Six new sites recently joined the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, giving visitors opportunities to learn more about Bay topics as diverse as African American maritime history and cutting-edge scientific research.

The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network is a partnership system of more than 150 refuges, historic ports, museums and trails around the Bay watershed. Each tells a part of the multifaceted Chesapeake story. Together, they provide a way to experience and understand the Bay as a whole.

The new sites are:

  • Frederick Douglas-Issac Myers Maritime Park, located on Chase’s Wharf in Baltimore’s historic waterfront. The park, which honors the lives and contributions of African Americans to the city’s maritime history, culture and economy, tells the story of the first black-owned shipyard in the United States—the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company—through interactive exhibits. For information, visit
  • Mount Harmon Plantation in Earleville, MD, the northernmost colonial plantation open to the public in the region. Noted on early maps as “World’s End,” the plantation is restored to the period of 1760–1810. Visitors learn how the plantation served as a port of trade for the evolving settlements in the watershed. For information, visit
  • Myrtle Point Park in California, MD, a 192-acre park on the western shore of the Patuxent River, about five miles from the river’s confluence with the Bay. The park has a pristine shoreline, wetlands, salt ponds and archeological sites. For information, visit
  • The Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge north of Warsaw, VA, which was established in 1996 to conserve fish and wildlife habitat along the river. While most of the refuge is left in its wild state, grassland areas are intensively managed to improve the diversity of habitats. The Wilna Pond area is open from sunrise to sunset daily. For information, visit
  • The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, MD, the world’s leading research center for the environmental studies of the coastal zone. It conducts long-term descriptive and experimental research addressing such issues as the effects of nutrients and chemicals passing through landscapes and the protection of fragile wetlands and woodlands. The center has two, 1.5-mile trails open to the public 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily and offers a variety of talks and tours on Saturdays. For information, visit
  • The Steamboat Era Museum in Irvington, VA, which honors the steamboats that plied the Chesapeake and its tributaries. An exhibit, “Bay at War,” which examines the effects of the Civil War on the Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula and Eastern Shore, will run through 2006. The museum is open Thursday through Sunday. For information, visit

Authorized by Congress in 1998 and created in 2000, the Gateways Network is coordinated by the National Park Service to inspire public appreciation of the Bay as a national treasure and to foster Chesapeake stewardship.

The network connects visitors with the Bay and its rivers through a system of parks, wildlife refuges, museums, sailing ships, historic communities, trails and more.

These sites are the special places where visitors can experience the authentic Chesapeake—its spectacular natural areas, its unique contributions to U.S. history and its maritime heritage.

For information about other sites in the network, visit