Maryland Area Information
Maryland Area Information
Maryland possesses a great variety of topography, hence its nickname, "America in Miniature." It ranges from sandy dunes dotted with seagrass in the east, to low marshlands teeming with wildlife and large bald cypress near the bay, to gently rolling hills of oak forest in the Piedmont Region, and pine groves in the mountains to the west.
Tidal wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay, largest estuary in the United States and the largest physical feature in Maryland.
Maryland is bounded on the north by Pennsylvania, on the west by West Virginia, on the east by Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean, and on the south, across the Potomac River, by West Virginia and Virginia. The mid-portion of this border is interrupted on the Maryland side by Washington, DC, which sits on land that was originally part of Maryland. The Chesapeake Bay nearly bisects the state, and the counties east of the bay are known collectively as the Eastern Shore. Most of the state's waterways are part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, with the exceptions of a portion of Garrett County (drained by the Youghiogheny River as part of the watershed of the Mississippi River), the eastern half of Worcester County (which drains into Maryland's Atlantic coastal bays), and a small portion of the state's northeast corner (which drains into the Delaware River watershed). So prominent is the Chesapeake in Maryland's geography and economic life that there has been periodic agitation to change the state's official nickname to the "Bay State," a name currently used by Massachusetts.
The highest point in Maryland is Hoye Crest on Backbone Mountain, in the southwest corner of Garrett County, near the border with West Virginia and near the headwaters of the North Branch of the Potomac River. One of Maryland's ski areas, Wisp, is located close to Backbone Mountain. Close to the small town of Hancock, in western Maryland, about two-thirds of the way across the state, there is only about 1 mile (2 km) between its borders. This geographical curiosity makes Maryland the narrowest state, bordered by the Mason-Dixon Line to the north, and the north-arching Potomac River to the south.
Portions of Maryland are included in various official and unofficial geographic regions. For example, the Delmarva Peninsula comprises the Eastern Shore counties of Maryland, the entire State of Delaware, and the two counties that make up the Eastern Shore of Virginia, while the westernmost counties of Maryland are considered part of Appalachia. Much of the Baltimoreâ€“Washington corridor lies just south of the Piedmont in the Coastal Plain, though it straddles the border between the two regions.
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