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Welcome to the Estuary Center

As one of the facilities of Harford County Department of Parks and Recreation, our mission is to increase awareness, understanding, and appreciation of estuarine ecosystems through research, monitoring, and education.

We are one of the few remaining large freshwater tidal marshes in the upper Chesapeake Bay accessible to the public. Otter Point Creek is a shallow tributary located at the headwaters of the Bush River in southern Harford County, MD. The Otter Point Creek Component consists of two land areas (Leight Park and the Melvin G. Bosely Conservancy) connected by 261 acres of shallow open water. Leight Park is 93 forested acres owned by Harford County Parks and Recreation and home to the Estuary Center. The Bosely Conservancy is 350 acres of tidal marsh and wooded wetlands owned by the Izaak Walton League of America - Harford County Chapter.

Through our partnerships with Harford County and the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (CBNERR), we offer public, private/group, and school (including home school) programs. Program activities include canoeing, kayaking, pontoon boating, crafts, hiking, education, animal encounters, and research.

Join us and see what you can discover at the Estuary Center!


Click here for online registration.

Construction Hat

Parking Lot Closed

Please Pardon our Mess!

Beginning Monday, June 26, the Estuary Center parking lot will be undergoing a long awaited and much needed construction project to improve stormwater management and repair surfaces.

During construction the main parking lot will be closed to all visitors. Alternate parking areas are available at 618 Otter Point Road, just past the entrance to the park and on the right, and at the Overflow Lot on Otter Point Road, prior to the main entrance.

Both lots will be signed, and both lots are accessible from the Center via foot trail. Should any of our visitors need assistance to access the Center, please call 410-612-1688 to arrange a staff assisted shuttle.

Programs will continue at the Center during construction. Construction is anticipated to continue through October 20.

From Temporary Lot #1 the Estuary Center is a 1/4 mile hike through the woods.

From Temporary Lot #2 the Estuary Center is about a 500 ft. walk over gravel, asphalt, and 20 ft. of trail surface.

Call the Center at 410-612-1688 if you need a shuttle from either lot.


Did you know the Estuary Center and Otter Point Creek have been designated as a Maryland Natural Area. What is a Maryland Natural Area? Click here to find out!


Donate to the ACLEC Environmental Scholarship Fund and encourage environmental education!

Download the Summer 2017 Otter's Tale Newsletter



Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.


eco friendly parties click here


OPCA is a non-profit organization
which supports all the great opportunities and programs at the Estuary Center. Find out more click here.

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Anita C. Leight Estuary Center / 700 Otter Point Road, Abingdon MD 21009 / 410-612-1688