When the State of Maryland surveyed residents of Smith Island last year about their hopes for the future, the responses captured both their deep love and concerns for their home — Maryland’s last inhabited island in the Chesapeake Bay reachable only by boat. One resident said of his life on Smith Island: “I wouldn’t be anywhere else.” Another wondered how Smith Island might be made more attractive to outsiders.
Now a newly-released Vision Plan is helping islanders navigate the challenges ahead, while preserving what matters most — a way of life and spirit of community that make Smith Island an historical, cultural and environmental national treasure.
Questions about the future of Smith Island after Hurricane Sandy prompted the nine-month Visioning process, which is seen by many as an essential first step in taking control of their future. “This process turned out to be exactly what we needed to do,” said Vision Plan Steering Committee member Eddie Somers, who admitted to being skeptical at the beginning.