West and Rhode Riverkeeper

We work with our community to enforce environmental law, to
promote restoration, and to advocate for better environmental policy.
Contact us: 410-867-7171  ♦  4800 Atwell Rd, #6, Shady Side, MD 20764

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Thank you to our sponsors

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Franklin Point State Park is now open

Welcome to Franklin Point State Park


The Dent Road area is open to public access for day use only.
To obtain a day use permit and access the gate combination, click here. 
Or call Sandy Point State Park at 410-974-2149, Monday – Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm.
 You must provide your name, phone number and email address to obtain the gate code.
 The gate must be secured after you enter the park and upon your exit. Parking is only permitted in the designated lot adjacent to the entrance. Do not park along the entrance road.
 Please re-lock the gate behind you after you enter and when you leave. Park ONLY in the designated parking area to the left beyond the gate. Franklin Point is Trash-Free. Please pack out your trash. Alcohol is prohibited in all Maryland State Parks. The park hours are sunrise to sunset.
 Be courteous to our neighbors — drive slowly, watch for kids, dogs and wildlife.
In case of an emergency, contact *Natural Resources Police* at *410-260-8888*, or call *911*. 

Access to this park was made possible by a partnership with the West & Rhode Riverkeeper. To volunteer, or to make a donation, contact or call 410-867-7171.

 Mud - In creeks and ponds, use your paddle to test that it's not bottomless before you get out of your boat. Once you sink in up to your knees, you're going to need help.
 Snapping Turtles - They can grow to be as big as trash can lids and in creeks and ponds like to lurk below undercut banks and sunken logs - don't put a foot or hand in there without poking around with your paddle first.
 Powerboats - Powerboats and PWC's transit Deep Cove Creek to and from the Bay, particularly on weekends. A boat under power will be mid-channel. The posted speed limit in the creek is six knots.
 Bacteria - Open cuts can become seriously infected by bacteria found in Bay, creek and pond waters and there's a lot of stuff hiding under mud and sand (including crabs) that can injure feet. Water shoes or sandals are good protection.
 Weather - A change from flat calm to strong winds can occur very rapidly. This may only be uncomfortable in the creeks and ponds but dangerous offshore in the Bay. Match where you paddle with the capabilities of your boat and your experience.
 Ticks/Chiggers - Like every other wooded area in this part of Maryland, FPSP has them.
 Wear your lifejacket.
 Paddle with someone else.
 Paddle sober.
 Dress for the water temperature.
 Look at the launch site as you're leaving so you can find it again. It's at 38°48.82'N 76° 30.75'W.
 Paddling away from the launch during low tide, stay in deeper water beyond the poles (that is, stay closer to the far shore) until entering the narrow Deep Creek channel heading toward the Bay. More details at www.aacwt.org (Map 12.)
 If you then veer left at the main (only big) creek junction and head out into the Bay, look at the mouth of Deep Cove Creek so that on your return, you can find the creek mouth (38° 48.32'N 76° 30.560'W.)
 If you want to stretch your legs on the Franklin Pt. State Park trails that follow the c. 1950 to 1988 Deep Creek Airpark runways, pull ashore at 38° 48.55'N 76° 30.63'W (125 yards north of the main creek junction.)

 Low Tide:  Deep Cove Creek, Deep Creek and Flag Pond are very shallow at the headwaters and pond entrances.  At times of low tide, tidal channels will be the only way through these areas.  If you run aground, use your paddle to push back the way you came (see Mud caution).     

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So long, Joe! Hello, Will!

paddleJoe Ports, who has served as the Riverkeeper’s Restoration Coordinator for the past three years, will be moving on at the end of July to join Anne Arundel County’s Watershed Protections and Restoration program. Will Saffell has joined the Riverkeeper staff to manage restoration projects.

“Joe’s presence on the Riverkeeper staff has helped transform the organization, added a new dimension and capabilities, and given us greater visibility and recognition in the community through the various projects that Joe has supervised,” said Riverkeeper Board Chairman John Wyss. “He’s been a great ambassador to the local schools and environmental groups.” 

Joe spent a lot of his childhood visiting with his grandparents on Middle River, where he developed a love for the Chesapeake Bay. He graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Environmental Science in 2011.

Joe started his work with the Riverkeeper in August of 2011 as a member of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps volunteer, thanks to a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. He proved his worth during that volunteer year, and was hired as Restoration Coordinator. He supervised the Riverkeeper’s water quality monitoring program and managed restoration projects like the horse pasture reforestation project at Camp Letts than won the Melanie Teems Award from the Chesapeake Bay Trust this year.

Will Saffell will be taking on Joe’s projects. Like Joe, Will worked with the Riverkeeper as a Chesapeake Conservation Corps volunteer program.

He graduated from Towson University with a bachelor's degree in both Biology and Environmental Science.

He will supervise the Riverkeeper’s water quality monitoring program and manage ongoing restoration projects like new stormwater treatment installations at the Avalon Shores Fire Station in Shady Side and the Holly Hill Harbor community in Edgewater, and a streambed restoration project on the upper reaches of the middle branch of Muddy Creek. When not working, Will enjoys kayaking, sailing, fishing, snowboarding, hiking, backpacking, traveling, and live music.

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Bay Survey

Please take 5 minutes for the Bay Survey

In partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Trust & OpinionWorks, the University of Maryland has launched The Bay Survey. 

This survey helps us understand how residents and businesses throughout the Chesapeake Bay area handle rainwater, vegetation, and other issues on their properties. 

Help out the West & Rhode Riverkeeper by filling out the survey online at www.baysurvey.org

Use the PIN: WRRK

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Franklin Point State Park clean-up

joeFranklin Point State Park clean-up

Saturday, July 25

9 a.m. - noon


Join our new corps of Franklin Point State Park volunteer rangers for this historic occasion as we set the stage to open this incredible 477-acre gem that's been locked behind a gate for the past two decades.


The West & Rhode Riverkeeper, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, will serve as the "Friends of Franklin Point State Park."


We need 15 stalwart volunteers to help pick up trash and debris -- be prepared for ticks and chiggers! We'll provide work gloves, snacks and beverages.


Please RSVP to  or call 410-867-7171 to let us know you're able to help out.  

If you can't make it, but you'd still like to help, click here.

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West & Rhode Riverkeeper offers FREE stand-up paddleboarding lessons

sup class

West & Rhode Riverkeeper offers FREE stand-up paddleboarding lessons

Enjoy a free beginner’s stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) session at Discovery Village in Shady Side from 6 – 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 9June 28, July 28 and August 25.

The free SUP sessions have a value of $35. A suggested donation of $10 will help the Riverkeeper keep the rivers swimmable, fishable, crabable and paddle-able. Space is limited to 8 paddlers each session. Reservations are required. Call 410-867-7171 or send a note to

The SUP sessions are provided by Chesapeake Paddle Sports founder Andrea Melbourne. Certified in Fitness Training, Yoga, Group Training and Paddling, Melbourne blends these complimentary skills with the growing demand for stand up paddleboarding fitness and training. More information on Andrea’s programs can be found at www.chesapeakepaddlesports.com.

This is a basic paddling technique class and the first step in learning proper technique. Learning proper technique is beneficial for many reasons including increased performance, preventing injury, making SUP a core workout and enhancing your enjoyment of SUP. During the hour lesson, students will learn proper paddling fundamentals in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

What to expect?

Andrea will lead drills to learn correct paddle height, hand position, stance and assess paddling technique. Learn the basic paddling strokes and skills. Students don’t move on to the next progression until they are comfortable with the current changes.

What is included?

The SUP Tech 1 Lesson includes the board rental, paddle, PFD, leash and guided instruction for technique. Enjoy a “Bonus” additional time to practice and tune the skills learned during the lesson with a one hour free rental paddle.

What to bring?

Wear comfortable clothing you can workout in and don’t mind getting wet. Water shoes are optional. Bring a towel, sunscreen and a water bottle.

What’ it cost?

Andrea is donating her services and the use of her equipment to benefit the West & Rhode Riverkeeper. This free session has a value of $35, but you’re welcome to give a $10 donation to help the Riverkeeper keep our rivers swimmable, fishable, crabable and paddle-able.


Discovery Village is located at 4800 Atwell Road in Shady Side, MD 20764.

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Thanks to you who gave greatly in the Great Give

hands2Thanks to you who gave greatly in the Great Give!


A total of 40 supporters gave a total of $5,445 in the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County's Great Give, more than FIVE TIMES last year's total.


All 10 of our Board of Directors participated in matching donations -- not dollar for dollar, but two dollars for every dollar donated.


We are building momentum in our efforts to make our rivers swimmable, fishable, crabable and kayakable.

Thanks for your support!

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Spring 2015 Call for Volunteers

wqvolThere are plenty of opportunities for you to roll up your sleeves and help us make the West & Rhode Rivers fishable and swimmable – not to mention crabable and kayakable.


We need help with events – the Ride for the Rivers on Saturday, May 9, and the RiverFest on Saturday, June 6. Contact our new Program Manager Eric Andersen at  or .


Project Clean Stream is on Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m. to noon.  Join us and bring your friends to continue our clean up a stream in our watershed.  There is a lot to do, but every little bit helps! Contact Restoration Coordinator Joe Ports at  or .


We’re always looking to build our corps of citizen scientists who conduct our water quality monitoring program every Wednesday morning from 8am to roughly 11am starting May 6.  This is a great way to get to know your rivers from a new perspective, not to mention start your mornings off with a relaxing boat ride with some fellow lovers of our rivers. If you're interested contact Restoration Coordinator, Joe Ports at  or .


Starting in June we hold free kayaking events on the first and third Thursdays of the month from 5:30pm to 30 minutes before sunset.  This year we will also offer basic kayaking lessons thanks to Kayak Instruction and Tours.  We would love to expand this fun and relaxing program and offer a kayaking event every week, but for that we need your help.  If you have experience kayaking and boating, particularly on the West River, and are interested in volunteering to work this event then please contact Restoration Coordinator, Joe Ports, at  or .  There is also an opportunity for high school aged students with no kayaking experience to help carry kayaks to and from the water, if you know anyone that would fit for this job then you may also contact Joe Ports.



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Riverkeeper projects at Camp Letts help restore Rhode River

West/Rhode Riverkeeper and Camp Letts initiative wins Chesapeake Bay Trust award

February 12, 2015
E.B. Furgurson III, The Capital

When Andrew Mason arrived to take the reins at YMCA Camp Letts two years ago, plans were already afoot to check serious runoff from the camp's horse enclosure into the Rhode River.


Mason said he wasn't totally sold on the idea until the West/Rhode Riverkeeper helped him understand the benefits of the project for both the river and the camp's grounds.


Soon he was on board, and the partnership did not stop there. Now, the fifth major restoration project at the YMCA camp — building an 850-foot living shoreline at the tip of the camp's property on the peninsula between Bear Neck and Sellman creeks — is about to get underway.

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Franklin Point: Opening soon

Parkland saved from developers will allow rare water access

February 11, 2015

E.B. Furgurson III, The Capital


Nearly 20 years ago, south county residents stopped a 156-home development from gobbling up 477 acres of nearly pristine wooded land off Deep Creek and its marshy confluence with the Chesapeake Bay.


Now Franklin Point State Park is nudging closer to opening up to the public for the first time since the Maryland Department of Natural Resources eventually acquired the property from the stymied developer in 1999.


It has taken cooperation between activists, the Maryland Park Service and West/Rhode Riverkeeper to get it done.




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