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An Ocean of Solutions for The Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Access Authority

The Middle Peninsula is one of three such bodies of land that form the western shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. Bounded by the Rappahannock River to the north, and the York River to the south, the land is devoid of any cities, and is known for its rural settings, vegetable farming, and fishing industry.

The rivers, creeks, and bays that dominate the Middle Peninsula are featured on 1,000 acres of land designated for recreational use and public benefit. To help preserve and manage these valuable assets, which span six counties - Essex, Gloucester, King and Queen, King William, Mathews, and Middlesex, and three towns - Tappahannock, Urbanna, and West Point, The Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority (MP-PAA) was created in 2003 to oversee ongoing management of the lands and their facilities.

Fee-based access to the MP-PAA holdings has historically provided assistance with cost burdens, yet posed challenges as fees collection was an arduous and time consuming manual process that often resulted in limited availability for citizens. Under their outdated, original system, The MP-PAA simply did not have available time or resources to offer access to many of its holdings.

Desiring an innovative solution to this problem, the MP-PAA teamed up with Virginia Interactive to launch a new mobile-friendly online facilities reservation and payment service for reserving hunting tracts, boat slips, boat launch parking, nature trails, shoreline fishing, waterfowl hunting, crabbing, and many other public outdoor recreational opportunities on Middle Peninsula lands. Virginia Interactive crafted a mobile-first design, and developed a robust reservation service that increases availability of MP-PAA holdings and streamlines the process of making reservations.

Features of the service include a clean mobile-friendly interface, a search feature for available properties, GIS maps, property descriptions, and photos. Also newly available to the user is the ability to create and manage a profile, as well as access to downloadable documents. Most importantly, secure online payment is now available to MP-PAA for the first time. To assist with management on the back end, features were built in to enable reservation searches, the generation of reservation reports, inventory and amenities management, mapping tools, store configuration tools, and user management.

Soft launched in September 2014, the service was immediately welcomed by sportsmen looking to reserve available tracts on the MP-PAA's hunting lands. With citizens adopting the reservation and payment service, the risk and effort for manually processing transactions was eliminated, saving valuable time and resources for the Authority.

The Property and Facility Reservation service has enabled opportunities for the Authority to quickly and easily open up properties to the public that would otherwise remain unused. Revenue from the reservations can then be reinvested back into the Authority's holdings creating further benefit for the community. The online application was carefully designed to be flexible, scalable, and repeatable, in order to facilitate the unique reservation needs of multi-jurisdictional authorities and other government entities.

Valuable assets are in good hands with Virginia Interactive facilitating online payments and facilities management. Deep solutions are never far away for putting any system in calm water for years to come.


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