During a Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands hearing today, Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force Co-Chair John Sarbanes (D-Md.) provided testimony that highlighted the long-running success and benefits of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Program and urged his colleagues to pass legislation he introduced to reauthorize the program.
“I’m here in support of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Water Trails Reauthorization Act of 2019, which would reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Program for 6 years,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “This is administered by the National Park Service and the program provides financial and technical assistance to local communities to increase interpretation, recreation, education and access to the Chesapeake Bay, which is a national treasure and economic driver. In other words, we have all these people who live, in a sense, within arm’s length of the bay. Making sure that they can get access to the opportunity to experience it is critical, and that’s what the Gateways Program does.”
Sarbanes continued: “[The Gateways Program is] also a very important part of the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort, helping the National Park Service fulfil its reasonability to foster land conservation, public access, stewardship, diversity and education, as outlined in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement…. The current authorization is set to expire in October of this year, making it critical that Congress move quickly to reauthorize this program so that the National Park Service can continue to fulfil its responsibilities to the Bay.”