Heritage in America's Great Outdoors:
Saturday, April 21, 2012
On October 13, 2011, bills were filed in both the United States Senate and House to "establish the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park." The Senate bill was introduced by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), John Kerry (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Scott Brown (R-MA). The House bill was introduced by Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI), Richard E. Neal (D-MA), James McGovern (D-MA), and James Langevin (D-RI). The new multi-site park would encompass the Blackstone River and its tributaries; the Blackstone Canal; Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket; the historic villages of Slatersville and Ashton, Rhode Island; and Whitinsville and Hopedale in Massachusetts. Also, President Barack Obama recently launched the America's Great Outdoors Initiative to develop a 21st-century conservation and recreation agenda and to reconnect Americans to nature.
As these two efforts proceed, how will they impact the Blackstone Valley? What would a new national park look like? Whom would it attract? How do stewards of historic places accommodate recreation, and how do stewards of natural places include historic interpretation and preservation? How does programming and protecting special places advance economic development? These are some of the questions we will consider at the upcoming Preservation Conference in Woonsocket.
The conference program will be available online and in print in March.