Saturday, February 10, 2024

Chesapeake Land Mark Burns

Just barely land, WBOC, Devastating Fire at Historic Fox Island Center

Nearly 100 years after it was first established, the Fox Island lodge and former education center between the Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds of the Chesapeake Bay has reportedly burned down. The island where the center was located sits just south of the Maryland-Virginia border off the Cedar Island State Wildlife Management Area south of Crisfield. 

Frank Pruitt, Crisfield Fire Department Chief, tells WBOC the building has burned down but no local fire departments were alerted Friday night. Crisfield has the closest fire boat in the area, according to Pruitt. “It’s very surprising,” Pruitt said.

The center first began as a hunting lodge in 1929. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation took ownership of the island and launched the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Fox Island Education Center in 1978. 

But the island and the Education Center would face a losing battle with rising waters in the Chesapeake. The Foundation bid farewell to the building in 2019 and ceased operations there, saying it would inevitably become unsafe conducting their education program at the Fox Island Center due to sea level rise and erosion. More than 70 percent of the island’s land area had washed away in the past 50 years the CBF said in their blog post in 2019.

“It’s hard to imagine CBF without it—Fox was our first residential education center,” the Chesapeake Bay Foundation said at the time.

The cause of the fire is currently unclear.

A Facebook video shows the center burning.  

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