The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chapter (B-CC) was chartered on October 23, 1935 by the Izaak Walton League of America. The initial membership of 15 has grown to over 1000, making it one of the largest and most active of the IWLA's 600 plus chapters. Some of the current members of the B-CC Chapter are the third generation of their families to belong.
Lacking funds and formal facilities, the monthly chapter meetings in the early years were held in individual homes, borrowed meeting rooms, restaurants, etc. in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Maryland area.
In June of 1949 Chapter Member Royal Carlock was able to take advantage of a golden opportunity and purchase a 365-acre farm in Poolesville, Maryland, near the Potomac River and about 20 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. The farm was purchased from Mr. Carlock and became the Bethesda Chevy Chase Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America. It was at that time a badly depleted farm with limited access and little value for any other purpose. In late 1997 the 127-acre West Woods tract adjoining the original 366 acres was purchased, and in 2006 an additional 30-acres known as West Woods II was acquired. The funds enabling the purchase of all the land owned by B-CC IWLA were provided by donations from its membership. The West Woods tract is significant for many reasons. It includes unique shale habitats, supporting a complex of upland Triassic red shale communities that include forest, woodlands, and small barrens that support rare native plants. In October of 2010 the Chapter purchased 50 acres of hardwood forest north of the Boy Scout Woods adjacent to the north-eastern corner of the original farm. Then in September 2012 and additional 50 acres of woodlands north of the 2012 purchase were purchased, bringing the total size of the BCC land holdings to 623 acres.
The B-CC’s property, open to chapter members & their escorted guests, is a unique complex of habitats that includes two ponds and several seasonal streams, and woodlands in which more than a dozen rare and endangered plant species have been identified. It provides food and cover for upland wildlife native to Maryland forests including black bear, white-tail deer, red fox, raccoon, rabbits, and a myriad of reptiles, amphibians, insects and birds. It is contiguous to the 2000+ acre McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area, which in turn adjoins Seneca State Park, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and the Potomac River, providing a corridor for wildlife movement over a large area.
Conservation easements that are adjacent to one another and prevent further development include the B-CC IWLA farm of 623 acres, to the southeast the Willard farm of 294 acres, to the north the Morin farm of 315 acres, to the east the 500 acre property directly across from Izaak Walton Way, to the west a 30 acre conservation park owned by the county adjacent to West Woods II, and to the south the McKee-Besher’s 2000+ acre wildlife management area. The combined sum of these easements and management areas totaling over 3,700 acres provides continuous habitat for wildlife and an ecological gem for the resident’s of Montgomery County.
Our Chapter property has two ponds, stocked for fishing.
Hiking and Nature Trails
The BCC-IWLA Conservation farm has approximately 25 miles of hiking and nature trails that are accessible all months of the year.
Garden Plots are available on a first come first serve basis.
The Long-Range Plan for the Conservation Farm
B-CC IWLA Conservation Farm Guide Book
Chapter volunteers, in a multi-year effort, have compiled a conservation guide to the B-CC IWLA Conservation Farm that details the chapter's flora, fauna, habitats, and micro-environments.