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Home > The Gateways Network > Joining the Network > Types and Characteristics of Gateways
Types and Characteristics of Gateways

Gateways are added to the Network through a nomination/designation process. While Gateways represent diverse themes, places and institutions, they are categorized in four types by the function they perform. Two of these Gateway types - Gateway sites and water trails & other connections - can be designated throughout the Bay watershed. Two other types - Regional Information Centers and Hubs - are currently limited to the tidal reaches of the Bay area, below the "fall line". Each of these Gateway types have key characteristics or criteria. Nominations for new Gateways are reviewed for how well these characteristics are met.

Gateway Sites:
Gateway sites are primary destinations where people can access, experience, learn about, and contribute to specific Bay-related natural, cultural, historic or recreational resources. They might be parks, wildlife refuges, historic sites, museums or other places representing the diversity of the Bay. In addition to providing a Bay-related experience, sites offer opportunities for volunteers to help restore or conserve Bay resources, and emphasize stewardship of the resources at the site. Sites are open to the public for the maximum number of days per week feasible, given seasonal visitation patterns and operational limitations, but must be publicly accessible at least four days per week, including at least one weekend day, during their high visitation season.

Water Trails, Land Trails and Other Connections:
Water trails, land trails and other connections link Gateways through a network of boating, hiking, walking, biking or driving routes that explore the Bay area below the fall line, as well as rivers of the Bay watershed. Connecting routes foster appropriate public access to, and interpretation of, the natural, cultural, historical and recreational resources along the route. Trails and water trails emphasize low-impact use and offer opportunities for volunteers to help restore or conserve Bay resources. Key public access points along the trail or water trail must be open to the public for the maximum number of days per week feasible, given seasonal visitation patterns and operational limitations, but must be publicly accessible at least four days per week, including at least one weekend day, during their high visitation season.

Regional Information Centers:
Regional Information Centers orient people to the Gateways within a particular region below the fall line, introducing visitors to, and helping them access, Bay-related resources. Regional information centers have facilities for providing orientation and interpretive information generally 8 hours per day, 7 days per week, year around, with some seasonal variation. They are distinguished from hubs by their: primary focus on orienting people to a particular region, location in smaller communities providing visitor services for part of a region, greater number and broader distribution area.

Gateway Hubs:
Hubs are centers for introducing Bay-wide themes and orienting people to the entire Gateways Network. While hubs are sometimes thought of as whole communities, in practice, they focus on a specified hub facility that provides interpretive and orientation information to visitors; there may be a number of other Gateway sites or connecting routes in the immediate area. Hub facilities are open 8 hours per day, year around. Only six to eight hubs are anticipated in the entire Network, with one, or in a few cases two, per region, all below the fall line. Hubs are distinguished from regional information centers, by their: additional interpretive media, Network-wide focus, location where a large number visitors are concentrated near a cluster of Bay resources, and proximity to the Bay itself.


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