Completed Actions

  • In 2020, the Public Access Action Team updated its annual inventory of new public access sites in the Chesapeake Bay watershed with 12 sites opened in 2020. A number of state agencies provided technical assistance to local governments and nongovernmental organizations in the provision of new public access sites.
  • In 2018, more than 350 students participated in the Wilderness Inquiry Canoemobile program in a voyager canoe on the Susquehanna River. For some 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.
  • 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 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. Interpretive signage was included in some of these public access sites. Partners provided on the water programing including programs for school students.

Watershed-Wide Actions


  • Each year, report newly opened public access sites.
  • Each year, identify potential public access sites that would fill gaps and mark progress toward this outcome.

  • Target financial assistance programs to support site development and establish 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.
  • Maintain and upgrade public access sites on U.S. Department of Defense installations where site security allows.
  • Work with state departments of transportation to create or enhance public access opportunities in conjunction with transportation projects that cross over or are located next to waterways.
  • Improve access to water-based resources and associated green space, with emphasis on underserved neighborhoods and communities.
  • Enhance the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental justice screening and mapping tool.
  • Use proximity analysis and other tools to determine approximate distances between population and public access sites.
  • Provide technical assistance to partners in public access site development to aid in site assessment, planning, design and permitting.
  • Develop new access sites that fill gaps and support boat-in primitive camping along recognized land and water trails and, as appropriate, engage the Youth Conservation Corps in the implementation of smaller projects.

  • Involve state agencies in hydropower relicensing processes.
  • Encourage 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.
  • Help local governments and nongovernmental organizations exercise appropriate land use controls when acquiring public access sites.
  • Review road or public rights-of-way abandonment plans to ensure those with public access opportunities are not lost.
  • Encourage the incorporation of statewide comprehensive outdoor recreational plan recommendations into local and regional public access plans.
  • Increase the number and diversity of access site users and stewards.

Examples of actions in some states include:

Actions in Maryland

  • Take climate resiliency into consideration when planning or implementing new public access projects.

Actions in Pennsylvania

  • Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has reestablished the Boating Facilities Grant Program. This money funds local governments to implement new public access sites.

Actions in Virginia

  • Take climate resiliency into consideration when planning or implementing new public access projects.