- In 2016 and 2017, the Public Access Action Team updated its annual inventory of new public access sites in the Chesapeake Bay watershed with 24 sites opened in 2016 and 21 sites opened in 2017. Four of these 45 sites expanded boat-in primitive campsites along recognized water trails. A number of state agencies provided technical assistance to local governments and nongovernmental organizations in the provision of new public access sites.
- In 2016 and 2017, Youth Conservation Corps members enhanced water access by developing boat-in primitive campsites, clearing viewsheds and building water-view trails.
- In 2016 and 2017, all National Park Service Chesapeake Bay financial assistance awards for public access included appropriate accessibility requirements. The office funded six public access projects during this time.
- By the end of 2017, all watershed states had established processes to allow their transportation departments to explore public access site provisions for those projects that are over or adjacent to water bodies with potential recreational access.
- In 2017, more than 300 students participated in the Wilderness Inquiry Canoemobile program and paddled in a voyager canoe on the Susquehanna River. For many students, this marked their first paddling experience on a river. Almost all of the students came from Title I schools, or schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families.
- Each year, reporting newly opened public access sites.
- Each year, recording data on new potential public access sites that would fill gaps and contribute toward the public access target.
- Providing technical assistance to partners in public access site development to aid in site assessment, planning, design and permitting.
- As appropriate, targeting financial assistance and establishing as a condition of financial awards the development of new public access sites in compliance with accessibility standards and guidelines to ensure access by a population with diverse physical capabilities.
- Developing new access sites that fill gaps and support boat-in primitive camping along recognized water trails (including the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail) and, as appropriate, engaging the Youth Conservation Corps in the implementation of smaller projects.
- Visually comparing current and proposed access sites with the demographic and environmental information available on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental justice screening tool.
- Encouraging federal and state agency partners to evaluate opportunities for additional public access sites on lands under their control, especially when site or resource management plans are updated.
- Maintaining and upgrading public access sites on U.S. Department of Defense installations where site security allows.
- Involving state agencies in hydropower relicensing processes.
- Developing agreements with state departments of transportation to develop public access sites in conjunction with road and bridge construction.
Two-Year Work Plan
Chesapeake Bay Program partners have committed to taking specific actions over the course of 2016 and 2017 to achieve the high-level approaches identified in the management strategy for the Public Access outcome. These actions are listed below. More information about performance targets, participating entities and influential factors can be found in the full work plan.