The Potomac is often seen as the boundary that divides Maryland and Virginia, but both states have come together to develop a new 100-mile water trail that runs from Great Falls upstream of Washington to the Chesapeake Bay.
The two states have teamed up to produce a packaged set of six maps that will guide boaters down the river and provide information about attractions along the way, such as the homes of George Washington and Robert E. Lee, wildlife refuges, state parks and other natural, historical and cultural sites.
The maps also include the location of services, such as boat ramps, fuel, pumpouts, campgrounds, overnight accommodations and restrooms. The development of the maps was supported by both states and a grant from the National Park Service’s Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.
It’s not only one of the longest water trails in the region, it’s also one of the first in the nation to be jointly developed by two states.
“People have talked about this for a long time,” said David Brickley, director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. “I like to canoe and kayak, and we’ve got others who feel the same way, so Virginia and Maryland decided to go ahead and put this together.”
The full-color maps are among the first water trail guides to include Global Positioning System information on access sites. They also include boating safety tips and emergency phone numbers.
Officials hope that this water trail and others will promote tourism and foster a greater appreciation of the natural resources people encounter along the river.
The Potomac River has long been a source for outstanding recreational opportunities,” said Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening. “These maps serve as fantastic tools to encourage more people to experience the river and the region’s natural resources firsthand.”
Planners from the DCR and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources met with local government officials, chambers of commerce and others to develop the trail’s concept and gather details for the guide.
The trail will also help to meet a Chesapeake 2000 Agreement goal to increase the number of water trails in the watershed 500 miles by 2005.
The map package can be purchased for $5 at Virginia and Maryland state parks along the Potomac River. They can also be ordered by calling the DCR reservation center at 1-800-933-PARK, or the Maryland Greenway Commission at 410- 260-8780. Handling and postage will be charged for maps ordered by phone. For information, visit the DCR web site at www.dcr.state.va.us , the DNR web site at www.dnr.state.md.us, or the Gateways Network web site, www.baygateways.net