|Gateways Network Adds Four New Sites for Experiencing the Chesapeake|
Patapsco State Park, B&A; Trail, Parkers Creek, Great Bridge Lock Join 124 other sites in Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network
Annapolis, MD (11/05/03) - Four new Chesapeake Bay Gateways were announced today during a meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, a system of more than 100 special places where people can experience and learn about the Chesapeake Bay. Three of the new Gateways are in Maryland – Patapsco Valley State Park, the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail and Parkers Creek Watershed Nature Preserve. The fourth is Great Bridge Lock Park in Virginia. They bring the total number of parks, refuges, historic ports, museums and trails in the Network to 127.
The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network is a partnership system of sites, trails and water trails around the Bay watershed. Each of these “Bay Gateways” tells a part of the multi-faceted Chesapeake story. Together, as the Gateways Network, they provide a way for people to experience and understand the Bay as a whole.
Patapsco Valley State Park stretches along more than twenty miles of the Patapsco River, which flows into the Chesapeake at Baltimore. The park’s 16,000 acres traverse a historic stream valley that was once a hub of development and industrial activity. Today, park visitors explore the valley along 170 miles of walking, horseback riding and biking trails.
The B&A; Trail follows the route of the former Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad. Today, travelers along the 13.3-mile trail can go to or from Annapolis and its many sites by bike or foot. The trail passes through scenic open space, woodlands, pastures, wetlands and a number of historic features interspersed with business centers and communities.Parkers Creek is often described as the last pristine Chesapeake Bay tributary on Maryland’s western shore. The 3,000-acre Parkers Creek Watershed Nature Preserve, managed by the American Chestnut Land Trust, conserves the lands surrounding the creek. With 14 miles of trails, visitors can view cliffs, woodlands, farm fields, wetlands, an extensive salt marshland beach, and a variety of historic structures.
Located at the extreme southern end of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, Great Bridge Lock Park encompasses 19 scenic acres along the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal. As part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, the park is truly a southern Gateway to the Bay, the point where thousands of boats enter the Elizabeth River and the Chesapeake system from North Carolina.
“We are very pleased to designate these special places as Chesapeake Bay Gateways,” said Jonathan Doherty, National Park Service Director for the Gateways Network. “At each site, visitors can experience a different part of the Chesapeake story. By enjoying all Gateways, we recognize the enduring importance of the Chesapeake Bay and the great rivers flowing into it.”
Today, the Gateways Network includes 24 state parks, 9 units of the National Park System, 5 National Wildlife Refuges, 16 museums, an Indian reservation, 17 water trails, and a number of other types of sites.
While Gateways are managed by a variety of different organizations, the overall Network is coordinated jointly by the National Park Service and the Chesapeake Bay Program. The Bay Program, a partnership of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, the Bay Commission and the Federal government, works to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
A Map & Guide to the Gateways Network is available to help visitors explore Gateways to the Chesapeake Bay. It is available free of charge at most Gateway sites, as well as in many state welcome centers in Maryland and Virginia. To order a copy by phone, call toll-free, either: 1-866-BAY-WAYS (1-866-229-9297) in Maryland or 1-888-824-5877 in Virginia.