Formerly the Woodmont Rod & Gun Club property, the 3,425-acre Woodmont Natural Resource Management Area near Hancock offers opportunities for hiking, hunting, mountain biking, bird watching, and horseback riding. 2,000 acres are open year round and an additional 1,400 acres are open seasonally.
About the Owner
Organized in 1870 as a premiere hunting club, Woodmont was in continuous operation for almost 125 years. The original owners of the property were wealthy and influential businessmen from Washington who enjoyed the abundant opportunities to pursue wild game. Woodmont Rod and Gun Club was formed shortly after the purchase of the land. Woodmont continued to be a retreat for the powerful men of Washington, DC for many years until the clubhouse and all its records burned in 1903. Following this incident, the original club dissolved and they decided to sell the land.
In 1908, Henry Bridges, a lawyer and successful businessman from Hancock, organized a group of wealthy friends who were sportsmen, and purchased the land. The club became “The Woodmont Rod and Gun Club of Baltimore City,” and Henry Bridges became the secretary-treasurer. In its first year, a clubhouse was built under Bridge’s direction. In 1930, this building was replaced by a massive three-story fieldstone structure still in use today. Massive beams, wood paneling and floors, and huge stone fireplaces formed an appropriate background for more than six-hundred game trophies around the building. The upstairs held numerous bedrooms for members to use during their visits. Great leather chairs, bear skin rugs, and photographs of special guests did and still do fill the rooms today.
Henry Bridges created a wildlife haven at Woodmont. Bridges started a wild turkey breeding program, using the old clubhouse as the center of operations. In addition to turkeys, Bridges imported large white-tailed deer from Michigan to breed with the smaller, resident deer. This produced a larger, Woodmont variety, which stayed primarily within the confines of the Woodmont preserve because of a nine foot high fence erected around the preserve.