Skip to content

Former Bay Club Golf Course to Become Public Nature Preserve

Carl M. Freeman Companies parts with 673 acres of land for reforestation with native trees.

BERLIN, Md. – Part of the Carl M. Freeman Companies’ philosophy has always been to create places that enrich lives. For that reason, the company is excited to announce that 673 acres that make up the former Bay Club and an adjacent farm, formerly considered for commercial and residential redevelopment by Carl M. Freeman Companies, will be transferred to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for use as public green space.
Plans include removing the structures and golf cart paths from the Bay Club site, formerly a 36-hole golf course. The property, which sits just west of the Berlin town limits, will be managed by the Maryland Forest Service and Chesapeake Forest Lands.
“We are always hyper-focused on quality of life for the people in and around our communities, and we’re delighted to make it possible for the residents of Berlin, Worcester County and the state of Maryland enjoy this unique natural asset,” says Michelle Freeman, CEO of Carl M. Freeman Companies. “CMFC has a solid, verifiable history of being outstanding stewards of the environment. We are consistently working with many different preservation groups such as the Center for the Inland Bays and Sussex County Land Trust and have preserved hundreds of acres of wetlands over the years, “ says Freeman. “This is going to be something families in the Berlin and Ocean City areas will enjoy for years to come, with an opportunity to immerse themselves into nature.”
“We’re excited to be able to participate in this significant contribution to Berlin’s greenbelt,” says Jeff Evans, director of marketing for Carl M. Freeman Companies. “It’s always our priority to provide outdoor recreation in all our communities and helping the town of Berlin and Worcester County create a new area for outdoor recreation has been exceptionally rewarding.
Once opened to the public, the new nature area will be one of just a few on the Delmarva peninsula and the closest inland preserve to the Ocean City area. The Maryland Board of Public works, which recommended the sale’s approval, has said the land, a mix of forests, fields and the former golf club fairways, will be reforested with native trees to “maximize hunting and other recreational activities while protecting water quality.” Plans for the site include nature walking trails, hunting, forestry and potential equestrian trails, the agency says.

Carl M. Freeman Companies has chosen not to develop the 673 acre former Bay Club golf course and instead, transfer the land to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for use as public nature area.

According to the Urban Lands Institute, shared public spaces that allow equitable access for residents have a direct positive impact on human health. The sale of The Bay Club property ensures the everyone in Berlin and Worcester County will be able to enjoy the natural wonders of the lower Eastern Shore.
Freeman originally purchased The Bay Club and the adjacent farm in the late 1990s. The transfer of the property began in fall of 2020 and was facilitated by the Lower Shore Land Trust, which works to establish conservation easements along the southern end of Maryland’s Eastern Shore and help landowners preserve property from future development.
Evans says once demolition of the old golf paths and club structures is complete, he anticipates the nature preserve will be open to the public sometime in 2022.

About The Carl M. Freeman Companies
Carl M. Freeman Companies designs and creates venues that enrich lives through innovative and inviting places to live, work, shop and play. Since 1947, the company has developed and managed more than five million square feet of commercial space for shopping center and office use, servicing more than 1.1 million square feet of retail; built award-winning beach-front and golf course communities, and developed more than 20,000 homes in 50 residential communities across Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia.