Press Release Nov 14, 2022

Park Advocates Support a Path Forward for Chesapeake National Recreation Area

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the nation. Thousands of years of history and one-of-a-kind natural wonders come alive here.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Today, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD-03), speaking to a crowd of conservationists and Chesapeake Bay advocates at the historic Burtis House, announced their intention to introduce landmark legislation to designate the Chesapeake National Recreation Area.

This announcement follows years of dedicated advocacy by NPCA and Chesapeake Bay partners, including conservationists, sportfishers, historic preservationists and the watermen who have protected the Bay for many generations. In May 2021, Senator Van Hollen and Representative John Sarbanes formed a Chesapeake working group to explore the designation of a Chesapeake National Recreation Area managed by the National Park Service.

Statement of Theresa Pierno, National Parks Conservation Association President and CEO:

“We appreciate the many years of hard work from Senator Chris Van Hollen, Representative John Sarbanes, and members of the Chesapeake working group in charting a path forward for the Chesapeake National Recreation Area.

“The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the nation. Thousands of years of history and one-of-a-kind natural wonders come alive here, and many generations of watermen have worked to protect them. Countless families have sailed the Chesapeake’s beautiful waters, celebrated milestones on its shores, and tasted the famous blue crabs from its depths – including my own family, for decades. For many of us, the Chesapeake Bay means home.

“And we all need to work together to protect this place that feels like home. Creating the Chesapeake National Recreation Area would protect this place to the highest possible degree, and expand public access so everyone can appreciate how special it is. A new national park site would create recreational opportunities for local residents as well as travelers throughout the region.

“Expanding our National Park System to include sites and innovative partnerships in the Chesapeake Bay region would recognize the unique nature of the watershed and spell economic growth for local communities. We look forward to working together to shape this proposal in anticipation of bill introduction in the 118th Congress.”


About the National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.5 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit

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