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Local input sought on Smith Chesapeake Trail

by Larry S. Chowning

National Park Service officials came to Deltaville on October 13 and listened to public comments on developing the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.

The purpose of the meeting was to address management objectives, policies and actions that will guide the development of the water trail over the next 15 to 20 years.

Captain John Smith was leader of the first group of Englishmen to permanently establish a colony in America. From his base of exploration at Jamestown, Smith and a band of settlers explored the Chesapeake Bay region in a sailing shallop.

The Smith Trail follows several of Smith’s voyages around the Chesapeake, and covers more than 3,000 miles and touches the states of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

One of Smith’s explorations was at Stingray Isle, which is known today as Stingray Point in Deltaville. The point was named when a stingray stabbed its tail into Smith’s arm, nearly killing him.

Smith was in such peril that his associates dug a grave for him, but the hardy captain recovered and went on to explore the bay from its mouth to the Susquehanna River.

In honor of that exploration, in spring of 2007 the National Park Service began work on the first long-range management plan to establish and manage the trail.

Part of the plan addresses how the trail’s resources can be managed and how visitors will be able to experience the trail—by water or land. Public participation is necessary for this process to be finalized, said John Maounis, superintendent of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.

Over the next few months the National Park Service will seek input from Middlesex citizens to shape the future of the trail. Anyone interested in learning more about the project should visit http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/cajo, or write to Captain John Smith Chesapeake NH, Attn: Jeff Winstel, 410 Severn Ave., Suite 314 Annapolis, MD 21403 to get information about the management plans and to submit comments.

posted 11.02.2009

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