The National Park Service is soliciting public input on a proposal to amend the special regulations for Colonial National Historical Park. The amendment would remove a regulation that prevents the Superintendent from designating sites within the park for launching and landing private vessels. Water access in the park has been prohibited since it was established in the 1930 and removing the regulation would allow the Superintendent to designate sites within the park for water access. The rule would also remove outdated permit and fee requirements for commercial passenger-carrying vehicles.

Colonial National Historical Park is located on the banks of the James River, York River and their tributaries and is perfectly situated to provide water access for outdoor recreation activities such as canoeing, kayaking, and stand up paddleboarding. The James River Association is a proponent of giving the Superintendent of Colonial National Historical Park the ability to designate water access sites in the park and supports removing the special regulation. Removing this regulation will allow the Superintendent of Colonial National Historical Park to designate launch and retrieval sites for boating activities within the park as governed by National Park Service general regulations.

Designating new launch sites within Colonial National Historical Park will give organizations like the James River Association the ability to offer water-based educational programs to the public. Locations within Colonial National Historical Park that could accommodate water access facilities include Jamestown Island and Neck of Land. Both locations have existing visitor infrastructure in proximity to Back River, a tributary of the James River. Creating opportunities for the 3.3 million annual visitors to Colonial National Historical Park to get on the water will enhance the visitor experience and help visitors further develop an appreciation of the park’s cultural and natural resources.

Instructions for Submitting Public Comments

Public comments on the proposed amendment may be submitted through December 7, 2020 by one of the following methods.

  • Online: In the Search box, enter 1024-AE39. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail to: Superintendent, Colonial National Historical Park, P.O. Box 210, Yorktown, VA 23690.

The National Park Service asks that the public sends comments only by the methods described above. All comments will be posted on  All submissions received must include the words “National Park Service” or “NPS” and must include the docket number or RIN 1024-AE39 for this rulemaking.