The National Park Service (NPS) Chesapeake Bay and its principal partner, the Chesapeake Conservancy, have launched the “Roving Ranger," their new mobile visitor center for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail (Chesapeake Trail). The vehicle is the size of a delivery truck and features large, beautiful scenes of the Chesapeake Bay on all sides.
The vehicle will appear at Chesapeake Trail locations and at public events and festivals related to the natural and cultural heritage of the Chesapeake Bay. Providing many of the functions of a visitor center, families will be able to collect a National Park passport stamp, pick up a trail brochure and a Junior Ranger hat, participate in an interpretive ranger program, and learn about new experiences on the Chesapeake Trail.
By launching the Roving Ranger during National Park Week, NPS Chesapeake Bay staff hopes to build engagement with new and current audiences during a time when America is celebrating national heritage places and discovering open spaces. “We’re excited to start connecting more people to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail,” said NPS Superintendent Chuck Hunt. “The Roving Ranger gives families an opportunity to enjoy learning about American Indian communities and the history of the Chesapeake Bay.”
“We're taking the low cost concepts of the food truck phenomenon to accomplish the NPS mission,” says Joel Dunn, president and CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy. “With this mobile visitor center we're able to meet people where they are and reach diverse communities with the hopes of fostering a new sense of stewardship and a desire to take care of our natural, historical, and cultural resources that make the region so unique.”
The public can meet Chesapeake Conservancy staff and an NPS Interpretive Ranger at the Roving Ranger’s debut event April 22 at Mallows Bay on the Potomac River.