Plan seeks to increase access to Chesapeake Bay

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A Chesapeake Bay Watershed Public Access Plan would increase public access by more than 20 percent by 2025.

“The very resource that means Chesapeake or Susquehanna or Potomac to the world has become one that is hard for many people to reach,” according to a statement by the Chesapeake Bay office of the National Park Service.

“Year after year, residents of the Chesapeake watershed repeat the refrain: Access to the water is too limited. Citizens want more places along the water where they can walk, sit, play, picnic, camp, swim, fish, watch wildlife and put in their canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, sailboats and powerboats. It is important to their quality of life.”

The strategy aims to increase public access to the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries by adding 300 new public access sites by 2025. It also calls for the National Park Service to work in conjunction with watershed states, including Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

There are 1,150 documented existing public access sites where people can launch boats, fish, swim or look out over the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

The highest demand for new public access sites is frequently concentrated in and around urban areas.

Significant stretches of shoreline have little or no access. For example, there is no public access for nearly 60 miles along the south side of the tidal James River.

Multiple studies and plans, including all state outdoor recreation plans, continue to document high public demand for additional access to streams, rivers and bays.

Boat-launching capacity is the most frequently suggested access type for these sites; 320 specific potential new sites have been identified by citizens for providing public access to the water. More than half of these sites are on publicly owned land.

The plan sets out a series of collaborative actions for moving access development forward and serves as a guide for prioritizing and allocating available funding efficiently.

Click here for the full study.


One comment on “Plan seeks to increase access to Chesapeake Bay

  1. john ennis

    I lived ,worked and played on the bay for 27 years during the early formation of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. One word of advice Proceed With Great Caution. The bay and many tributaries are still fighting pollution 90 percent of which is human caused..Without stringent regulations a big increase in human intrusion could undo decades of cleanup . This should not be allowed to turn into a battle of cash registers versus a healthy enviornment . Fish and other marine life don’t vote. Humans do and that is who politicians rely lie on not to have to find employment where they don’t prostitute themselves. Money usualy always wins. Proof is in the polluted water.

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