Not too long ago, Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen and State Senator Paul Sarbanes fulfilled the long-lasting aspirations of many of the state’s most devoted conservationists by submitting for Congress’s approval a proposal to create a Chesapeake National Recreation Area.
According to the lawmakers, CNRA will increase diverse public access to the Chesapeake Bay and strengthen the culture of stewardship across the region. Additionally, the CNRA will highlight the stories that often go untold – those of Indigenous peoples, free and enslaved Blacks; the role the Bay played in the earliest days of the Maryland and Virginia Colonies; the critical part the Bay has played, and continues to play, in the region’s economy; and the story of watermen and -women who are essential to the economic success and health of the Bay region.
As part of the Spy’s mission to provide different viewpoints on issues that directly impact the Mid-Shore’s quality of life and ecological health, we asked Dorchester County’s Jim Lighthizer, who originally proposed this designation in the 1980s. At the same time, he served as Anne Arundel County Executive and Queen Anne’s County’s Captain Rob Newberry, chair of the Delmarva Fisheries Association, an outspoken opponent of the pending legislature, to offer their unique points of view.