Constellation Temporarily Closes Hiking Trails Near Fisherman's Park To Help Prevent Spread of Avian Flu

Contact: Dave Marcheskie, David.Marcheskie@constellation.com

Constellation is committed to being a responsible environmental steward of our many recreational sites and we care about the health and safety of our visitors -- as operator of the Conowingo Dam, Maryland’s largest source of clean, renewable energy.

Constellation, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the US Department of Agriculture have collected more than one hundred black vulture carcasses on Constellation property near the entrance of Fishermen’s Park since mid-April. Most were located near the first guard shack entering Fisherman’s Park Parking Lot on Shure’s Landing Road, also near the trailhead to the Mason Dixon Trail. No dead birds have been found near the fishing wharf or Conowingo Dam.

Several of these birds were tested by Maryland Department of Natural Resources and were confirmed to have the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza (HPAI). Constellation is working in close coordination with state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Maryland Department of Environment, Maryland Department of Agriculture and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to protect the public, and wild and domestic birds in the area, including the area’s beloved eagles.

Although Fisherman’s Park remains open, to help prevent HPAI spread we have temporarily closed the Mason Dixon trail from Fisherman’s Park to Shuresville Road (including the gravel parking area adjacent to the trail at Fisherman’s Park), and the Shure’s Landing Wildflower Trail (also known as the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenways Trail). Black vultures have been observed at these locations and these temporary closures are intended to help reduce HPAI spread from shoes that could come into contact with bodily fluids or droppings from diseased black vultures.

Wild birds can be infected with HPAI and show no signs of illness. Because they may not show signs, the public should avoid contact with birds, especially dead birds or birds that are acting erratically.

We are following safety protocols that are intended to assist with preventing further HPAI spread. We will reopen these sites when it is prudent to do so.


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