The National Park Service, in March, added 19 sites to the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, which now includes more than 60 members. The network strives to create a broader commitment to Bay restoration and conservation efforts by highlighting various aspects of the Chesapeake’s natural, cultural and historical heritage. The new sites are:
- Reedville Fisherman’s Museum preserves the heritage of watermen and highlights the menhaden fishery which made Reedville a major commercial port.
- From the Watermen’s Museum, working watermen can still be seen on the York River. Their story is told through tools, boat models and historic photos.
- At Jamestown Island, see a re-creation of a Powhatan Indian village and the first permanent English colony in America. Climb aboard re-creations of the ships that brought the colonists here and tour the museum to learn more about their life in the early 1600s.
- The York River Water Trail covers the York, Mattaponi and Pamunkey rivers. The marsh and woodland along these rivers are home to a variety of wildlife. Two Native American tribes maintain reservations here.
- The Norfolk Waterway Trail System will develop access to 38 miles of rivers and creeks along Norfolk’s natural and manmade waterfront.
- At the Yorktown Visitor Center & Battlefield, visitors can explore the scene of the 1781 Siege of Yorktown, where warships fought after the French Navy blockaded the mouth of the Bay to isolate British troops in this final battle of the American Revolutionary War.
- Walk the Town of Cape Charles Historic District to see dozens of restored late-Victorian and turn-of-the-century homes, or enjoy its beautiful Chesapeake beach and year-round art and music events.
- The Pamunkey Indian Reservation, in King William County, operates a fish hatchery which sustains the annual run of shad on the Pamunkey River. A museum highlights the Tribe’s culture over the past 12,000 years.
- Gloucester Point Park, on the York River, offers a sandy beach, free public fishing pier and two boat ramps. A full-service visitor center is open seasonally.
- Susquehanna State Park is set in a heavily forested valley with 15 miles of hiking trails. Among its historic structures is the Jersey Tollhouse, a mansion built in 1804 and now the park’s visitor center. A boat ramp also provides year-round access to excellent fishing.
- Point Lookout State Park was once a Civil War prison camp, but now offers a variety of recreational opportunities where the Potomac River meets the Bay.
- Historic Annapolis Seaport, once a bustling international port, hosts two of the largest boat shows in the world. Walking tours of the Historic District often begin or end at City Dock.
- Gunpowder Falls State Park covers 18,000 acres in Harford and Baltimore Counties. The Hammerman area has beaches on the river and a marina with boat rentals and launch facilities. Other activities include fly fishing, horseback riding and hiking.
- Terrapin Park is located north of the Kent Island terminus of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. A trail and boardwalk with observation blinds offer excellent bird watching.
- The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science-Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, a research and graduate teaching facility, welcomes the public to its visitor center. Exhibits focus on Bay ecological research conducted at the lab.
- The Pride of Baltimore, the only existing reproduction of an 1812-era privateer, is also the only mobile site of the Gateways Network, bringing a piece of the Chesapeake to the world.
- Baltimore Maritime Museum-Lightship Chesapeake & Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse are historic examples of lighted navigation aids used in the Bay. Both are located at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
- Pickering Creek Audubon Center, a sanctuary, invites the public to enjoy its nature trails and special programs on the history, ecology and culture of the Bay.
- Adkins Arboretum, a 400-acre preserve on the Eastern Shore’s Tuckahoe Creek, has miles of trails featuring native Delmarva flora. It also sponsors art exhibits, lectures, workshops, nature walks and garden tours.
Nominations for Gateways sites are reviewed on a monthly basis by the National Park Service and a working group established by the Chesapeake Bay Program. Additional Gateways will be added in coming months and a map and guide will be published later this year.
For information about the network, including all of the Gateways sites or how to participate, visit its web site at http://www.baygateways.net