Local conservation group goes high-tech to showcase Potomac treasure
You can now tour Mallows Bay with your smartphone, iPad, or laptop, no kayak required.
Earlier this month Annapolis-based Chesapeake Conservancy launched a virtual tour of Mallows Bay, home to one of the largest collections of shipwrecked vessels in the world. The Bay is nestled along the Potomac River in Southern Maryland.
More than 4,000 panoramic images were stitched together to offer viewers river-level shots of some of the Bay's 200 sunken ships.
Think Google street view, but from the cockpit of a kayak.
The images were shot from a custom-designed pontoon outfitted with six hi-res cameras and a computer to capture the images and information associated with each shot.
High-tech paddling. We dig it.
So why Mallows Bay?
“We hope that the virtual tour will inspire more people to come and see Mallows Bay first hand," said Chesapeake Conservancy President Joel Dunn.
The site is currently under review by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to become the first National Marine Sanctuary in the Chesapeake Bay region.
Potomac Conservancy joined other local organizations in nominating Mallows Bay to become a marine sanctuary. The designation will help protect the important historical and ecological aspects of the area.
NOAA recently held public hearings on the nomination and will continue to accept public comments until January 15, 2016. More info can be found on NOAA's website.
Mallows Bay is also part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historical Trail, one of three national trails that runs nearly the entire length of the tidal portion of the Potomac River.
Potomac Conservancy and Chesapeake Conservancy have worked in partnership with the National Park Service to develop the Potomac River Segment Plan, an outline of how these trails can be enhanced to be more visible, meaningful, and easier to use for the millions of people who visit the Potomac each year.
Chesapeake Conservancy hopes to one day provide a virtual tour of the entire Captain John Smith Trail. In addition to the Mallows Bay tour, they have also released virtual tours of the Susquehanna River and the James River (sponsored by the James River Association).