The 3,000-mile water and land trail network created to relive the Chesapeake Bay's 17th century exploration by English colonists is about to grow still larger.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis are slated to visit Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis this afternoon to celebrate the addition of four new river river trails to the existing Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. The federal officials are to be joined by Gov.Martin O'Malley, local officials, Native American tribal leaders and conservation group representatives.
The event will formally recognize the significance of the Susquehanna, Chester, upper Nanticoke and upper James rivers to 17th century Native American culture and trade, linking them up with the waters that John Smith and his crew explored from 1607 to 1609.
Established by Congress in 2006 as the first national water trail, it's a "virtual park" that encompasses the meandering routes of Smiths's two voyages up the Chesapeake from Jamestown, VA, including their explorations of the York, James and other rivers. The water trail connects with dozens of land-based museums, parks, wildlife refuges and other cultural and historic sites.
The water trail is marked in places by a set of "smart buoys," which collect weather, water quality and other data and also offer descriptions of local geography and history. Their information is accessible by phone or Internet. For more on the trail, go here.