The First State Is The Last State To Have A National Park
Oct 20 2009
WASHINGTON (Oct. 20, 2009) – The Delaware delegation today introduced historic legislation to authorize the creation of a national park in Delaware.
Authored by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), this Senate-House legislation is the result of years of local studies and meetings and urging federal action to finally begin to establish a national park system in Delaware.
Called the First State National Historical Park, the proposed park will have a central headquarters in New Castle, and will connect to many other historic sites and attractions across every county in Delaware.
Sen. Carper said: “Every year, millions of Americans plan their vacations around our nation’s national park system. Unfortunately, Delaware is the only state in the country not in the national park system; we will change that with this legislation. In the future, families from all over the country – and all over the world – will be able to consider a trip to Delaware to visit our national park. Those trips will be a significant boost to our economy and will teach new generations of Americans about Delaware’s rich cultural heritage and Delaware’s impacts on our nation’s history.”
“Delaware’s tourism industry is a vital part of the state’s economy,” Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) said. “I hope we finally get Delaware a National Historical Park, as it would be a fitting addition to our relaxing beaches, colonial landmarks and tax-free shopping. All of Delaware’s children and grandchildren would benefit from visits to Old New Castle and the rest of the sites, teaching them about Delaware history and creating memories that will last for the rest of their lives.”
Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) said: “From recreation to exploring history and culture and discovering the natural resources, the benefits of the National Parks Service are many. I have been pleased to work over the last several years with Senator Carper to advance Delaware’s effort in gaining a National Park—with the introduction of the First State National Historical Park Act, Delaware is one step from realizing this goal. A National Historical Park that takes visitors to sites rich in history throughout Delaware will greatly enhance the public’s understanding of all the First State has to offer—putting us firmly on the ‘park’ map once and for all.”
The benefits to Delaware will include a marketing presence through the National Parks Service and its website. Rangers will be on the ground in Delaware leading tours to sites connected with the theme.
Specifically, the legislation recommends creation of a grant program that would be available to the sites and authorizes $3 million for grants to the State of Delaware and non-profit organizations to rehabilitate existing structures to serve as administrative and visitor services facilities for the National Historical Park. It also authorizes $2.5 million for grants to the State, its political subdivisions, private property owners, and non-profit organizations for historic preservation and restoration of resources. And, it suggests the city of New Castle as the Headquarters of the Park.
Once legislation is passed, there will be additional steps, including a National Park Service management study to determine the best way to organize and staff the National Park. However, during this management study period, there will start to be National Park Service personnel in Delaware.