The Friends of the John Smith Trail and Friends of Chesapeake Gateways Merge to form the Chesapeake Conservancy
The Friends of the John Smith Chesapeake Trail have merged with Friends of Chesapeake Gateways to form the Chesapeake Conservancy, an organization dedicated to promoting public access, land conservation, education and stewardship of the Chesapeake and its rivers. The Chesapeake Conservancy will build on the foundation laid by both Friends organizations to advance and implement the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail and the Chesapeake Gateways and Watertrails Network, and to create and implement a Chesapeake Treasured Landscape Initiative.
Filling an important niche in the Chesapeake’s recovery efforts, the Conservancy will serve as a strong advocate on issues of public access and land conservation watershed-wide. Working closely with government agencies and conservation groups, the Conservancy will help to coordinate conservation and public access priorities in the Chesapeake and advance those priorities through focused advocacy, policy development and a marshaling of public and private funding. The Conservancy will also work closely with the National Park Service, John Smith Trail partners and Gateway sites to connect the public to the Bay and to enhance recreation and tourism opportunities throughout the Chesapeake.
Since its forming a few years ago, the Friends of the John Smith Chesapeake Trail championed the creation of the nation’s first all water National Historic Trail. It has also attracted millions of dollars for conservation, public access and education in the Chesapeake Bay region in support of the Trail. The Friends recently established a consortium called the Partners for Chesapeake Treasured Landscapes with nearly 45 federal, state and local governments and nonprofit partners from across the watershed. This partnership will continue to be a priority of the Conservancy.
The Friends of Chesapeake Gateways have helped the Chesapeake Gateways and Watertrails Network expand to more than 170 sites watershed-wide. These sites are providing interpretation, education and public access to the Bay and its rivers for students and citizens alike.