Public access to the Chesapeake Bay is often frustratingly difficult for people who want to launch a kayak or simply step into the water.
To help alleviate that frustration in the future, the National Park Service is seeking public input about potential new sites for boat ramps, fishing piers or even places where people can simply enjoy wildlife along the Bay and its tributaries. It is accepting suggestions through a web-based interactive mapping tool which is available for use through December 1.
The map is already populated with known existing public access points along with previous suggestions made by people during similar nomination periods in 2011 and 2012.
The web tool allows users to search for specific places; view a street or aerial map; and mark points or river stretches where there are gaps in access, or opportunities for new access sites. The online tool can be found here.
Earlier this year, the Park Service released The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Public Access Plan which identified 1,150 existing public access sites, but confirmed that there were many areas in the region where access to the water was poor, or lacking altogether.
The plan was produced in response to the 2010 federal Chesapeake Bay strategy developed in response to President Obama's Chesapeake Executive Order. That strategy called for adding 300 new public access sites by 2025, or an average of about 20 per year.
You can read the Bay Journal article about the strategy here.