Liberty Reservoir Cooperative Wildlife Management Area

Hooded Merganser, photo by Scott Suriano

Liberty Reservoir CWMA is located in western Baltimore County and eastern Carroll County. The North Branch of the Patapsco River is the primary tributary that feeds the reservoir. Nearly half of the Baltimore County portion of the watersh​ed is forested with large forest blocks in the vicinity of the reservoir.

The 9,200 acre Liberty Reservoir CWMA is owned by the City of Baltimore and is managed to protect the reservoir. The area is open to hiking, rowing or paddle boating, bird watching, horseback riding and nature photography year-round, and for archery hunting during a regulated season. The reservoir is also managed for warm, cool, and cold water fish species and offers excellent fishing opportunities.

The watershed is home to the Liberty Dam that was completed in 1954. Water from the reservoir flows by gravity through a 12.7-mile long, 10-foot diameter tunnel to the Ashburton Water Filtration Plant for treatment in Baltimore City.

The Baltimore Environmental Police safeguard the Baltimore Region’s water supply by protecting the natural resources. In addition, Environmental Police also provide law enforcement services and provide for public safety on all Baltimore City Water Supply Lands and Reservoirs.

This is a PDF fileClick Here for Map​


Liberty Reservoir 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. Liberty Reservoir CWMA provides habitat for upland and forest wildlife species, primarily white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, rabbits, squirrels, and songbirds.

Regulations for All Users

Unless otherwise posted or with a permit issued by the Service or the City of Baltimore 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.
  • 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.
  • Target shoot​.


Public hunting on Liberty Watershed CWMA is permitted during legal hunting seasons with restrictions (see below). A free permit is required and available in the Maryland Guide to Hunting and Trapping or online. Hunting is available for all game except waterfowl in accordance with current hunting laws and regulations established by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

  • Click here for the online Archery Hunting Permit for the Liberty, Loch Raven, and Prettyboy Reservoirs
  • Hunting is permitted Monday through Saturday. No hunting is allowed on Sundays.
  • Permitted hunting devices include archery equipment only.
  • Trapping is not allowed.
  • Parking or driving motor vehicles of any description except on hard surfaced roads is prohibited.
  • Hunting is permitted only from one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset.
  • No hunting within 50 feet of the high water shoreline.
  • No hunting is allowed south of Liberty Road (MD Route 26) in Baltimore County.
  • Hunters must adhere to all regulations established by the Baltimore City Bureau of Water and Wastewater.

Non-Hunting Users

Liberty Reservoir CWMA is open year-round to non-hunters. No permit or reservation is needed. Be aware of active hunting seasons. The property is open for the following activities:

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Boating (permit required and restrictions apply)
  • Horseback Riding on unpaved fire roads
  • Biking on established trails
  • Bird Watching
  • Nature Photography
  • Swimming is prohibited
  • Pets must be leashed at all times. Pets may not be in the reservoir water at any time.

For a complete guide to reservoir regulations click here.

To contact the reservoirs directly for non-hunting questions or for boating permits click here.

Map of Maryland showing approximate location of Liberty Reservoir CWMA


Liberty CWMA is centrally located on the border of Baltimore and Carroll Counties. Numerous public roads provide access points to this area. For additional hunting information or seasonal permits, contact the Gwynnbrook Wildlife and Heritage Service Office at 410-356-9272.