The National Park Service has identified the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway as a priority segment of what will be the first combined land and water trail in America. Go here for the LSHG press release.
The national designation will help the non-profit group that runs the heritage area to secure federal funding for its plan to link existing trails along the Susquehanna River and build more, ultimately into a 40-mile network of waterside walkways through the two counties. Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway, based in Darlington, is about halfway to that goal with 22 miles of crisscrossing trails.
The John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, which stretches 3,000 miles on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, traces the early 17th Century routes of Captain Smith. He reached the northernmost point of his travels near what is now Port Deposit in Cecil County 400 years ago.
The park service is developing a comprehensive plan for the management, construction and use of trails that would link the area's natural, cultural and historic resources. The project will designate historic sites and public access points.
The Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway also wants to highlight natural, historic and cultural resources along the trails. The proposed pathways would run through Darlington and Havre de Grace in Harford County and Port Deposit and Perryville in Cecil County, passing historic landmarks that once defined the area's commerce.
Partnering in the nation's first water trail could spur economic development in both counties and lead to future funding for trails, museums, public water access and various other projects that focus on the region's history and enhance a visitor's experience, officials said.
The National Park Service plan is open to public review through November 5, and can be accessed through its planning website. Comments can also be directed electronically to CAJO_Superintendent@nps.gov or by mail to Superintendent, Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, 410 Severn Avenue, Suite 314, Annapolis, MD 21403.