National park concessionaires, deeply concerned over what they see as three decades of stagnant visitation to the National Park System, want Congress to authorize better marketing of the parks, longer "high" seasons in the parks they believe would generate more revenues for infrastructure improvements, and expanded concessionaire opportunities in the parks.
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
You want to get out on the water, preferably for a few days at least. Scenery, wildlife, and solitude are on your checklist. Here’s where to go in the National Park System.
We knew we were being watched. We skimmed across the water, with our paddle blades rising and falling in a quick cadence. From its tall perch atop a pine, a bald eagle slowly rotated its white-feathered head and kept its eyes on us as we paddled further across Menokin Bay towards Cat Point Creek.
Flat water. Whitewater. Tranquil pools and rising tides. All this and more abounds in the National Park System’s water world. Though often described as “more than 84 million acres” of landscape, the system also embraces endless miles of streams, lakeshore, and ocean front. It’s a watery landscape you can explore for half-a-day, or for the rest of your life.
A cleaner Chesapeake Bay watershed. That's the goal of a multi-state agreement written to focus on restoring and protecting the bay and its feeder streams. If it succeeds, it would benefit a good number of National Park System units, foremost the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail that touches parts of Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Spring has set in throughout the country, perennials are reappearing, if they haven't already started to bloom, and summer vacation for some could be just weeks away. If you need some suggestions on where to float in the National Park System, we have them.
Rivers run fast and tumbling throughout the National Park System, there are streams with lazy meanders, and placid lakes perfect for dipping a paddle. This diversity poses a delightful dilemma when you have the urge to float and paddle. What follows is just a sampling of the experiences that await you, whether you have hundreds of watery miles under your paddle, or are looking for calm waters to take your youngsters.
Despite its size, the 64,000 square-mile Chesapeake Bay Watershed struggles with pollution problems that degrade its waters.
Along its thousands of miles of shoreline, across its wide waters, and inside its secluded backwaters, the Chesapeake Bay watershed offers a rich and diverse playground, one that should become easier to navigate thanks to a campaign launched in conjunction with the National Park Service's release of its Chesapeake Bay Watershed Access Plan.
You can get a feel for the Chesapeake Bay setting that greeted Captain John Smith 400 years ago in Tidewater: The Chesapeake Bay in Photographs, a book compiled through the lens of Stephen R. Brown that reflects the past and the present on the bay's waters.