50 Reasons Why We Love the Bay

Smith Island Pelican-Bob Miller1171x593

A pelican skims the surface of the water as he flies above a Smith Island, Virginia marsh.

Bob Miller

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, 50 Bay lovers attempt to describe the indescribable—their unwavering love of our rivers, streams, and Bay

Earlier this year, we asked our members just why this place was so special to them. Is it the crabs and oysters? The sunsets? The unique communities that line our tidewater marshes or mountain rivers? Just why do you love the Bay and its rivers and streams? The answers we received are as rich and varied as the nearly 20 million people who make up our watershed. So, in honor of this 50th Earth Day, here are 50 reasons from all across the watershed why we love this Bay and its rivers and streams:

  1. “For too many reasons to list.” —Toni Oliveira, Alexandria, VA
  2. “Every river and stream I canoed, swam, and fished as a kid ended in the Chesapeake Bay. I want my grandchildren to have the chance for life on the Bay.” —Mary Miller, Richmond, VA

  3. “I've had the most memorable days of fishing of my life with my brother and son on the Bay. Stewardship is one of the foremost things that defines us. Let's set an example. —Russ Allen, Jenkintown, PA

  4. “I am one of the small minorities that was so fortunate to grow up with the river, the woods, the wild. I was swimming by age two or three. We could see 20 feet to the bottom if there was a spot that didn't have grass. We entertained ourselves outdoors, without supervision . . . We explored every day and made many discoveries.” —Barbara van Horn, Annapolis, MD

  5. “Delicious seafood, scenic outdoor trips, and just good natural resources.” —Robert Botterill, Libertytown, MD

  6. “The Bay and its rivers are part of the lifeblood of the earth.” —Nelse Greenway, Washington, D.C.

  7. “My kids play in these rivers and streams.” —Jennifer McAndrew, Frederick, MD

  8. "It's in my DNA. My father was a 3rd-generation waterman." —Otis Jones, Chesterfield, VA

  9. “It is where I live, work, and play. It is the defining element of this area.” —John Dunlop, Gaithersburg, MD

  10. “My family and I lie in wait each winter for spring through fall on our beloved Chesapeake Bay. We plan, think, prep the boat and read about our favorite pastime—the Chesapeake Bay. We raise oysters from our pier, eat fish and crabs we catch, and swim during the summer. The Chesapeake Bay is our life!” —Warren Ahrens, Deltaville, VA

  11. “My children and the future. Isn't that our purpose . . . leave things better than we found them.” —Karen Quick, Virginia Beach, VA

  12. “As a kid, we used to camp on the Bay's shores and net crabs on foot. We could see bottom to net them almost armpit deep. Then the grasses disappeared along with the numbers of blue fish and stripers . . .  The Bay responds to love and will recover if we just treat it well.”  —Wayne Turner, Grimstead, VA

  13. “It’s our future.” —Tim Keegin, Charles Town, WV

  14. “My wife and I have boated on the Chesapeake for seven years, and we consider it one of the most relaxing and beautiful places for weekends and vacations. The Bay is close to millions of people, yet a world away, where peace, tranquility, and nature abound.” —Haydn McLean, New Holland, PA

  15. “Chesapeake Bay what is there to say. I have admired your beauty since well I can't say. From the great tunnel [in] Norfolk to Perryville's sand and clay. The rocks that endure the birds on the shore. Would always enjoy to learn a little more.” —Mark Lander, Elkton, MD

  16. “We need to save this treasure for present and future generations. Water is, after all, our most precious commodity.” —Matthew Ford, Nazareth, PA

  17. “My home is along the North River. When I watch its waters wind their way over and around rocks and downed trees, heading north, I can see and hear the birds and geese sing and fly above the waters. At night I can hear wildlife like screech owls and predators like coyotes and foxes in the woods beside the river.” —Joy Loving, Grottoes, VA

  18. “I grew up as a product of these waters. My great grandfather settled on the Magothy River when grandmother was just a girl. My father spent summers there, and we did after him. I grew up near Annapolis, with water just minutes in any direction . . . We swim, sail, paddle, and play in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries constantly. Some of my fondest memories center around these waters.” —Lindsay Moore, Annapolis, MD

  19. “I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay in Crisfield, Maryland in the 50s and 60s . . . My granddaughters have inherited my love of the Bay, and I can't imagine what it would be like without the continued efforts of CBF and other environmental groups who give their all to protect this most precious estuary. Please continue your efforts and know that this is near and dear to my heart.” —Bobbie Heil, Lancaster, PA

  20. “I have lived on a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay all my life. My grandfather was a waterman. I got my first boat at age six, and I'm still boating at age 75.” —James Brewer, Yorktown, VA

  21. “The Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries have been one the largest single resources for our family, from weekend getaways, fishing trips, teaching the kids to waterski and handle the boat.” —Richard Lynch, Annapolis, MD

  22. “We lived on NAS Patuxent River, when my daughter was born.  The beauty of the water gave me a feeling of serenity while my husband was serving away.  And the clean water gave us fresh fish, crabs, oysters, etc.  And we could walk on the shore and splash in the clean water.” —Liz Cramp, Clifton, VA

  23. “The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure. It is a holy place that was once teaming with life in balance. It is a place of heritage and culture that will be lost if not restored to its full capacity and beauty.”  —Kari Rowe, Mount Rainier, MD

  24. “As a Norfolk native, I witnessed the changes in the Bay over decades and was able to renew my spirit each day with a walk alongside the Bay. As a coastal resident, I sailed it, swam it, paddled it, and simply enjoyed its immense beauty and power.  It served as a reminder of the beauty of nature and the renewal that each day brings. I had the opportunity to see fierce winter storms whip up the Bay but also watch countless families enjoy its calm waters on warm days at East Beach, Buckroe Beach, and other gathering spots with a view. For future generations growing up along its shores, the Bay deserves to be protected and preserved.” —Bridget Murray, Denver, CO

  25. “The Chesapeake Bay is one of the prettiest, most peaceful bodies of water that I have ever had the privilege of living on.  I raised three young children on the Bay, and they learned to swim in a beautiful calm body of water full of life with exciting bits of nature to explore. I used to describe the bay as their giant educational wading pool.” —Lynda Martin, Virginia Beach, VA

  26. “For 30 years we have come down from Pennsylvania to boat and enjoy the Bay. We now moved to Maryland and live on the Choptank.” —Robin Stricoff, Easton, MD

  27. “I love spending time in, on, and near water. Ensuring clean and healthy water bodies for me and future generations to enjoy [as well as a healthy] harvest are crucial to me.” —Bill Henderson, Glenelg, MD

  28. “Where there is water, there is life.” —Patricia Hatfield, Leesburg, VA

  29. “The Bay is the environmental legacy we leave our children. There is no replacement.” —Liam O'Meara, Millersville, MD

  30. "I grew up in Norfolk and moved to Virginia Beach in the early 80s. I want the world around us to be healthy, clean and prosperous for my generation and generations to come.” —Sheila Killmon, Virginia Beach, VA

  31. “Healthy environment=good quality of life.” —Lani Hummel, Annapolis, MD

  32. “I've lived within 20 miles of the Bay my entire life.” —Erika Keller, Glen Burnie, MD

  33. “Commercial and recreational possibilities. National treasure. Beauty.” —David Rodak, Spartanburg, SC

  34. “The Bay is essential to all life in this region!” —Frederick Karam, Virginia Beach, VA

  35. “My school overlooks the Susquehanna River and the wildlife that depend on it are important as well as the impact the river has on the Chesapeake Bay and ocean ecosystems.” —Daphne Leeder, York, PA

  36. “The Lynnhaven River and the Bay are right in my ‘backyard.’ I enjoy Bay recreational and experiential opportunities and wish to preserve them for future generations.” —Walter Demmerle, Virginia Beach, VA

  37. “I am a lifelong Virginian with family history on and around that water. The Chesapeake Bay is a natural wonder, not just for Virginians, but for the world. It provides economic opportunity for residents, recreation for visitors, and habitat for the wildlife it shelters. Faithful stewardship of this treasure is important so that my children and others in months and years to come can experience the beauty of the Bay and its watershed.” —Brent Kemp, Midlothian, VA

  38. “I grew up in a family owned seafood restaurant. For most of my life the Bay was our livelihood. I grew up appreciating our waters.” —Kelly Grancitelli, Pasadena, MD

  39. “The Bay has had an essential, centuries-long relationship with the states which border it.  Through the years I've had many opportunities to be on Bay waters and the rivers which feed it, fishing, sightseeing, recreating, and simply enjoying its beauty.” —Patricia Saunders, Midlothian, VA

  40. “My children being able to enjoy our rivers, streams, and bay is important to me.” —Jessamyn Manzeralla, Virginia Beach, VA

  41. “Because it literally drives our whole (local) life and without them/ the disappearance is them, it's game over.” —Jordan Rice, Fredericksburg, VA

  42. “It is the values test for America—the largest watershed that is either going to show whether we care about ourselves and future generations.” —Patricia Jonas, Baltimore, MD

  43. “The Bay is important to me because nature was an integral part of my childhood and growing into an environmentally conscious adult. Without this watershed, Maryland, my home state, and even more broadly, the mid-Atlantic and the United States loses one of the most unique and diverse Bays in the country.” —Lily Payton, MD

  44. “This is my home and the Bay has always been a big part of it. I am proud of the mid-Atlantic region and the beauty of the Bay.” —Margita Rushing, McLean, VA

  45. “It's part of my history and lifestyle. I grew up with it, and it is my home. After traveling and living around the world, the Chesapeake Bay still amazes me and inspires me. I want to make it as healthy as possible for generations to come.” —Trish Carrier, Virginia Beach, VA

  46. “Clean water is critical to our health and the health of our ecosystem.  And of, course I love crabs and rockfish!” —Cindy Hoffman, Berlin, MD

  47. “The Bay is my home and community.” —Patti Child, Baltimore, MD

  48. "The Bay is a uniting force for everyone in region. For some, it's their life. They make their living fishing, crabbing, or studying the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. For others, it provides some of the best recreation opportunities to go boating, fishing, bird watching, etc. And for everyone, the Bay provides some of the best food from oysters to rockfish to crabs. No matter what walk of life you come from, the Bay is one thing that unites all people in the region. It is really the identity of people that live in the DMV. In a time like this, where everyone is divided, it is important to find things that unite people." —Nicholas Lacaruso, Crofton, MD

  49. "Our country's largest estuary should be celebrated, protected and healthy for all life in it and who depend on it." —Brenda Hyson, Scottsville, VA

  50. "The Bay is the lifeblood of the region. And saving the Bay is saving my corner of the world—and making a step toward greater things." —Susie Butler, Gambrills, MD
Emmy Nicklin

Emmy Nicklin

Director of Digital Marketing and Communications, CBF

[email protected]

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