A network of Chesapeake boaters, small businesses, civic groups, local governments, non-profit organizations, paddlers, and recreational enthusiasts recently launched a new “Freedom to Float” campaign. The initiative seeks to expand access for recreation while preserving the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The campaign coincides with the National Park Service’s release of its Chesapeake Bay Watershed Access Plan, which provides a blueprint for public access along all of the waterways in the Chesapeake.
“The Chesapeake watershed is home to iconic historical and natural treasures, but long stretches of the thousands of miles of shoreline are inaccessible,” said Ed Stierli, spokesman for the National Parks Conservation Association. “Connecting communities with nature and expanding access will help protect our lands and waters for healthy outdoor recreation including boating, fishing, hiking, camping, and birding.”
President Obama issued an Executive Order in May 2009 calling for the creation of 300 new public access sites in the Chesapeake by 2025. “Freedom to Float” will promote and build additional multiple-use access sites that will enable new and diverse communities to enjoy the natural wonders of the Chesapeake.
Recreation and tourism in the Chesapeake fuels the region’s economy. National parks in the Chesapeake recorded over 54 million visitors in 2010, which contributed to over $1.5 billion in spending and supported over 20,000 jobs.
Partners will be working together to expand access in diverse communities. The group is seeking volunteers to take part in on-the-ground access site construction, conservation volunteer events, and in advocacy on the local, state, and national levels for policies to promote access.
For more information for how to get involved and take action, visit: www.freedomtofloat.org.
“Freedom to Float” partners include the Anacostia Watershed Society, Baltimore City Parks and Recreation, Chesapeake Conservancy, Chesapeake Paddlers Association, James River Association, National Parks Conservation Association, Potomac Conservancy, and Potomac Riverkeeper.
Learn more about “Freedom to Float” partners at:
source: National Parks Conservation Association