The Chesapeake Bay, the great rivers that feed it, and vast landscape surrounding them are at the center of our nation’s story. These special places are filled with rich history, marvels of nature, beautiful scenery, and hundreds upon hundreds of opportunities to explore and enjoy.
Set within the 64,000 square mile Chesapeake watershed—an area eighteen times the size of Yellowstone National Park—are: 55 units of the National Park System; scores of state parks and wildlife refuges; the Appalachian Trail and Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail; large national heritage areas like the Journey Through Hallowed Ground; more than 2,600 miles of designated water trails; and so much more.
The National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office connects people to experiences of the natural and cultural heritage of the Chesapeake Bay, its rivers and the watershed. We help conserve special places important to visitors, residents, and the nation, for this and future generations. And we manage the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.
We support Chesapeake Explorer and smithtrail.net to help you find places for experiencing the Chesapeake region. With many partners, particularly the Chesapeake Conservancy, we carry out visitor, conservation and restoration programs along the John Smith Chesapeake Trail. And we help convene and coordinate public access and conservation efforts throughout the watershed under the Chesapeake Bay Program and Chesapeake Executive Order.