Youth Conservation/Service Corps and Community Outreach


Swallow Falls Trails and Muddy Creek Falls Overlook - Maryland

Swallow Falls' meandering trails guide hikers to some of the most breath-taking scenery in Western Maryland.

Swallow Falls State Park is home to the oldest grove of white pine and eastern hemlock in Maryland, with some trees over 360 years of age. The area is most noted for Muddy Creek Falls; at 53 feet it is the tallest single-drop waterfall in Maryland.

The trail to Swallow Falls and the Muddy Creek Falls Overlook is a very well used trail and utilized $10,900 of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) dollars in 2004 for the purposes of several needed improvements.

In order to make these improvements, the Park enlisted the support of The Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC). The MCC is a highly effective, statewide partnership between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps.

The improvements consisted of three projects:

  • New steps were constructed from just below the trailhead to the location of the Upper Swallow Falls. These steps clearly designate the trail, keeping hikers on the trail, make the journey up and down the slope easier and channel water away from the trail, preventing erosion.
  • The stairway at the Muddy Creek Falls was replaced, providing safer and easier access between the top and bottom of the 53 foot high falls.
  • Installation of a new overlook at Muddy Creek Falls that is accessible to persons with disabilities and provides clear unobstructed views of the falls.

MCC completed the trail work in 2005 and continues to enhance and improve the trail work as part of their experience. The MCC has earned the reputation of being Maryland's premier environmental youth service program.

More winners of this award

2023: Statewide Conservation Trails Crew

2021: Evans Creek ORV Area

2020: Monadnock Trail Improvement Project

2019: Lassen Peak Trail

2018: Pole Mountain Trails - Wyoming

2017: Arizona Conservation Corps Mogollon Rim Ancestral Lands Trail Crew - Arizona

2016: Rock Creek Park Bridge Project - District of Columbia

2016: Utah Conservation Corps Bike Crew - Utah

2015: Iowa DNR Americorps Trail Crew - Iowa

2014: Alaska Trails Mobile Tool Trailers

2013: Leicester Hollow Loop Trail - Vermont

2012: Mount Yale Trail Realignment - Colorado

2011: Anchorage Hillside Singletrack Trail System - Alaska

2010: Hyde Park Heritage Greenway - New York

2009: North Bend Lake Equestrian Trail - West Virginia

2007: Continental Divide Trail Alliance Youth Corps

2005: Superior Hiking Trail - Minnesota

2004: North Fork I and II Trail Projects - Oregon

2003: North Fork Boise River Trail Rehabilitation - Idaho