The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network is a partnership between parks, refuges, museums, historic sites, and water trails to create a network spanning the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. The partnership is coordinated by the National Park Service. The park service also manages ten of the sites within the network. The partners work together to help people understand the importance of the Bay and all the areas that feed into the watershed. Through education and exploration we learn how our actions, even in areas that seem far from the Bay, can contribute to a healthy and vital ecosystem.
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in North America, and has great influence on the Atlantic seaboard. The Bay stretches 180 miles from Southern Virginia to Northern Maryland, over 12,000 miles of shoreline, and a 64,000 square mile watershed that stretches across the Mid-Atlantic coast. The Bay and its watershed span three states—Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania—and the District of Columbia. Today more than 16 million people live in the Bay region creating development pressures that are threatening the health of the Bay.
The Bay is a tidal basin, a region where ocean water mixes with fresh water. It supports over 3,600 species of plants and animals and is the source for oysters, crabs, clams, and other seafood for the eastern seaboard.
The Bay offers many recreational opportunities. You can visit the beautiful lighthouses that shine from its shores, learn about its human history from John Smith to the Powhatan chiefdom, or boat the waters and search for wildlife.
The ten national parks in the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network are:
- Anacostia Park
- Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
- Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
- Fort Washington Park
- George Washington Birthplace National Monument
- Great Falls Park
- Jamestown Island
- Piscataway Park
- Rock Creek Park
- Yorktown Visitor Center and Battlefield (part of Colonial National Historic Park)
—Felicia Carr & Caroline Griffith
If You Go > >
Visit the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network website for a map of the water trails you can explore in the network.