Chesapeake Roving Ranger is Ready to Roll

A male ranger poses in a "Selfie" frame with young kids. Mobile van is in the background.
Ranger Josh and kids pose behind the Find Your Chesapeake photo frame. With the CAJO mobile interpretive center, the Roving Ranger, at the NanticokeFest on July 8, 2017.

NPS photo.

The National Park Service Chesapeake Bay and its principal partner, the Chesapeake Conservancy, have launched the Roving Ranger. This is a new mobile visitor center for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail (Chesapeake Trail). NPS and Conservancy staff will take the Roving Ranger to sites that partner with Chesapeake Trail and communities throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The Roving Ranger will help the NPS Chesapeake Bay to increase visitor contacts along the 3,000 mile trail route in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and the District of Columbia. The vehicle will provide many of the functions of a visitor center at a fraction of the cost of constructing a permanent facility. Families will be able to collect a National Park passport stamp, pick up a trail brochure and a Junior Ranger hat, participate in an interpretive ranger program, and learn about new experiences on the Chesapeake Trail.

By launching the Roving Ranger during National Park Week, NPS hopes to build engagement with new and current audiences during a time when America is celebrating national heritage places and discovering open spaces. “We’re excited to start connecting more people to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail,” said NPS Chesapeake Bay Superintendent Chuck Hunt. “The Roving Ranger gives our office a chance to partner with national, state, and local parks, public access sites, wildlife refuges and sanctuaries within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.”

The images depicted on the Roving Ranger represent various aspects of the Chesapeake Bay: the Bay’s natural world, recreational experiences, and indigenous cultural landscapes, with photos by Dave Harp Photography, the Chesapeake Bay Program, and US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Presquile National Wildlife Refuge. The vehicle wrap was designed by the Henley Company and fabricated by Severn Graphics.

“We're taking the low cost concepts of the food truck phenomenon to accomplish the NPS mission,” says Joel Dunn, president of the Chesapeake Conservancy. “With this mobile visitor center we're able to meet people where they are and reach diverse communities with the hopes of fostering a new sense of stewardship and a desire to take care of our natural, historical, and cultural resources that make the region so unique.

NPS Chesapeake's Roving Ranger is happy to partner with other national parks in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. If you have an idea for an event, contact Kate Marks Hardy at kate_marks@nps.gov.