Chesapeake Conservancy Applauds Introduction of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network Reauthorization Act of 2019
Annapolis, MD – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and U.S. Representative John Sarbanes (D, MD-03) introduced the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network Reauthorization Act of 2019 to extend authorization for the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails program for an additional six years.
Original cosponsors include U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Mark Warner (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and U.S. Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA-3rd), Rob Wittman (R-VA-1st), Andy Harris (R-MD-1st), Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11th), Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7th), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD-2nd), Steny Hoyer (D-MD-5th), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10th), Anthony Brown (D-MD-4th), Jamie Raskin (D-MD-8th), David Trone (D-MD-6th), Donald McEachin (D-VA-4), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE-At Large), Elaine Luria (D-VA-2nd), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).
Established by Congress in 1998, the Chesapeake Bay Gateways program enhances conservation stewardship by connecting people with the Chesapeake Bay through outdoor recreation opportunities, exhibits and interpretive trail signage, and youth programs.
Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn issued a statement in support of the bill:
“We are grateful to Senator Cardin, Congressman Sarbanes, and the co-sponsors for reauthorizing the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails program for an additional six years. The Chesapeake Bay Gateways program creates and enhances outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities for the public, which is important because of the Chesapeake’s 12,000 miles of shorelines, only about 2 percent is publicly accessible.
“Since 2000, the Gateways program has allowed the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office to provide approximately $22 million in financial and technical assistance for more than 360 projects in communities in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, including 153 new public access sites.
“The program improves Bay access for everyone while fueling the growth of a thriving outdoor recreation industry across the Chesapeake states and Washington, D.C.
“Last year, for the first time, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released data detailing the economic power of the outdoor recreation industry on our nation’s economy. It showed that outdoor recreation spending comprises 2 percent ($373.7 billion) of the entire 2016 U.S. Gross Domestic Product.
“While strengthening the economy, the Chesapeake Gateways program helps ensure that people have public access to the Bay so that they can explore and fall in love it, creating the next generation of Chesapeake conservationists. We know that when people feel connected to the Bay, they’ll be more likely to help take care of it.”