Sarbanes And Mikulski Announce New Chesapeake Bay Gateway Network Sites

Four Southern Maryland Sites Receive Grants From The National Park Service

Senators Paul S. Sarbanes and Barbara A. Mikulski announced the 18 Maryland recipients of grant funding from the National Park Service for the sixth year of the "Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network Program." The program, which Sarbanes authored in 1998, is working to link the natural, historic, cultural and recreational resources of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries into a unified network. Four sites throughout Southern Maryland were part of this year's recipients.

The grants support projects at places participating in the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network. According to the National Park Service, the Gateways Network is a partnership system of over 140 parks, refuges, maritime museums, historic seaports and water trails where people can experience and learn about the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. This year, the National Park Service is awarding $1.6 million in federal grant funding. Twenty-seven grants are being made to Gateways throughout the Bay watershed in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

"This program has been extremely popular in opening up new opportunities to enhance public awareness and involvement in our on-going efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay," said Sarbanes. "Each Gateway site tells a different Bay story, and enables people to better understand and appreciate the Chesapeake Bay and all it has to offer.

"In addition, these grants will help local communities and organizations improve desperately needed public access to the Bay and its waterways, and help to boost the economic activity generated by tourism and recreation within the watershed."

"The Gateways Program greatly aids our communities in preserving Maryland's greatest natural resource, the Chesapeake Bay, for future generations of Marylanders," said Senator Mikulski. "The Chesapeake Bay is part of who we are as Marylanders. It's part of our heritage and its part of our culture. That's why I am so proud to work with Senator Sarbanes to keep fighting for the Bay and keep fighting for the Marylanders whose livelihoods depend on it."

Four of the 18 grant recipient sites are located throughout Southern Maryland:

- With $111,987 for a joint effort by Pennsylvania State University, the Smithsonian Institution and two major Chesapeake cultural institutions (Historic St. Mary's City and Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum), the "Landscape visualization of the Voyages of John Smith and the Chesapeake of the Early 17th Century," web-based project will employ the latest photorealistic landscape visualization technology to create interactive interpretation of John Smith's voyages and generate vibrant images of the Chesapeake environment that so impressed Smith four centuries ago;

- The St. Mary's County Commissioners will be receiving $100,000 for The Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Park Enhancement Project. The project will include a new interpretive master plan that will guide the continued development of this Southern Maryland park, site of the oldest lighthouse on the Potomac River. This grant also supports the development of new exhibits for the museum's Potomac River Maritime Exhibit building which houses a collection of historic Chesapeake vessels;

- The Friends of St. Clement's Island and PPL Museums are obtaining $20,000 for the replacement of six outdated informational signs on this island in the Potomac River. The new interpretive panels are being re-conceived to engage visitors more directly with the role St. Clement's Island played in the early exploration of Maryland by European Catholics; and

- The Calvert Marine Museum Society will receive $9,500 for a Discovery Room Enhancement Project at the Calvert Marine Museum. In the first phase of a renovation of its children's Discovery Room, this museum in Solomons Island will create a touch tank divided into distinct fresh water, brackish, and saltwater environments, each displaying the Bay creatures that call it home.

The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network Program provides grants to non-profit organizations, and state and local governments to enhance places participating in the Gateways Network. The Program is coordinated by the National Park Service in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Program and a 17-organization working group established by the Bay Program. The website is

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