The Sassafras River
The Sassafras River rises in western Delaware and flows westerly to the Chesapeake Bay, forming the natural boundary between Cecil and Kent Counties, Maryland. The Sassafras is tidal for the majority of its approximately 20-mile length and is fresh to slightly brackish. The watershed comprises an area of 97.2 square miles, 75.5 of which is land.
The Sassafras flows through an historic area of Maryland. Two of the three towns on the river are Georgetown and Fredericktown built along facing shores of the river. The two towns were named for the first two sons of King George III, the English monarch during the American Revolution.
During the War of 1812, a small fleet of English ships led by Rear Admiral George Cockburn sailed up the Sassafras. On May 5th and 6th of 1813, the English burned Georgetown and Fredericktown. Today, the two towns again face each other across the picturesque Sassafras River.
Often described in boater’s magazines as “one of the most beautiful rivers on the Chesapeake Bay,” the Sassafras has been spared the large-scale development that has plagued so many localities. It remains a largely rural area, with landscapes of farm fields and forests predominating.
The Sassafras Watershed Action Plan (SWAP) guides our work to protect and restore the Sassafras River.
To help us protect and restore the Sassafras River, please consider becoming a member of ShoreRivers, volunteering, and taking actions to help improve water quality.