Chesapeake Conservancy Applauds Federal Funding For Captain John Smith Trail in Virginia
Following House & Senate Votes, Federal Budget Includes $6 Million for Land Preservation along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
Annapolis, MD – Today, the Chesapeake Conservancy applauded Congress for including $6 million in the Omnibus Spending Bill for fiscal year 2015 for land conservation along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail in Virginia.
“The Chesapeake Conservancy is grateful for the bipartisan support of the Virginia congressional delegation, particularly U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and U.S. Representatives Rob Wittman and James Moran, said Joel Dunn, the Conservancy’s Executive Director. “We also want to applaud Governor McAuliffe for his outstanding leadership to advocate for this funding with the delegation. The funds will protect culturally and naturally significant land and scenic views along the John Smith Trail for future generations to enjoy.”
Four million dollars will support collaborative efforts of the National Park Service to conserve historic lands tied to Captain John Smith’s explorations of the Chesapeake and the American Indian communities living along Virginia rivers at the time.
Funds will also go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conserve important lands within the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Established to conserve and protect fish and wildlife resources, this Refuge is home to the largest concentration of eagles on the East Coast and a globally significant Important Bird Area. Areas within the Refuge also have a rich cultural history, remain important to the Rappahannock Tribe, and are evocative of Captain Smith’s time.
The Omnibus Spending Bill dedicates this funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Created by Congress in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) provides money to federal, state, and local governments to purchase land, water, and wetlands for the benefit of all Americans.
Just as the Appalachian National Scenic Trail has provided the means for protecting a connected corridor of land through the mountain landscape, the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail can serve as a framework for landscape-scale conservation throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
About the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail:
The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail commemorates the voyages of Captain John Smith and his crew as they explored the Chesapeake Bay between 1607 and 1609. The more than 2,000-mile trail was established in 2006 as part of the National Trails System and became America’s first national water trail. The trail traces Smith’s routes and the key rivers linked to them, helping visitors imagine the world he encountered more than four hundred years ago. Modern-day explorers travel the trail on land and water, enjoying a variety of recreational experiences at places reminiscent of the Bay in the seventeenth century. The trail is a touchstone for the nation’s past, but also a means to experience the Chesapeake’s natural beauty and to learn from American Indians who continue to live in the region today. To learn more about touring the trail, visit www.SmithTrail.net, and download the trail’s mobile app at www.ChesapeakeExplorerApp.com.