October 24, 2007

CARDIN, MIKULSKI PRAISE HOUSE PASSAGE OF BILL TO CREATE HERITAGE AREA

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both-D-MD) today praised the House passage of bipartisan legislation to create a national heritage area in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania that would help preserve one of the most important corridors of American history, stretching from Gettysburg to Monticello.   The House passed the bill overwhelmingly by a vote of 291-122.

 

The bill would create the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Heritage Area . In 2005, the National Trust for Historic Preservation listed the area as one of the 11 most endangered historic places in the nation. The area, which stretches for 175 miles along the route of the Old Carolina Road from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello near Charlottesville, Virginia, is believed to contain more sites illustrating Revolutionary War, Civil War, and presidential history than any other area of the United States.

 

Some highlights from the area include homes of James Madison, Dwight Eisenhower, Zachary Taylor, Theodore Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson, and Civil War battlefields at Manassas, Monocacy, Ball's Bluff, Antietam, and Gettysburg.

 

"The creation of this heritage area will ensure that future generations will have a better sense of America's past," said Senator Cardin.   "Maryland is the crossroads of American history, home to the Antietam, Monocacy and South Mountain Civil War battlefields, and this project would link the history of our region to the history of our nation in an educational setting."

 

"This bill will help preserve Maryland's historical integrity and promote our tourist economy.   I am proud this funding will help highlight Maryland's glorious, yet painful role in the Civil War and American history - at Antietam and across Western Maryland," said Senator Mikulski. "I will continue to fight to protect the sanctity and character of our battlefields and historic lands."

Since 1996, a group of former developers, local elected officials, and others have been working to save the historic character of the area. The area has been featured in national magazines and newspapers and enjoys the support of dozens of town councils and county commissions. A study to determine the feasibility of establishing the heritage area was completed in September 2006 and submitted to the Secretary of the Interior.

Senators Cardin and Mikulski are cosponsors of a companion bill in the Senate, S. 289.   They are joined by Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA), Bob Casey (D-PA), John Warner (R-VA) and Jim Webb (D-VA).

The legislation specifically prohibits the use of federal funds to acquire property for this project.