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We rated this trip moderate because a GPS or excellent map skills are essential here. This wide open marshy area is just to the west of Blackwater National Wildlife Management Area. We put in at the small boat ramp on Smithville Road during a flood tide, which had submerged part of the parking area. The flood tide resulted in many of the marshy areas being submerged which made understanding the GPS even more difficult.
From the boat ramp we paddled west on Beaver Dam Creek about .5 mile to Upper Keen Broad where we turned left (south). We followed the most obvious line through Upper Keen Broad, which changes names to Punch Island Creek, until we reached the Chesapeake Bay in about 4 miles. The point where you reach the Bay is directly across from Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Bay plant. There was a small beach where we were able to put ashore for a brief rest.
On the return trip we entered several small ponds where birds were even more abundant. We also turned into Dunnock Slough, which eventually becomes Dunnock Creek, and adds an additional two mile loop through the marsh. This area requires a GPS since there are many guts and creeks which lead into dead end ponds throughout this area.
The entire round trip, including the excursion into Dunnock Slough, was approximately 10 miles. We were the only boaters in this area. In early May there was no problem with bugs in this area, although we suspect during the summer that may not be the case.
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