The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today applauds the leadership of U.S. Representative John Sarbanes (MD-3) for introducing a bill that will reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network.
Statement by Edward Stierli, Chesapeake Field Representative
“The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today applauds the leadership of U.S. Representative John Sarbanes (MD-3) for introducing a bill that will reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network. This vital program provides matching grants to parks and other gateways that enable thousands of citizens to explore the Chesapeake Bay. Representative Sarbanes is joined by Gateways Network cosponsors Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elijah Cummings (D-MD, Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Donna Edwards (D-MD), John Delaney (D-MD), Jim Moran (D-VA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Rob Wittman (R-VA), and Gerry Connolly (D-VA), demonstrating the program’s strong support throughout the region. The Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network Reauthorization Act will continue the Gateways Network’s program through 2018, which will help visitors understand and connect with the Chesapeake Bay’s 64,000-mile shoreline, its natural and cultural treasures, and its significance to the region.
“Administered by the National Park Service since 1998, the 170 Gateways and Watertrails Network sites include parks, museums, paddling trails, and wildlife refuges that together serve as an economic generator, attracting $2.2 billion in annual tourist spending, which supports 25,000 direct tourism jobs in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. In addition, outdoor recreational activities contribute billions of dollars annually to the region and supports thousands of jobs.
“The Gateways and Watertrails Network continues to enhance public access by offering matching public-private partnership grants. Over the last few years, Gateways’ grants have funded communities and local partners to build new access sites where metropolitan and rural areas benefit from the water trails and wildlife refuges that support the Chesapeake’s vital boating, fishing and hunting industry.
“Congressman Sarbanes is a true advocate for America’s national parks. Earlier this year, Representative Sarbanes earned NPCA’s Friends of the National Parks Award for his leadership and voting record on significant national park issues. We look forward to working with Rep. Sarbanes and Congress to ensure that the Chesapeake Bay Gateways & Watertrails Network is reauthorized, supporting critical economic growth and tourism throughout the region. We encourage friends of the national parks to learn more about the Chesapeake by visiting a gateway site today.”
About 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 one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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