The fishing piers at Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park are closed in both Dorchester and Talbot Counties due to structural safety concerns. Shoreline and trail access is open on the Talbot County side of the park.
An underwater inspection conducted in February 2022 found crumbling concrete in many areas of the structure below the water surface. These defects can cause sudden failures, often with little to no warning, making the structure unpredictable and unsafe. Due to this evaluation and concern for public safety, the bridge piers will remain closed until further notice.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is committed to providing safe public fishing access and will inform and engage the public throughout the planning process regarding this location.
Planning for New Amenities at Bill Burton State Park
In 2021, DNR and Talbot County staff signed an agreement to develop a Master Plan to improve recreational amenities, water access and resource conservation at Bill Burton State Park. The State and County have worked with a consultant to put together two conceptual Master Plans for site redevelopment on the Talbot County side.
Take our public outreach survey to weigh in on the plans and provide additional feedback on the redevelopment of the park
Master Plan 1
Master Plan 2
Timeline of structural safety activity at Bill Burton Fishing Pier:
2021: DNR hired EBA Engineering Inc. to design improvements for the bridge sections that comprise Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park. During review, the engineers discovered structural issues on the bridge, which was built in 1935, and on December 23, 2021 recommended immediate closure of the bridge for further analysis. DNR announced that the fishing piers would be temporarily closed.
Jan. 26, 2022: The Board of Public Works approved an extension of EBA Engineering’s contract to include an underwater inspection conducted by subcontractor Marine Solutions Inc.
February - March 2022: Marine Solutions conducted an underwater inspection.
April 2022: An
underwater inspection report and engineers’
analysis was provided to DNR and reviewed by staff from the department’s Engineering and Construction Unit and the Maryland Park Service.
May 2022: DNR determined to take actions necessary to continuing ensuring public safety at this location and will engage community leaders and stakeholders on future options.
June 2022: DNR worked with EBA Engineering to determine if pedestrian access can be restored to a 270-foot portion of the Dorchester County pier that is connected to the Dorchester County Visitors Center boardwalk. This would facilitate safe pedestrian access to Sailwinds Park from the north side of Route 50. The engineer recommended repairs to damaged posts, sealing of deck slab and sidewalks, and upgrades including a barrier to prevent access to the pier beyond the improved area.
July 2022: DNR crews began recommended repairs to the Dorchester County pedestrian access in early July. Once the repairs are complete and deemed adequate, DNR will work with engineers to determine a date this area can be opened.
Office Phone (Harriet Tubman SP): 410-221-2290
Duty Ranger Phone: 443-477-0526
Email us at
29761 Bolingbroke Point Drive
Trappe, MD 21673
Off of Route 50, at the intersection of Rambler Road & Radiance Drive
Cambridge, MD 21613
Information page for driving directions Limited parking available. Information about additional parking can be found
The sign that welcomes visitors to Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park. Photo credit: Angela Crenshaw, DNR
Talbot Pier: 7 a.m.-sunset daily, April 1-December 31. Closed December 25.
Dorchester Pier: 7 a.m.-sunset daily, year-round. Closed December 25.
Talbot Trails & Shoreline: Sunrise-sunset daily.
Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park consists of approximately 25 acres of park property, split between Talbot County and Dorchester County, on either side of the Choptank River. The Talbot County side includes about 1 mile of trails and a 1 mile pier, while the Dorchester County side includes a ½ mile pier. The piers are quite popular because of the variety of fish that can be caught including perch, striped bass, croakers, sea trout, and catfish. The pier adjoins Sailwinds Park via the walkway under the bridge. Portable toilets are available on both sides of the pier.
On July 22, 2009 the Board of Public Works approved re-naming The Choptank River Fishing Pier to Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park in honor of Bill Burton, a reporter, writer, and fisherman who has, for more than 50 years, chronicled outdoor opportunities for Maryland citizens. Mr. Burton was instrumental in preserving the bridge for a fishing pier when the new bridge was constructed.
The consumption of alcohol at the Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park is prohibited. Hunting and swimming are prohibited. All pets must be kept on leashes.