July 11, 2017
U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) recently became an original cosponsor of legislation that would reauthorize a partnership between federal, state and local stakeholders to bolster Chesapeake Bay tourism and outreach efforts.
“The Chesapeake Bay is a jewel for our entire region and this bipartisan, bicameral effort will help boost the Bay’s tourism economy while at the same time create jobs,” Comstock said.
The Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network was originally authorized as a pilot program in 1998 to coordinate support and outreach for 172 Chesapeake Bay sites, parks, wildlife refuges and water trails. The partnership helps draw tourists, provide jobs and supports local economies in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.
“The Bay continues to be an economic engine for the region and efforts to protect and continually clean up the Bay will not only help the environment, but also many local economies,” Comstock said. She added that the Chesapeake Gateways and Watertrails Network is an example of a multi-state federal partnership that engages the public through education, youth employment, recreation and public access to the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in North America.
Chesapeake Gateways sites draw more than 10 million visitors each year, and the partnership enables Chesapeake sites that have been reviewed and vetted to apply for competitive grants that support public education and access to Chesapeake Bay.
The bill to reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network, H.R. 3063, was introduced in the House by U.S. Reps. John Sarbanes (D-MD) and Rob Wittman (R-VA).
“I’m passionate about restoring and preserving the Chesapeake Bay,” Wittman said. “It’s always a good day when we can come together in a bipartisan fashion to recognize the historical, cultural and recreational significance the Bay provides to millions in the watershed. The Chesapeake Gateway and Watertrails Program will help sustain the Bay as an economic driver for our region and ensure visitors to the watershed area recognize the Bay as the national treasure that it is.”
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