• A kayaker paddles on the Patuxent River at the Jug Bay Natural Area. Photo by Middleton Evans.

    Captain John Smith Chesapeake

    National Historic Trail VA,MD,DE,DC,PA,NY

State of the Park

Progress on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail

This report provides a concise overview of the "state of the John Smith Trail" in 2013. It describes the status of continuing efforts to connect visitors with trail experiences, expand access to the trail, conserve landscapes that support visitor experiences and build partnerships for developing and managing the trail.

This report cannot hope to capture everything going on along a trail that extends from Norfolk, Virginia to Cooperstown, New York. But it does attempt to describe many of the important partnership efforts of the past several years--and their results. This includes trail-focused work being undertaken by many partners and the National Park Service.

Making the trail real is now the priority. The John Smith Trail is still very young, and its scope--made even larger in 2012 when expanded along the Susquehanna, Upper James, Chester and Upper Nanticoke rivers -- is vast. Full realization of the trail's vision will occur over many years, and at different rates in different segments. But, progress is being made, as described in this report. The "State of the Trail" is organized around four key strategies:

Connect people to trail experiences

Improve access to the trail

Conserve landscapes supporting visitor experiences

Build and sustain collaborative partnerships for the trail

In addition to describing our collective accomplishments, this report also identifies near-term opportunities for the NPS, the Advisory Council, and partners to continue to provide interpretative and educational programming, expand access to the trail, and protect resources over the next two years.

State of the John Smith Trail, December 2013 Report

Did You Know?

Submerged aquatic vegetation

In the 17th century, the Chesapeake Bay hosted hundreds of thousands of acres of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) beds filled with juvenile fish and abundant blue crabs. Today the disappearance of these beds is a sign of an ecosystem in serious decline. Today fewer than 75,000 acres remain.