Cherrington Cooperative Wildlife Management Area

Great Horned Owl - Eugene Grosvenor

The Cherrington Cooperative Wildlife Management Area (CWMA), also known as the Dickerson Conservation Area, is located northwest of Poolesville, Maryland. The property is owned by the Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission (MNCPPC). The 290-acre tract is preserved for conservation purposes.

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Cherrington CWMA hunting access is managed by the Wildlife and Heritage Service. The mission of the Wildlife and Heritage Service is to conserve and enhance diverse wildlife populations and associated habitats while providing for public enjoyment of the State’s wildlife resources through hunting and other wildlife-dependent recreation. Cherrington CWMA provides habitat for forest wildlife species, primarily white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, and songbirds.

The CWMA shares a common boundary with the National Park Service Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O Canal). The C&O Canal Towpath may be accessed from the main parking area off of Martinsburg Road. The warm-water fishery created from the discharge at the Dickerson Power Plant is easily accessible from this area.

Regulations for All Users

Unless otherwise posted or with a permit issued by the Service it is UNLAWFUL to:

  • Operate or possess a vehicle on roads, trails, or waterways not open to general traffic.
  • Bait or feed wildlife.
  • Use or construct permanent blinds or tree stands. All portable blinds or stands must be removed at the end of the day.
  • Ignite, cause to be ignited, or maintain a fire.
  • Camp
  • Remove, disturb, damage, or destroy any mineral, plant, rock, tree, or nongame animal.
  • Have dogs off leash from April 15 through August 15.
  • Use dogs to chase fox and raccoons.
  • Release any animal or plant.
  • Conduct commercial activities.
  • Place a cache for the purpose of geocaching.
  • Operate, possess, or use combustibles, explosives, or fireworks.
  • Dig for relics and treasures, remove prehistoric or historic artifacts, or use a metal detector without a permit from the Office of Archeology.
  • Deposit litter or refuse including, but not limited to, animal carcasses, appliances, brush, debris, furniture, garbage, hazardous material, tires, waste paper, yard waste, or other litter.
  • Vandalize real property including any blind, building, crop, equipment, gate, habitat, plant, road, sign, trail, vehicle, vessel, or other public property.
  • Graze cattle, goats, horses, sheep, or other domestic animals.
  • Place decoys prior to 1 hour before legal shooting hours, leave decoys overnight, or remove decoys later than 1 hour after legal shooting hours.


Public hunting on Cherrington WMA is permitted during legal hunting seasons with restrictions (see below). Hunting is available for deer only in accordance with current hunting laws and regulations established by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

  • No permits or reservations are required.
  • No other game species besides deer may be hunted.
  • Hunting is permitted Monday through Saturday. No hunting is allowed on Sundays.
  • Permitted hunting devices include archery equipment, muzzleloaders, shotguns, and straight-walled cartridge rifles or handguns. The use of bottleneck rifles is prohibited.
  • No trapping is allowed.

Non-Hunting Users

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Biking on established trails
  • Bird Watching
  • Nature Photography
  • Dogs must be leashed from April 15 through August 15


Maryland Map showing approximate location of Cherrington CWMA

Cherrington CWMA is located northwest of Poolesville and east of Barnesville, Maryland. Public access to this area is off of Maryland State Route 107 (Whites Ferry Road). The parking lot for this area is located off of Martinsburg Road. For additional information or seasonal permits, contact the Gwynnbrook Wildlife and Heritage Service Office at 410-356-9272.

​Great Horned Owl, photo by Eugene Grosvenor