Last year, when we issued the America's Great Outdoors 50 State Report at the request of Governor O'Malley and the conservation groups here in Maryland, the John Smith Trail and the component trails to expand the system of trails were listed as top priorities for several states.
Today, we are here to build on that momentum by designating four historic connecting trails, river stretches in five states that have become components of The John Smith National Historic Trail.
Today's announcement is not just good news for Marylanders. It's good news for all of our neighbors who share this trail, who are connected by this trail, who are connected by these waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
It's not just talk here. It is real action. The history of this work together really demonstrates when communities, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, native people, and just individuals all line up and bring something to the table for the greater goal.
These rivers provide a great service of food travel and wellbeing of untold generations for our peoples of these lands. It is well and good that these great rivers, basins and watersheds are now protected as components of The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.
One day our children will look at us and thank us. They'll say, let us celebrate together. Let us move forward together. Their thanks, their gratitude will be thanks enough for our work.
Today, we celebrate. We celebrate the Chesapeake. We celebrate The John Smith National Trail and the new connecting trails and we celebrate our collective partnership to protect and restore the Chesapeake in its great rivers.
We are excited and overwhelmed with joy that Mother Nature is finally getting the recognition that she deserves as our mother.
For thousands of years we were here protecting these resources. We've been at the forefront and will remain there, trying to be good stewards of this creation that God gave us to use and to preserve for future generations.
The key point that we need to do is to see how the past relates to the future and how public access is so important.
I think there are a lot of things that need to happen for the bay to the way we all want it to be. But, I think this is one of the major steps because it engages people. The more people are engaged with the bay, the more likely they are to support cleanup efforts, protection efforts, land conservation and all the other things that need to be done.