[photo, Great Blue Heron, College Creek, Annapolis, Maryland] For any state, bays and rivers obviously are significant. In Maryland, however, creeks too become especially important for some are the size of rivers. More notably, these tributaries contribute to the geographic and geologic consistency of the Chesapeake Bay, and are equally effected in return.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), College Creek, Annapolis (Anne Arundel County), Maryland, July 2010. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

[photo, Little Hunting Creek, Thurmont, Maryland] By definition, a creek is a natural stream of water, normally smaller than, and often tributary to a river. Often, creek waters flow directly into Chesapeake Bay, or merge with other Bay tributaries, such as the Patapsco, the Patuxent, and the Potomac rivers.

Little Hunting Creek, Thurmont (Frederick County), Maryland, January 2006. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

[photo, Antietam Creek, Antietam National Battlefield (Washington County), Maryland] Maryland possesses one of the most notable creeks in the nation - Antietam Creek. There, during the Civil War, on September 17, 1862, after twelve hours of fighting along its banks, approximately 23,000 soldiers were dead, wounded, or missing - the single bloodiest day of battle in American history.

Antietam Creek, Antietam National Battlefield (Washington County), Maryland, October 2012. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

[photo, Waterfall on Long Green Creek, Glen Arm, Baltimore County, Maryland] Today, Maryland's creeks predominately are used for recreation, though some have been transformed into nature reserves. Recreational creeks may be found within national, State, and local parks. Chicamuxen Creek in Queen Anne's County, and Tuckahoe Creek in Talbot County, for example, both are located in State parks, while Antietam Creek passes through Antietam National Battlefield Park.

Waterfall on Long Green Creek, Glen Arm (Baltimore County), Maryland, April 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

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