A chain of three islands totaling 108 acres on the Potomac River is listing for $174,900. (Drew Mackintosh)

Owning an island — or three — on the Potomac River sounds like an experience reserved for the wealthiest among us, but for $174,900 you can own more than 108 acres on the Potomac River near the C&O Canal in Washington County, Md.

While this chain of three islands does not offer a view of the capital’s monuments, you can see plenty of willow and sycamore trees, mallard ducks, blue heron and Canadian geese. The islands have sandy beaches and can be used for camping, boating, fishing, hunting and just enjoying nature.

Owner Peter Mertz, who lives in Colorado, says the earliest record he could find for the islands is an April 22, 1887, “Land and Water” patent for the 108-acre property, most of which is underwater. Mertz purchased the islands in 1986 when he was a 27-year-old reporter for a Hagerstown television station. He says he used the islands as a destination to take friends, and to fish, camp and be alone in nature.

“Nighttime there in the summer is very interesting,” Mertz says. “You’re in the middle of a big river and the sounds of wildlife engulf you from all sides, especially the sound of rushing water.”

Mertz initially tried to solicit interest in the islands with the Nature Conservancy, but says that when he didn’t get a response he decided to sell the property.

Owners will need a boat to access their islands, which are near Dam #5 and accessible from either the Maryland or West Virginia shoreline. While owners won’t be able to build anything permanent on the land since the islands are 100 percent within the floodplain, Mertz says, “There’s nothing quite like owning your own island. There are only a handful of privately owned islands in the entire Potomac River.”

For information, contact real estate agent Buzz Mackintosh of Mackintosh Inc. Realtors at 240-529-0176.

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