|National Park Service Releases Draft Chesapeake Bay Study|
Comments Sought on Possible Bay Park Unit Concepts
Annapolis, MD (06/26/03) - The National Park Service (NPS) today released a draft study outlining options for how the Chesapeake Bay might be represented within the National Park System. A two-month public review period for the draft study report will continue through August.
The “Chesapeake Bay Special Resource Study,” requested by Congress, explores whether creating a unit of the National Park System focusing on the Chesapeake would meet NPS criteria and assist on-going efforts to celebrate and conserve the nation’s largest estuary.
With 388 parks and other sites, the National Park System represents a broad cross-section of the nation’s heritage, including many of America’s most treasured places. The Chesapeake Bay is widely regarded as a resource of tremendous ecological, historic and economic significance.
Drawing on comments from public meetings held last fall, the draft study outlines five specific alternatives for how the National Park Service might contribute to celebrating and conserving the Chesapeake Bay. The alternatives range from simply continuing current NPS roles to several concepts for different types of national parks focusing on different aspects of the Bay. Each alternative is conceptual, however; no locations are currently proposed for the park concepts.
The National Park Service is seeking comments and suggestions on the alternatives outlined in the study. Comments can be submitted through the internet, by mail or at one of a series of open houses in July. The open houses allow people to drop by at any time during open hours and view exhibits on the alternatives, fill out comment forms or talk with NPS staff. Open houses are being held:
Directions to open houses and copies of the draft study and an executive summary are available from the study web site www.chesapeakestudy.org. Copies may also be ordered by calling 800-YOUR-BAY (968-7229).
“We really want to hear what all those with an interest in the Chesapeake Bay have to think of these alternatives,” said NPS study leader Jonathan Doherty. “The Bay is a very special place. The question is whether these alternatives adequately and appropriately reflect the Chesapeake’s important role in the nation’s story. We need people to voice their opinions.”
The public comment period ends August 29, 2003. Comments and suggestions will be used to produce a final study report, expected to be completed in the fall. NPS will present the final report to the Secretary of the Interior for submission to Congress. Moving forward with any recommendation would require legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President.