The Conservation Innovation Center (CIC) was established in 2013 to use cutting-edge technology to empower data-driven conservation and restoration. Just as the use of technology changed the corporate world and made it more efficient, technology can do the same for the conservation movement. Through national and international partnerships, the CIC makes this data accessible for restoration professionals to practice precision conservation, yielding greater impact with less resources.
We Directly Support The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail

The Chesapeake Conservancy supports work beyond what the National Park Service could accomplish on its own, including: improving public access, supporting land conservation, conducting cultural research and environmental analysis, and providing outreach that enrich visitors’ experiences and create a sustainable future for the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“…The situation of the rivers are so propitious to the nature and use of man as no place is more convenient for pleasure, profit and man’s sustenance.”

– Captain John Smith, A Map of Virginia, 1612

Captain John Smith’s 1612 map, Virginia Discoverd & Discribed, even to the casual eye presents our earliest picture of the Chesapeake Bay with uncanny accuracy. But something else emerges. There are 27 “Maltese” crosses scattered over it right to left, top to bottom. Smith tells us in his map key: “Signification of these markes,/To the crosses hath bin discoverd/ what beyond is by relation.” His journal tells us the “markes” represent actual crosses left in those places during is exploration, either of brass or as a shape carved in tree bark. Captain John Smith historian Ed Haile, with former Conservancy Chairman Charlie Stek, put together a plan to restore the cross sites with stone markers right where Smith left the originals. Three were eliminated as mapped outside of Smith’s actual area of exploration, and not on the Bay, leaving a total of 24 in the marker project. Through the help of Ed and fellow project volunteer, Connie Lapallo, the Conservancy is working to mark each spot for modern day adventurers to visit using square granite pillars.  These will function to make the Trail more real for people and to enhance geocaching adventures.

Actual (red) and Proposed (black) locations: 24


Richmond – The Falls

Haxall Headgate Park, Tredegar Museum parking lot
Richmond, VA

37° 32’ 04.0” N x 77° 26’ 4.5” W


Moncuin Creek

Shoulder parking off Rt 618, Mount Pleasant Rd
King William County, VA

37° 42’ 44” N x 77° 08’ 45” W


Mattaponi River

Zoar State Park, off Rt 600, River Rd
King William County, VA
(Lower parking lot)

37° 48’ 32” N x 77° 07’ 19” W


Pamunkey River

North Bank of the Pamunkey River
One mile below canoe launch
King William County, VA

37° 42’ 04.7” N x 77° 14’ 21.2” W


Dragon Run

Parking off Rt 604, Birds Bridge Rd
King and Queen County, VA

37° 47’ 09.2” N x 76° 47’ 28.9” W


Nansemond River – Teracosick

Nansemond River Golf Club
1000 Hillpoint Boulevard
Suffolk, VA 23434
Overlooking 13th tee

36° 47’ 04.8” N x 76° 33’ 42.1” W



Sunnyside Road
Cape Charles, VA 23310

37° 17′ 00″ N x 75° 55′ 42″ W


Quantico – Burtons Mount


Aquia Creek


Fall Hill

River Friends Rd in the Friends of the Rappahannock parking lot
Fredericksburg, VA

38° 19’ 18.5” N x 77° 29’ 27.5” W


Belmont – Fredericksburg

Gari Melchers Home &
Falmouth, VA

38° 19’ 23.1” N x 77° 28’ 23.6” W



Ballentine Park
Norfolk, VA

36° 51’ 54” N x 76° 15’ 10” W


Upper Chippokes Creek


Appomattox River – Colonial Heights

Appamatuck Park
Colonial Heights, VA
Off Archer Ave on the river bank

37° 14’ 07.4” N x 77° 24’ 24.8” W


Smith’s Fort – Gray’s Creek 

Wooded bluff, north side of Gray’s Creek
Surry County, VA

37° 10’ 07” N x 76° 50’ 53” W


Pocomoke City – Wighcocomico River

Delmarva Discovery Center
2 Market St
Pocomoke City, MD 21851
Beside old Rt 13 Bridge

38° 04’ 36” N x 75° 34’ 14” W


Elkridge – Blands Conent

Patapsco Valley State Park Avalon Area
5120 South St
Halethorpe MD 21227
Overlooking Pavilion 105

39° 13’ 40.2″ N x 76° 43’ 46.7” W


Potomac River


Smiths Falls

Susquehanna State Park
Rock Run Grist Mill
4188 Wilkinson Rd
Havre De Grace, MD 21078

39° 36′ 30″ N x 76° 08′ 33″ W


North East – Gunters Harbour

39° 36’ 39” N x 75° 56’ 12” W


Tockwogh – Sassafras River

End of Shallcross Wharf Road
Kent County, MD

39° 21’ 53″ N x 75° 56’ 20” W


Bush River

39° 26’ 19” N x 76° 14’ 17” W


Nanticoke River
Mouth of Broad Creek/Nanticoke River

38° 34’ 17.5” N x 75° 40’ 41” W


Peregryn’s Mount – Iron Hill
Iron Hill Park
New Castle County, DE

39° 38’ 26” N x 75° 45’ 08” W

Project Volunteers

Ed Haile is a historian and poet, author of Jamestown Narratives and John Smith in the Chesapeake, and two historic Bay maps. He is our source for the Trail route and John Smith’s dates and itinerary. For some years now Ed has been doing his research on marker placements.

Connie Lapallo is an author, historian, and speaker. Her trilogy is based on the true story of Jamestown’s first women and children: Dark Enough to See the Stars in a Jamestown Sky (1592-1611), When the Moon Has No More Silver (1610-1620), and The Sun is But a Morning Star (1621-1652). Connie has told the Jamestown story to hundreds of audiences across the country.