Partner collaboration is fundamental to the work of the National Park Service in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Everything we do -- interpretation and education, youth engagement, conservation, improving public access -- is achieved with others.
Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network (CBGN) is an extensive partnership network of 172 parks, wildlife refuges, historic sites, museums, communities, water and land trails, and other places throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed that connect people with the authentic Chesapeake. The National Park Service coordinates CBGN and helps the designated Gateways provide interpretation, education, and access to Chesapeake Bay places and stories.
National historic trails are partnership endeavors, spanning vast distances and involving many different jurisdictions and organizations. The National Park Service Chesapeake Bay office manages a national historic trail in collaboration with many partners:
The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail commemorates the voyages of Captain John Smith and his crew as they explored the Chesapeake Bay between 1607 and 1609. The more than 2,000-mile trail was established in 2006 as part of the National Trails System and became America's first national water trail. Managed by the National Park Service, the trail traces Smith's routes and the key rivers linked to them, helping visitors imagine the world he encountered more than four hundred years ago. Modern-day explorers travel the trail on land and water, enjoying a variety of recreational experiences at places reminiscent of the Bay in the seventeenth century. The trail is a touchstone of the nation's past, but also a means to experience the Chesapeake's natural beauty and to learn from American Indians who continue to live in the region today. The Advisory Council for the trail, with representatives from federal and state agencies, tribes, and Bay-related organizations, assists the National Park Service in development and implementation of the trail.
An early partner supporting the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay is the Chesapeake Conservancy in Annapolis, MD. A close partnership with the Conservancy advances the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network, the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, large landscape conservation, and heritage tourism development.
The National Park Service Chesapeake Bay office leads a partnership of state, local, and non-profit organizations providing youth with employment skills and outdoor experiences. The Chesapeake Youth Corps Network (CYC) benefits from a team of NPS interns, accomplishing projects connected to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail and the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network. In addition to trail development, the youth learn employment skills, enjoy outdoor recreation, and work on Chesapeake environmental issues.
Landscape conservation partners work with the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay on several initiatives to strengthen the network of partners and accomplish more good work together than would be done separately. Read about our collaborative work throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed here.
Improving public access to the Chesapeake Bay and rivers is an important goal to helping citizens and visitors enjoy opportunities at the water's edge. A partnership of representatives from each watershed state and the District of Columbia are working together to expand public access with 300 additional sites by the year 2025. Read about the partnership work here.