Fran Uhler Natural Area
The Fran Uhler Natural Area borders the Patuxent River and the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWC). It is named for legendary wildlife biologist Francis Uhler, who worked at PWRC for many years and gifted the money used to purchase the property, then an abandoned quarry and farmstead, by PG County. A road parallels the MARC rail line on one side, with trails branching off. Across the RR lies another, state-owned, property – the Fran Uhler Natural Environmental Area, which can be accessed by the road as it passes under RR bridge over the river. Across the river lies the vast North Tract of the PWRC. The original Lemon Br Rd turns in the other direction and come eventually to the pilings for the old Lemon’s Bridge over the river. Much of the terrain is marked by ridges and hollows reflecting earlier land use. Most is wooded, while open areas remain under a power line. Forest succession is taking place.
This property has indeed become “natural”, the more so since it surrounded by other natural areas; it is unpatrolled, and subject to severe flooding after spring rains. It may be advisable at such times to call the number below to inquire about current conditions. A port-a-potty is sporadically available.
Spring migration can be very good, especially along the road, and also on trails to a wetland area. Both Woodcock and even Whip-poor-wills can be heard in spring, the latter sometimes carried over from the North Tract – a remnant breeding area. Fall migration can be active or quiet. Breeding birds include Wood Duck, Wild Turkey, Barred Owl, Brown Creeper (some years), Prairie Warbler. In season, winter finches may occur.