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Media inquiries: Please contact Gary Waugh, gary.waugh@dcr.virginia.gov, 804-786-5045.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 24, 2011
Contact: Julie Buchanan, Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-2292, julie.buchanan@dcr.virginia.gov

Public open house to discuss access to the Chesapeake Bay and rivers to be held June 28

RICHMOND — An open house to get input and ideas for the location of needed boat ramps, fishing piers, scenic overlooks and other access points to the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia’s rivers and streams flowing into it will be held Tuesday, June 28 in Richmond. The National Park Service, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries are sponsoring the meeting in the game department’s board room at 4000 West Broad Street. The open house runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The open house is one of four being held in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. It is part of a larger study being conducted by the NPS with cooperating local agencies. In 2010, the federal Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed set a goal to provide 300 additional public access sites in the bay watershed by 2025. The Virginia Outdoors Plan, the state’s outdoor recreation and land conservation planning guide, has identified access to waterways as Virginians’ top outdoor recreational priority for more than two decades.

The information gathered at the open house will help NPS and partnering agencies create a “Chesapeake Bay Region Public Access Plan” due in 2012 to support this access commitment. The open houses are being used to identify gaps in public access now available and opportunities for new access sites. Planning staff will have maps on hand so participants can pinpoint potential access locations.

NPS has also developed a web-based tool so the public can share ideas on an interactive map. The site will be available through July 20. This online tool will allow the public an easy way to share input with NPS and state agency staff. To see the map and enter your suggestions for public access, go to http://www.baygateways.net/tools/publicaccess/.

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