Scope and Purpose
The sense of place that evolves from outdoor experiences along the waters of the Bay region often leads to a feeling of shared responsibility for the resources. People who enjoy the outdoors are more likely to become active citizen stewards, engaged in the many conservation and stewardship efforts taking place throughout the region. Despite this, physical access to the Bay and its tributaries—the very resources that form the basis for the Chesapeake’s unique identity—is limited. This has real consequences for quality of life, for the economy, and for long-term conservation.
In 2010, the Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, issued in response to President Obama’s Executive Order 13508, calls for “expanding public access to the Bay and its tributaries through existing and new local, state and federal parks, refuges, reserves, trails and partner sites.” It includes a key outcome to increase public access to the Bay and its tributaries by adding 300 new public access sites by 2025.
In 2014, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement was signed. The Agreement reaffirmed and the public access goal and outcome contained in the Executive Order Strategy and included the identical goal and outcome commitment to increase public access by 300 sites by 2015.
The Public Access Planning Action Team supports the implementation of the Agreement and Executive Order public access goal and outcome. This team, coordinated by the National Park Service, includes representation from federal, state, local, and non-profit partners responsible for and committed to public access development.