April 9th 2013 Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley signed HB
797 into law allowing greater access along the states bridges and
roadways. This accomplishment will allow
greater recreation opportunities for paddlers, improve safety for paddlers and
motorists, stimulate the economies and livability of local communities, and
enhance the health and quality of life by providing these beneficial recreation
HB 797 provides an important opportunity to expand the public’s access to Maryland’s waterways for fishing, canoeing and kayaking -- one that can be achieved relatively quickly and at little or no cost.
Maryland is home to more than 10,000 miles of rivers and streams as well as some 4,000 miles of tidal shoreline within the State’s portion of the Chesapeake watershed. Yet accessing these waterways is often very difficult for the growing number of people who wish to use them for fishing, canoeing, kayaking and other recreational activities.
One way to improve access is along our State’s bridge crossings, road ends or roadways adjacent to waterways when they are being constructed or reconstructed. Modeled on similar efforts in North Carolina, Tennessee and California, as well as Maryland’s pedestrian and bicycling safety accommodations, HB 797 would enhance waterway access by:
- Creating an inventory of all the bridges crossing navigable and fishable rivers and streams to identify bridges and approach roadways where waterway access for fishing, canoeing and kayaking can be provided reasonably and safely.
- Requiring State and local transportation departments to review all bridge construction and reconstruction projects currently in the planning and design process to ensure that waterway access is incorporated into planned construction or reconstruction, except where such use cannot be provided safely and reasonably.
- Ensuring that waterway access for anglers, canoeists and kayakers is given due consideration in the comprehensive transportation plans developed by each metropolitan planning organization. HB 797 would help promote outdoor recreational opportunities for families, greatly improve safety for recreational users and motorists alike, help stimulate the economies and livability of local communities, and enhance the health and quality of life of our citizens.
HB 797 would help promote outdoor recreational opportunities for families, greatly improve safety for recreational users and motorists alike, help stimulate the economies and livability of local communities, and enhance the health and quality of life of our citizens.
It is supported by: Chesapeake Conservancy, Maryland Recreation and Parks Association, American Sportfishing Association, American Canoe Association, Mid-Atlantic Center National Wildlife Federation, Anacostia Watershed Society, Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway, Sultana Projects, Inc.
Show your support and contact your local Representatives today!