Press Releases

Senator Carper Introduces National Park Legislation

Innovative Plan Would Link Historic Sites Across Delaware

Oct 06 2004

Washington (October 6, 2004) – Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., today introduced the Delaware National Coastal Special Resources Study Act. The bill, which was co-sponsored by Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to study the feasibility of establishing a National Park Service unit in Delaware. The study, which would be done in cooperation with the state of Delaware, the coastal communities, and the general public, would more fully explore the proposal’s concept and direction. The Park Service would then recommend to Congress whether a national park in Delaware should be created and how much it would cost to construct. Based on those recommendations, Sen. Carper would then seek legislation to authorize and fund the park itself. From beginning to end, the process to establish the national park could take several years. By introducing the legislation today, Senator Carper is laying down a marker at the end of this Congress to set the stage for reintroducing and pushing the bill in the next Congress. Currently, Delaware is the only state without a unit of the National Park Service. But after nearly two years of research and planning that involved state officials, community leaders and activists, Carper is recommending the creation of a national park that encompasses various historic and recreational sites highlighting Delaware’s unique coastal heritage. “Delaware has many historic places for people to explore and enjoy, but what’s lacking is a cohesive structure and theme to our various places of interest,” said Senator Carper. “Establishing a national park to celebrate our coastal heritage would help make Delawareans and out of state visitors more aware of our unique history, as well as provide a significant boost to tourism and to our state’s economy.” "I commend my colleague for bringing together a committee of dedicated Delawareans to analyze the validity of a national park in the State of Delaware," said Senator Biden. "After much deliberation, the Committee suggested a series of four interpretive centers, scattered throughout the state, to highlight the many facets of our state. The plan is unique and innovative and distinctly Delaware, and I am proud to co-sponsor the legislation." Unlike other national parks, such as the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park, Carper’s proposal would not set aside a giant land area for preservation or recreational purposes. Instead, the proposal would create a national park unique both in its physical dimensions and overall theme. The park would link various sites across the state that tell the story of the state’s coastal heritage, from the days of the area’s earliest inhabitants to the bustling financial, tourism and recreational area Delaware has become. Among the themes the park will highlight: the history of indigenous peoples, colonization and establishment of the Frontier, that nation’s founding, industrial development, transportation, coastal defense, the Underground Railroad, and the coastal environment. For a more detailed description of Senator Carper’s national park proposal visit Carper’s website at: http://carper.senate.gov/.