Finally: A national park to call our own
Last week it proved true that hard work, commitment, and patience pay off! I was thrilled when legislation to create the First State National Historical Park finally passed through Congress on December 12. It creates Delaware’s first national park, joining it to the network of states which boasts a total of 58 national parks that attract millions of visitors each year.
As a celebration of Delaware’s rich cultural history, sites from early American Dutch, Swedish, and English settlements will be included in the First State National Historical Park. Others, such as the Dover Green, will highlight our state’s vital role in the founding of our nation. The park will incorporate existing landmarks from the First State National Monument and add new sites in each of Delaware’s three counties. To see more details about the sites that will make up the First State National Historical Park, visit carper.senate.gov/nationalpark.
I’ve been asked again and again as we’ve pushed for this park in Congress, “What makes having a national park in Delaware so important?” The answer is that having a designated national park ensures Delaware’s complete unique story about its contributions to our nation’s history will be preserved for generations to come. This national park gives our entire state a number of powerful tools to help spread the word about our story and reach out to people across the country and around the world who might be interested in visiting Delaware and learning more about our state’s integral role in our nation’s history.
National parks are an important part of America. They are the destinations of family summer vacations, family reunions, or school field trips, drawing crowds from across America to see our country’s natural beauty and learn about its history. National parks are also the top attraction for foreign tourists coming to this country on vacation. All these visit result in real economic gains for local economies. In 2013, park visitors spent an estimated $14.6 billion in local gateway regions while visiting National Park Service lands. Even the smallest national park resulted in more than $1 million in tourist revenue. As Delawareans, we stand to benefit from the added tourism from the park, but we also have the unique opportunity to influence the experience and memories of those visiting our state.
So if you’re proud of our state like I am, bring your family and friends to enjoy our new national park soon!