|Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network provides grants to four Baltimore landmarks|
Local Gateways to receive more than $328,000 to develop trails, enhance lighthouse and improve educational programs
Baltimore, MD (09/19/05) - The National Park Service has awarded four Baltimore landmarks Chesapeake Bay Gateways matching grants to develop and enhance water and land trails and create new and expanded interpretive and educational programs.
The Parks & People Foundation has received a $112,000 matching grant to enhance the Gwynns Falls Trail and Greenway. Project partners also include the Gwynns Falls Trail Council and Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks. The urban greenway winds through 14 mostly forested miles of Baltimore, directly connecting 30 densely populated urban neighborhoods with the natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay. Building on projects developed under an earlier Gateways grant, the Foundation will create 15 new wayside panels interpreting historical and environmental themes and add 11 orientation panels at existing kiosks and three new kiosks. The grant also continues an oral history project and builds a volunteer stewardship program designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the trail.
Baltimore Maritime Museum has received a $107,000 matching grant to enhance the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse. The oldest of screw-pile lighthouses on the Bay, Seven Foot Knoll now stands on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and will mark its 150th birthday in 2006. By adopting a comprehensive new approach to interpretation and completing some essential preservation work, the Baltimore Maritime Museum will give lighthouse visitors a fuller sense of the historic role Seven Foot Knoll played as a symbol of long-awaited arrival to immigrants and ships entering the country through Baltimore. In addition, the new interpretive approach will establish this lighthouse as a central interpretive hub in a popular, easily accessible location for information about the history and cultural importance of lighthouses all around the Chesapeake Bay.
The National Aquarium in Baltimore has received two matching grants totaling $83,437 to develop new water and land trails at Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge. The Aquarium, in partnership with the Friends of Eastern Neck and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, will enhance public access and interpretation at the 2,300-acre Refuge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Signs and a printed map and guide will help paddlers to follow a new 10-mile-long water trail past restored wetlands, historic sites, and multiple access points. A new interpretive walking trail will lead from the Refuge’s Visitor Center, which hosts 15,000 visitors annually, through Bayscaping and forest restoration sites to a tidal marsh.
USS Constellation Museum has received a $25,101 matching grant to create a short video on the USS Constellation’s history, directly tied to the military and maritime heritage of the Chesapeake. The new orientation film developed under this grant will be shown on a screen mounted on the outside of the museum's building, visible to millions of passersby annually in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Five to seven minutes long, it will provide a dynamic historical overview of the story of the last all-sail warship constructed by the U.S. Navy. Built in the Chesapeake at the Gosport Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth Virginia, Constellation served as flagship of a naval squadron patrolling against illegal slave traders in the 1850s, was flagship of the Mediterranean Squadron during the Civil War and, after the war, served through 1893 as the primary training vessel for midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
“For the first time, more than 140 sites are linked in a joint effort to communicate the values of the Chesapeake,” said Gateways Network Director Jonathan Doherty. “These grants help Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network sites enhance the public’s ability to learn and enjoy the Bay’s stories and significance, explore its treasures, and ultimately become involved in helping conserve and restore the Bay and its rivers.”
This year, the National Park Service is awarding $1.59 million in Chesapeake Bay Gateways grant funding, matched by an equal amount in partner contributions. A total of twenty-eight grants are being awarded for projects at designated Gateways around the Chesapeake watershed. “This program has been extremely popular in opening up new opportunities to enhance public awareness and involvement in our on-going efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay,” said US Senator Paul S. Sarbanes (MD). “Each Gateway site tells a different Bay story, and enables people to better understand and appreciate the Chesapeake Bay and all it has to offer. In addition, these grants will help local communities and organizations improve desperately needed public access to the Bay and its waterways, and help to boost the economic activity generated by tourism and recreation within the watershed.”
“The Chesapeake Gateways Program gives the National Park Service an opportunity to tell the story of the Bay in a way that is appealing and accessible to the public,” said US Representative Benjamin L. Cardin. “Today’s grants to the USS Constellation, the Gwynns Falls Trail, 7 Foot Knoll Lighthouse, and the Aquarium will create new experiences for people to observe the grandeur of our greatest natural resource, the Chesapeake Bay.”