April 11, 2008

CARDIN, MIKULSKI PRAISE SENATE PASSAGE OF BILL TO CREATE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER TRAIL AND NEW HERITAGE AREA TO HONOR OUR REGION'S PAST

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both-D-MD) praised Senate passage of legislation to create a new National Historic Trail and a National Heritage Area to honor Maryland and our region's historic past and links to the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War.   

 

The Senate bill contains Senator Cardin's proposal to designate the route of the British invasion during the War of 1812 as the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. The Bicentennial of the War of 1812 will be celebrated in 2012, and Maryland is expecting a large increase in tourists who want to commemorate the historic event.   U.S. Congressman John Sarbanes (MD-3) has also introduced similar legislation in the House.

 

The National Historic Trails system commemorates major routes of historic travel and events that have shaped American history.   The Star-Spangled Banner Trail will begin with the June 1814 battle between the British Navy and the American Chesapeake Flotilla in St. Leonard's Creek in Calvert County, follows the British landing at Benedict on the Patuxent River, the Battle of Bladensburg, and then moves on to the British march into Washington, D.C., which was sacked and burned. From Washington, it follows the British campaign to the Battle of North Point and on to Baltimore, ending at Fort McHenry, site of the defeat of the British and where Francis Scott Key composed our National Anthem.

 

The measure also will 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, South Mountain and Gettysburg.

 

"I am extremely pleased that the Senate recognized the importance of Maryland and our region's unique place in our nation's history," said Senator Cardin.   "The creation of the Star-Spangled Banner Trail and the National Heritage Area will provide a wonderful opportunity to ensure that future generations have a much better appreciation of America's past and of Maryland's important contributions to it."

 

"I am proud to be from a state with such a rich heritage and culture as Maryland.  This is a federal investment in preserving Maryland's national treasures and historical integrity," said Senator Mikulski.  "The Star Spangled Banner Trail and National Heritage Area honor our key role in American history for generations to come."

The legislation designates the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership as the Heritage Area's management entity to assist with developing and implementing a management plan in coordination with the Secretary of Interior.   The Heritage Area designation will allow local, state, and federal officials to work with landowners and business leaders to better promote the history of the area.

In 1999, as a Congressman, then-Rep. Cardin introduced legislation directing the National Park Service to conduct a feasibility study of designating routes used by the British and Americans during the War of 1812 as a National Historic Trail.   The study was completed in 2004 and concluded that the proposed Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail meets all the criteria for inclusion in the National Historic Trail system.

 

Senators Cardin and Mikulski and Congressman Sarbanes also have introduced legislation to establish the Star Spangled Banner War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission to help plan, and coordinate the 200 th anniversary celebration in 2012.