|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||July 8, 2011|
|Contact:||Pam Goddard, Chesapeake and Virginia Program Manager, P: 202.454.3365; C: 202.604.3781
Alison Zemanski, Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association, P: 202.454.3332; C: 202.384.8762
National Parks Group Applauds Legislation to Create National Park at Fort Monroe in Virginia
Statement by NPCA Chesapeake and Virginia Program Manager Pam Goddard
BACKGROUND: Built in the 1800’s, Fort Monroe was dubbed “Freedom’s Fortress” when thousands of enslaved people sought refuge there during the Civil War. In addition to the peninsula’s rich history, it contains more than two miles of rare undeveloped Chesapeake Bay shoreline that could be enjoyed for boating, birding and other outdoor recreation. In September, the U.S. Army will leave the Fort due to base closures, giving our country a rare opportunity to make Fort Monroe a national park site.
“Today, we applaud Virginia Representatives Scott Rigell (R-2nd), Bobby Scott (D-3rd), Rob Wittman (R-1st) and Randy Forbes (R-4th), for introducing the Fort Monroe National Historical Park Establishment Act of 2011, H.R. 2456, a bill that will create a new national park in Hampton, Virginia.
“On behalf of our 600,000 members and supporters, we thank Representatives Rigell, Scott, Wittman and Forbes for their leadership and vision in bringing the creation of a park at Fort Monroe one step closer to fruition. A companion bill, S.1303, was introduced in the United States Senate by Virginia Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner last month and has also received bi-partisan support from state and local elected officials, including Governor Robert McDonnell and Hampton Mayor Molly Ward.
“Establishing a national park at Fort Monroe will also fulfill President Obama’s pledge to create more urban parks as part of his America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. We look forward to working with the Virginia delegation and the Administration as they hold public meetings to advance the protection of this remarkable place.
“Please join NPCA and the National Park Service for two public meetings on July 19 at 2pm and 6:30pm at the Hampton Roads Convention Center. We urge Virginia residents to join us to discuss the future of America’s next great urban national park.”