Free National Trails Day Events on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail

Annapolis, MD – The National Park Service Chesapeake Bay office and Chesapeake Conservancy are pleased to support events along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail on National Trails Day and Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week.

Each year, on the first Saturday in June, the American Hiking Society celebrates trails in America and encourages people to experience the great outdoors on trails with friends and family. Events are sponsored by local organizations, state parks, and national trails. These events are family-friendly, and provide excellent introductions to anyone who might like to try a fun new trail activity.

John Smith Chesapeake Trail staff and the Chesapeake Conservancy are supporting six events at partner sites in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Most events are guided trips on the water, and some are hiking and biking activities. Some of the paddling trips are provided at no cost to participants, honoring the National Park Service Centennial goal to help create and connect with the next generation of park visitors and supporters.

“National Trails Day is a great way to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors,” Joel Dunn, president and CEO of Chesapeake Conservancy, said. “The John Smith Chesapeake Trail provides an opportunity to connect with the natural beauty as well as the rich history and culture of the Chesapeake. When people visit places along the trail, they fall in love with the Chesapeake and they want to protect it. Our hope is that they will then vote for it, donate money to conserve it, and even dedicate their careers to it.”

Below is a brief description of National Trails Day events on the John Smith Chesapeake Trail:

  • Captain John Smith Paddling Adventure at Caledon State Park: Enjoy a guided paddling trip to explore tidal wetlands on the Potomac River. FREE event.
  • Captain John Smith Paddling Adventure at Belle Isle State Park: Explore Mulberry Creek and the Rappahannock River by canoe in this guided paddling trip. FREE event.
  • Paddling Adventure with Chesapeake Experience: Take a guided paddling trip on Powhatan Creek and learn about Captain John Smith’s explorations 400 years ago on the James River. FREE event.
  • Paddle or Hike at Piscataway Park: Take a guided kayak tour with the Piscataway Conoy Tribe and see this significant landscape through Piscataway eyes. Learn to geocache or choose a guided hike along the shoreline of this Potomac River park.
  • Sailing Adventure at Sandy Point State Park:Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating welcomes mobility impaired people to have a sailing adventure with volunteer sailboat captains on the John Smith Chesapeake Trail. FREE event.
  • National Trails Day Celebration on the Susquehanna: Run, walk, hike, or bike along the lower portion of the North West River Trail in Lancaster County PA. FREE event.

“We hope families take advantage of these opportunities to get out on the water or hike along a river,” Superintendent Chuck Hunt of the National Park Service said. “A guided trip on the John  Smith Chesapeake Trail is a terrific – and unplugged – family experience. The National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday this year and we urge you to get out there and find your park.”

Coinciding with National Trails Day, the legislatures of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia have designatedJune 4 – 12, 2016 as the first annual Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week. Residents and visitors to these Bay states are encouraged to take part in the events that have been designed to recognize the rich history, pivotal economic importance, and astounding beauty of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

For complete details about National Trails Day events on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, visit the events calendar on