The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and is one of the most biologically rich and productive water bodies in the world. It has been formally recognized by the National Park Service as nationally significant and has been called a national treasure by both Republican and Democratic US presidents. The Chesapeake Bay is also the focus of one of the largest environmental restoration efforts in the world. Yet unlike other major landscapes in the United States, the Chesapeake Bay does not have a National Park System unit dedicated to the Chesapeake Bay itself.
Established as an official unit of the National Park System, a Chesapeake National Recreation Area would elevate the Chesapeake Bay and bring additional national and international recognition. More importantly, it would bring greater expertise and resources of the National Park Service, the world’s leading park agency, to the Chesapeake Bay and establish more points of public access to the Chesapeake Bay.
Some national recreation areas offer partnership models for how the Chesapeake National Recreation Area can work with already existing public lands to enhance protection and facilitate recreation on Chesapeake landscapes.