The Nature Conservancy

Furnace Town is bordered on the east by a portion of The Nassawango Preserve of The Nature Conservancy. In the 1980's the Conservancy developed the Paul Leifer Nature Trail, a one-mile walking trail skirting the Nassawango Swamp and in places crossing the swamp with a series of boardwalks. A section of the trail is on the towpath that bordered the Canal used during the time of the Furnace. Volunteers from The Nassawango Stewardship Committee maintain the trail.

Furnace Town is situated in the middle of the Pocomoke Forest and Nassawango Cypress Swamp. A wide diversity of flora and fauna thrive all around us. Many unique species can be found within our borders including the Pink Lady Slipper Orchid and Black Squirrel. Birders from all over the world make Furnace Town a pit stop for the varieties of birds seen and heard here: the Pileated Woodpecker, the Barred Owl, Prothonotary Warbler, Yellow Billed Cuckoo, Hawks, Eagles, and so many more! If you like reptiles (and who doesn't) we have Box Turtles, Black Snakes, and one of our favorites the Skink (Lizard). All of these can also be seen from the water. We are close to the canoe/kayak launch to the Nassawango Creek, which connects to the Pocomoke River.


Nassawango Creek Preserve is located in the middle reaches of the Pocomoke River watershed. At over 10,000 acres and nearly 18 miles in length (straddling Worcester and Wicomico Counties) it is Maryland's largest privately held nature preserve and encompasses a wide array of natural communities.

From the tidal freshwater marsh and wooded swamp at the confluence with the Pocomoke River to the perennial stream(s) which make up its headwaters, Nassawango Creek is unique for the diversity and abundance of species within its watershed.

Our conservation planning and sound science are determinates for land protection, habitat restoration and eco-system management that first and foremost benefit those natural community types we seek to protect, and also provide for sustainable economic use to benefit the local community.

Winding 18 miles in a northerly direction from the Pocomoke River, The Nassawango Preserve, now over 10,000 acres and straddles Worcester and Wicomico counties. The Nassawango/ Pocomoke watersheds are home to one of the northern most bald cypress bottomland swamps in the Nation. This area has been described as being the northern extension of the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina and Virginia and has many similar habitats. This, coupled with the fact that the preserve is the northern and southern limits of many species, makes this especially rich ecologically. At last count there are over 20 species of warblers and many other neo-tropical migrants nesting and 90 species of rare and endangered plants and animals that call this preserve home. Habitat types vary widely, including cypress/gum swamps, stands of Atlantic white cedar, open bogs populated with pitcher plant and the rare grass pink orchid. The constant that flows through the preserve is the clear, sweet "blackwater", rich with tannic acid.


On December 29, 1978 E. Stanton Adkins helped launch The Nature Conservancy's Nassawango Creek Preserve with his gift of 154 acres of land along Nassawango Creek. Then on June 8, 1979 the first meeting of the volunteer Nassawango Stewardship Committee was held to assist in the management of the fledgling preserve. Today the Stewardship Committee still serves as the frontline in maintaining the 10,000 plus acre Nassawango Creek Preserve and is one of the oldest committees in all The Nature Conservancy properties throughout the world! The Nassawango Stewardship Committee welcomes new volunteers. If you would like to be a part of this dynamic and important committee please contact:

Joe Fehrer; TNC Preserve Manager, by calling 410-632-4761

George Parker; Stewardship Committee Chairman, by calling 757-787-1162

Please visit The Nature Conservancy for more information.