Passage Would Help Highlight 400th Anniversary Of Historic Voyages
(Baltimore, MD) Standing before a reproduction of the boat that helped to spur a new era of discovery in the New World almost 400 years ago, Senator Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD) today announced that he, along with Senator John Warner (R-VA), are spearheading legislation to create a National Historic Trail designating the route of Captain John Smith's two-year exploration of the Chesapeake Bay region.
The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail would be the first National "Watertrail" in the Country. In April 1607, three ships arrived at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay after a four-month voyage from England carrying colonists who would establish the first permanent English settlement in North America and plant the seeds of our nation and our democracy. John Smith would then travel in a small 30 foot "shallop" some 3,000 miles, reaching from present day Jamestown, Virginia, to Smith Falls on the Pennsylvania border with Maryland and from Broad Creek in Delaware to the Potomac River and Washington, DC. His journeys brought the English into contact with many Native Americans for the first time, and his observations of the region's people and its natural wonders are still relied upon by anthropologists, historians, and ecologists to this day.
"The introduction of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail Act comes at a very timely juncture to educate Americans about historical events that occurred 400 years ago right here in the Chesapeake Bay region," said Sarbanes.
"As Jamestown's 400th anniversary quickly approaches, designating the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail will bring history to life. It will serve to educate visitors about the new colony of Jamestown, John Smith's journeys, the history of the 17th century Chesapeake region, and the vital importance of the Native Americans that inhabited the Bay area. It will also provide for new opportunities for recreation and heritage tourism not only for more than 16 million Americans living in the Chesapeake Bay's watershed, but for visitors to this area throughout the country and abroad."
Joining Sarbanes and Warner in sponsoring the legislation were: Senators Joe Biden (D-DE), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), and George Allen (R-VA).
The trail proposal has also been endorsed by the Governors of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland and numerous local governments throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. The measure is also strongly supported by the National Geographic Society, The Conservation Fund, The Garden Club of America, the Izaak Walton League of America, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Chesapeake Bay Commission, as well as scores of businesses, tourism leaders, private groups and intergovernmental bodies.