Located on River Road near Poolesville in Montgomery County, McKee-Beshers WMA is a 1,971 acre tract in a mixture of habitat types. The WMA shares a common boundary with the National Park Service Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O Canal) to the south and borders Seneca Creek State Park’s River Road Hunting Area to the east.
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McKee-Beshers WMA 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. This area provides habitat for upland and forest wildlife species including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, songbirds, and waterfowl.
Numerous fields are managed as wildlife food plots, fallow with periodic mowing, or in warm or cool season grasses. Food plots may include, but are not limited to, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, sunflower, winter wheat, or clover. Approximately 175 acres are in an agricultural lease.
Eighteen acres are included in an ongoing Woodcock Habitat Restoration Project. This is a joint project with the Potomac Valley Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society that includes tree plantings of alders and dogwoods as well as hedgerow clearing.
Three greentree reservoirs are managed to flood standing timber for waterfowl habitat in the fall and spring. These reservoirs may flood up to approximately 80 acres of forest if rain conditions are favorable. Additionally, many wood duck boxes are installed and maintained on the property through the Maryland Wood Duck Initiative.
Maddox Island (also known as Van Deventer Island) is located in the Potomac River adjacent to McKee-Beshers WMA. Maddox Island is part of the Islands of the Potomac WMA and is only accessible by water. See Maryland’s Online Water Access Guide for information on boat ramps.
Additional management includes installation of bat boxes, hedgerow maintenance, tree plantings, and invasive species removal. McKee-Beshers WMA has trails available for use by hikers and hunters that are not regularly maintained and are often rough or muddy. This property is a low-lying floodplain for the Potomac River and frequently lays wet.
Unless otherwise posted or with a permit issued by the Service it is UNLAWFUL to:
Public hunting on McKee-Beshers WMA is permitted during legal hunting seasons. No permits or reservations are required. Hunting is available for all legal game species in accordance with current hunting laws and regulations established by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
McKee-Beshers WMA has a designated dog training area, a designated dog training pond, and a field trial area.
Non-hunting users are permitted on McKee-Beshers WMA year-round. No permit or reservation is needed. This area is open for the following activities:
From the Capital Beltway, take Exit 39 (River Road) west toward Potomac. Proceed for approximately 11 miles to the intersection of River Road and MD 112, Seneca Road. Turn left and continue on River Road for about 2 1/2 miles. McKee-Beshers WMA will be on your left as you head west on River Road. For additional information, contact the Gwynnbrook Wildlife Office at 410-356-9272.
This area is a part of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources public land system and is managed by the Wildlife and Heritage Service. The primary mission of the WMA system is to conserve and enhance wildlife populations and their respective habitats as well as to provide public recreational use of the State’s wildlife resources.
Eighty-five percent of the funding for Maryland's state wildlife programs comes from hunting license fees and a federal excise tax on sport hunting devices and ammunition. The federal aid funds are derived from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (or Pittman-Robertson) Fund, which sportsmen and women have been contributing to since 1937. Each state receives a share of the funds, which is administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service; these funds are used for wildlife conservation and hunter education programs, including the management of the WMA system.
Other sources of funds for land acquisition include Program Open Space Funding for Maryland's State and local parks and conservation areas, provided through The Department of Natural Resources' Program Open Space. Established in 1969, Program Open Space symbolizes Maryland's long-term commitment to conserving natural resources while providing exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities.
580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis MD 21401
Call toll-free in *Maryland* at 1-877-620-8DNR (8367)
Out of State: 410-260-8DNR (8367)