The lightship Chesapeake, which has served as a floating environmental center of Hains Point since 1972, is headed for Baltimore as a result of cuts in the National Park Service budget.
The lightship environmental program is one of dozens of Park Service programs eliminated because of Carter and Reagan administration budget cuts.
Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer wrote to Interior Secretary James Watt when the cutbacks were announced last month urging the transfer of the Chesapeake to the city's restored inner harbor. There it would join the U.S. Frigate Constellation, a World War II submarine, a restored Chesapeake Bay skipjack and the clipper Pride of Baltimore.
Watt agreed yesterday to begin transfer negotiations that could see the 133-foot lightship in Baltimore by May, when a national maritime historic preservation conference will be held there.
The lightship, which has cost about $200,000 a year for the Park Service to operate and last year attracted only 20,000 visitors, will be operated by the City of Baltimore.
The Chesapeake was anchored at the mouth of the Chesapeake for 29 years, beginning in 1933, with time out during World War II when it was stationed off the Massachusetts coast. It was replaced in 1965 by a platform light, stood off Delaware Bay until 1970 and was decommissioned and given to the Park Service in 1971.