2019 Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail Highlights

Chesapeake Conservancy (CC)


Programs — CC and NPS drove the Roving Ranger to 32 locations across Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., bringing the trail to more than 4,800 individuals. CC outreach staff held painting, storytelling, and music programs with Latino and Hispanic children to engage with underserved communities and foster a sense of belonging and stewardship for the Chesapeake Bay. NPS awarded badges to 536 Junior Rangers, most of which were participating in their Title I school’s field trip program through Every Kid Outdoors.

Partnerships — CC and NPS trail staff held four “Maritime Crafts Field School” events in partnership with the Rappahannock Indian Tribe. Field school participants learned about the history and ecology of the Chesapeake Bay before taking part in projects like a dugout canoe, stone tool making, and bone tool making. 


Land — CC and The Conservation Fund acquired the Terrell Bowers property on Fones Cliffs (Rappahannock River), a 252-acre property which was then acquired by the FWS. The property sits on one of the most scenic viewpoints in the Chesapeake, and Fones Cliffs are referenced in Captain John Smith’s journals from 1608 and were the site of Smith’s interactions with the Rappahannock Tribe.

Documentation — Researchers concluded the trail’s fifth Indigenous Cultural Landscape Report in collaboration with the Upper Mattaponi, Pamunkey, and Mattaponi Tribes, which will help the NPS identify conservation needs and prepare interpretive and educational programming on historic and contemporary sites important to Native people.

Planning — NPS participated in formal consultation with six Federally recognized Tribes in Virginia regarding planning the future of Werowocomoco. Researchers began an ethnographic overview and assessment, and an archeological overview and assessment of the site acquired by NPS in 2016. 


Staffing — CC added two college-aged bilingual interpretive outreach assistants to engage with Spanish-speaking visitors at Sandy Point State Park and at other parks in Maryland. 

Funding — NPS committed funding to pilot a Tribal youth internship program in collaboration with Colonial National Historical Park, which aims to encourage Native youth to participate in the future management of Werowocomoco, their ancestral homeland.