Path Winds Through Leonardtown Campus Woods

College of Southern Maryland President Dr. Maureen Murphy welcomes guests to the Leonardtown Campus trail, saying, “Today we celebrate a year’s worth of hard work and the people who have helped to make this trail new again.”

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) today celebrated the opening of a renovated Nature and Fitness Trail on the college’s Leonardtown Campus. The trail is open to the community and is intended for both educational and recreational use.

The trail is less than half a mile and was created before CSM purchased the campus property in 1997. The year-long renovation of the trail included widening and clearing the path, rebuilding two bridges over a creek, landscaping, signage for the trail and tree identification.

“The nature trail is truly an asset for the Leonardtown Campus,” said CSM Vice President Dr. Tracy Harris, who initiated the renovation project. “I saw the restoration of the trail as a learning lab environment where we could highlight the beauty and benefits of the trail by providing interpretive signage and markers for enhanced learning opportunities for our biology faculty, staff and students, as well as environmentalist conscientious enthusiasts.”

The college’s Wellness staff was also enthusiastic about the opportunity to expand the campus’ fitness options, Harris said.

Describing the restored Leonardtown Nature and Fitness Trail as both “a work in progress” and “labor of love,” CSM Vice President Dr. Tracy Harris, who initiated the renovation project, thanks Dominion Cove Point for its corporate stewardship and partnership.

The trail is located on the college’s Leonardtown Campus, behind the Wellness and Aquatics Center. New ivory and green signs point visitors to the trailhead. The wide, mulched trail winds through a forested area on the campus, crossing a creek created by runoff from the Town Run Stream, up and down some hilly areas and includes views of massive, old trees and plenty of native flora.

“This campus trail is covered with beautiful trees, streams and wildlife, which I believe we have a duty to preserve and protect,” Harris said. “The goal of the project was to create an environmentally safe and healthy nature trail that enhances the learning opportunities for CSM and the community.”

Multiple community partnerships assisted the renovation project, led by Dominion Energy, which provided a $10,000 grant for the project. “Dominion Energy is committed to supporting environmental stewardship and education, which are both embodied in this nature trail and outdoor lab,” said Mike Frederick, vice president – LNG Operations at Dominion Energy Cove Point. “The opportunity to explore a watershed stream environment will benefit not only CSM students but also the local community.”

“Supporting this trail is one of the many ways we like to help; we are helping you [CSM] help the community,” said Dominion Cove Point Media/Community Manager Karl Neddenien

Other major partners include Program Director for the Natural Resources Management Program at the Dr. Forrest Career and Technical Center John Spinicchia, Director of Environmental Planning and Conservation at Naval Air Station Patuxent River Kyle Rambo, Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust Director Frank Allen, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Dave Gailey, Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust Board of Trustees Business Manager Bob Boxwell and CSM Biology Professor Tracey Stuller.

The July 2 ceremony officially opened the CSM Nature and Fitness Trail with CSM Board of Trustee Chair Ted Harwood, Vice Chair Brad Bates, Leonardtown Mayor Dan Burris and CSM staff and faculty joining the ribbon cutting and walking the trail.

The trail will be open for college and community use from dawn to dusk. No golf carts, all-terrain vehicles or bicycles are allowed on the trail and pets need to be on a leash.

“There is much anticipation from the CSM community and the Town of Leonardtown for the opening of this trail,” Harris said. “The nature trail provides a scenic, tranquil view of nature in Southern Maryland and the opportunity to learn and invest in our environment.”

Below is a list of trees and other natural foliage currently identified on the trail.

NameLatin Name
Ostrya VirginianaOstrya Virginiana
Black CherryPrunus Serotina
Willow OakQuercus Phellos
Red MapleAcer Rubrum
Paw PawAsimina Triloba
Northern Red OakQuercus Rubra
Hackberry TreeCeltis Occidentalis
Flowering DogwoodCornus Florida
The Yellow Popular TreeLiriodendron tulipifera
White OakQuercus Alba
Pignut HickoryCarya Glabra
Blackgum TreeNyssa Sylvatica
American SycamorePlantous Occidentalis
American BeechFagus Grandifolia
Princess TreePaulowina Tomentosa
Ironwood American SycamorePlatanus occidentalis
HophornbeamOstrya Virginiana
SpicebushLindera Benzoin
Eastern Red CedarJuniperus Virginiana
American ElmUlmus Americana
SweetgumLiquidambar styraciflua
Tulip PoplarLiriodendron tulipifera
Green AshFraxinus
Poison IvyToxicodendron
Eastern Black WalnutJuglans nigra
HophornbeamOstrya virginiana
Pecan ** at entrance to LEONCarya illinoinensis
American SycamorePlatanus occidentalis
SweetgumLiquidambar styraciflua
Red MapleAcer rubrum
Black locustRobinia pseudoacacia
Tree of HeavenAilanthus altissima
Black WalnutJuglans nigra

The ribbon is officially cut thanks to the many supporters and community groups that joined CSM to revive and renew the Leonardtown Nature and Fitness Trail

For information on other ways CSM is pursuing environmental sustainability, visit

View additional photos from today’s ribbon cutting and reopening of the Leonardtown Nature and Fitness Trail