Last weekend, I attended a special event at Hope House near Easton, MD, on the Chesapeake Bay. The house, a brick mansion built around 1800 and home to members of the Tilghman family, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It’s currently a 300-acre working farm with goats, sheep, and peacocks. Its owner, Peter Stifel, is a retired University of Maryland geologist. The event, hosted by the Old Growth Forest Network and the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy was to celebrate Stifel’s putting 80 acres of old forest under protection.
Photo of 2nd growth Bald Cypress trees and Queen Anne’s Lace in Delaware’s Trapp Pond State Park, southwest Sussex County. The 90-acre pond is one of the last surviving fragments of the Great Cypress Swamp that stretched across southern Delaware and Maryland. Lumbering — especially for the production of shingles — led to the deforestation of the old growth trees. The swamp was drained in the early 20th century to make it easier to get the wood. The dry soil was mostly peat, which caught fire in 1930 and burned for eight months. These trees represent the northernmost extensive natural stand of Bald Cypress on the East Coast.