Lease Agreement Enhances Public Access and Recreation Opportunities
The Board of Public Works today unanimously approved a lease agreement between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism allowing the county to manage approximately 50 acres of Chapel Point State Park for public recreation.
The area includes access roads and approximately 3,000 linear feet of shoreline, extending from the existing boat ramp and parking area north of Deep Point southward to Chapel Point.
The 25-year lease agreement will enable the county to oversee the area along Port Tobacco River, while providing for enhanced collaboration with the department on the development of a master plan and implementation of various projects that will enhance recreational access, opportunity and services.
“This lease agreement is a great example of how the state and counties can collaborate, partner and share resources that both conserve and protect our important natural areas while also expanding recreational amenities and outdoor experiences,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “We look forward to working closely with Charles County in the coming months on the planned improvements to the property.”
As part of the lease agreement, the county and department worked to develop a conceptual plan for the leased area, which includes improvements to the existing boat launch and fishing beach, a redesigned waterfront picnic area, a new “soft” kayak launch, an enhanced paddle-in campsite, and more secure and sustainable beach access. In addition to these amenities, other projects include work on access roads, parking, trails and wayfinding. Much of the parks’ undeveloped shoreline will remain intact and natural. Other recreation uses, including hunting, will continue. Improvements are anticipated to begin in spring 2019.
“Charles County is excited to revitalize a 50-acre area of this park along the Port Tobacco River to offer prime waterfront access to recreational activities for our residents and visitors,” Charles County Administrator Michael D. Mallinoff said. “This hidden gem will be enhanced to provide tremendous opportunities for our community to enjoy the park, whether on foot, bicycle, kayak, or boat.”
Chapel Point State Park consists of 828 acres of beaches, fields, forests, streams and wetlands. In addition to significant natural resources, the state park includes several prehistoric and historic archaeological sites, as well as Chapel Point (St. Ignatius Church), the site of a Jesuit mission established by Father Andrew White around 1640.