble upon wildlife are very good. On my recent walk I enjoyed seeing deer, turkey, rabbits, and a plethora of birds. I was able to enjoy several short walks through woods and meadows, although not one seemed to match the map I had printed that morning.
Where I live 20 minutes down the road it is still considered quite rural. But as I hear plans of new housing developments, convenience stores and other nearby “improvements” upon the land, it is nice to know that there will always be 4000 poorly marked, hardly used and permanently “empty” acres.