National Parks Conservation Association Applauds President Obama for Enhancing National Park System with Harriet Tubman, First State, and Charles Young National Monuments

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The National Parks Conservation Association applauds President Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act today, to designate three additions to the National Park System: the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland, the First State National Monument in Delaware, and the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio

“The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad, First State, and Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monuments create our 399th, 400th, and 401st national park sites, and enhance our National Park System, from the inside and out.”

The National Parks Conservation Association applauds President Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act today, to designate three additions to the National Park System: the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland, the First State National Monument in Delaware, and the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio. These additions to our National Park System included land donations from The Conservation Fund, which donated the 1,500 acres comprising the Woodlawn portion of the First State national monument and the land donated to form the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Dorchester County, Maryland.

“As we look to the 2016 centennial celebration of our National Park System, diversifying our national parks to more adequately reflect our cultural heritage, and connecting urban populations to our national parks are important goals that we share with the Administration and the National Park Service,” said Tom Kiernan, President of the National Parks Conservation Association. “The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad, First State, and Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monuments create our 399th, 400th, and 401st national park sites, and enhance our National Park System, from the inside and out.”

“Harriet Tubman remains one of America’s most beloved and respected icons, but little is publicly shared about the courage and conviction she had for her people and her country that made her such a legend. We also thank Governor Martin O’ Malley and Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski for their efforts to honor the legacy of Harriet Tubman at the national level it deserves,” said Kiernan.

“One hundred years after her death, we still look to Harriet Tubman as an American symbol of heroism, equality, justice and self-determination,” said Lawrence Selzer, President and CEO of The Conservation Fund. “President Obama’s designation of a national monument honoring her life and legacy is a testament to Harriet’s courageous efforts and the dedicated work of so many to preserve the landscape where she made her mark on history. The Conservation Fund is thrilled to facilitate the protection and donation of a significant property to the National Park Service for the new monument designation in her honor.”

“The First State national monument would not be possible without the steadfast support of Senator Carper, who, along with the entire Delaware delegation, and Vice President Joe Biden, has spent years championing this park site’s development. Today, President Obama fulfilled a vision set more than a century ago by William Poole Bancroft, who purchased the land just north of downtown Wilmington and less than an hour from Philadelphia, with the foresight of preserving an urban oasis in the Brandywine Creek corridor. The monument also commemorates the legacy and perseverance of early Dutch, Swedish, and English settlement in Delaware, a vital but little known aspect of our First State’s rich history,” said Kiernan.

“The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio is a well-deserved honor for the third African American to graduate from West Point, and the first to serve as an acting national park superintendent, when he managed Sequoia National Park in 1903. We also acknowledge Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman’s ongoing legislative support for including Colonel Young’s home in the National Park System,” said Kiernan.

“The Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH) expresses its great appreciation for the actions taken by President Obama today to protect and commemorate the legacies of Harriet Tubman and Colonel Charles Young by designating national monuments in their honor,” said Sylvia Cyrus, Executive Director of the Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH). “The president’s use of the Antiquities Act adds two new sites to our National Park System that will enhance public understanding of and appreciation for the African American experience in the United States.”

“Today’s Antiquities Act proclamations will also ensure that the economic benefits of job creation, heritage tourism, education, tax credits, and preservation initiatives found in our national parks will be conveyed to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, throughout the state of Delaware, and in southern Ohio,” said Kiernan. In fact, according to the National Park Service, every dollar invested in national parks generates about $10 in return to economies across America.”

About the National Parks Conservation Association:
Since 1919, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System. NPCA, its more than 750,000 members and supporters, and many partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for generations to come. For more information, please visit: http://www.npca.org.
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