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Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve Least tern eggs
© DCR-DNH, Rebecca Wilson

Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve

LOCALITY
OWNER
ACRES
ACCESS
NEWS
Mathews DCR 105 Yes

SITE DESCRIPTION:

Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve contains sandy shoreline, low dune, and salt marsh habitats. Wind and water move sand creating an ever changing habitat on the narrow beach. Portions of the shoreline, especially the sand spit at the southern end of the preserve, are constantly being shaped by storms and strong lower Chesapeake Bay currents. Over the course of a season, islands can be created and reabsorbed and different maritime landforms, like low overwash flats and shallow channels, appear and disappear. Rare marsh and colonial nesting birds as well as the globally rare northeastern beach tiger beetle (Cicindela dorsalis dorsalis) and a globally rare beach plant, sea-beach knotweed (Polygonum glaucum), are protected on the property.

VISITATION:
Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve is open to the public. Facilities are limited to a gravel parking area; there are no restrooms or trash receptacles so please plan your trip accordingly. Dogs must be on-leash while at the preserve. The preserve supports pristine sandy shorelines that provide habitat for the federally threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle and nesting sites for rare shore birds. To protect these species and their significant habitats, designated sections of preserve shorelines may be closed during specific periods of the year to both land (walking) and water (boat landing) access. Thank you for your help in conserving some of Virginia's rarest wildlife by observing the posted seasonal closings of designated shorelines.

A preserve guide factsheet and map are available to assist in planning your visit. You will need the Adobe Acrobat reader to view and or print this factsheet.

Click here for a list of birds seen on the preserve

CONTACT:
Zach Bradford, Chesapeake Bay Region Steward
Department of Conservation and Recreation
Division of Natural Heritage
Richmond, VA (804)-225-2303.