Chesapeake Bay Watershed Public Access Plan

January 2013 | National Park Service | Chesapeake Bay Office

The Chesapeake Bay and the major rivers are the region’s ecological and cultural lifeblood. They are the primary features that have shaped human habitation for millennia.

The very resource that means Chesapeake or Susquehanna or Potomac to the world has become one that is hard for many people to reach. Year after year, residents of the Chesapeake watershed repeat the refrain: access to the water is too limited. Citizens want more places along the water where they can walk, sit, play, picnic, camp, swim, fish, watch wildlife and put in their canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, sailboats and powerboats. It is important to their quality of life.

This Chesapeake Watershed Public Access Plan responds to this need. The plan is a product of the Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, developed in response to Executive Order 13508.  The strategy aims to increase public access to the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries by adding 300 new public access sites by 2025. It calls for the National Park Service in conjunction with watershed states to “develop a public access plan to inform and guide expansion of Chesapeake watershed public access.” This plan serves that purpose.

The plan was produced by a Public Access Action Team, which includes people involved in public access planning and implementation in each of the Chesapeake watershed states and the District of Columbia and the National Park Service. The plan:

Questions about the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Public Access Plan can be directed to John Davy.