Draft Legislation to Establish Chesapeake National Recreation Area Released

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, U.S. Representative John Sarbanes & Congressional Working Group Members Invite Public Comment

Annapolis, MD – At a press conference overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and Congressman John Sarbanes were joined by members of a congressional working group to announce draft legislation that would create a unified Chesapeake National Recreation Area (CNRA) and invite public comment.

State and local officials, economic leaders, watermen, advocates for conservation and others were on hand to share their support of the proposed CNRA which would be a land-based, 21st-century park, uniting new and existing National Park Service (NPS) sites and trails, as well as partner parks, to increase public access to the Chesapeake Bay and to create a national park worthy visitor experience for all to enjoy.

Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn issued the following statement celebrating this significant progress toward the CNRA.

“This is a great day for the Chesapeake Bay. Through national parks, monuments and recreation areas, the National Park Service recognizes and honors some of the most cherished landscapes in our nation.

“The Chesapeake Bay is just as spectacular as Yellowstone or Yosemite. It is as great as the Great Smoky Mountains and as grand as the Grand Tetons.

“A July 2022 public opinion poll showed profound support for National Park Service status for the Chesapeake, with 83% of Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC respondents in favor of establishing a Chesapeake National Recreation Area.

“The Chesapeake Bay, our nation’s largest estuary, is a national treasure. The Chesapeake is the birthplace of American identity and the landscape that bore witness to the many diverse people who have lived along its shores, including the Indigenous peoples who lived here for thousands of years before the Europeans arrived, free and enslaved Blacks, and the watermen and women who’ve all played a vital role in the story of our Chesapeake Bay. Their stories are worthy of National Park Service interpretation and education.

“Thank you to Senator Van Hollen and Representative Sarbanes for your support of the Chesapeake.

“On behalf of Chesapeake Conservancy, I’d like to thank the many supporters of our advocacy efforts for the CNRA including the TeraWulf Charitable Foundation, the Bay Bridge Run and the nearly 150 people who supported Chesapeake Conservancy’s team at the run yesterday.”