The Roving Ranger on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail

By Megan McSwain

The National Park Service Chesapeake Bay and its principal partner, the Chesapeake Conservancy, launched the “Roving Ranger,” their mobile visitor center for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. The vehicle is the size of a delivery truck and features large, beautiful scenes of the Chesapeake Bay on all sides. The vehicle appeared 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 collected a National Park passport stamp, picked up a trail brochures, Junior Ranger hats, participated in interpretive ranger programs, and learned about new experiences on the Chesapeake Trail.

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By launching the Roving Ranger during National Park Week, NPS Chesapeake Bay and the Conservancy staff hoped 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.”

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Megan McSwain, Communications and Partnership Assistant

A recent graduate from Stevenson University with a Bachelor’s in Business Communication focusing on new media and public relations, Megan works with both the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office and the Chesapeake Conservancy to develop public awareness of our joint efforts. She has experience in event planning, public relations, and social media management. She has worked as a marketing intern for Medifast, a student activities assistant for Stevenson University, was co-president of the 47’ House Integrated Marketing Club, and is a member of Sigma Alpha Pi, National Society of Leadership and Success.