WASHINGTON, March 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Conservation and community leaders are celebrating President Barack Obama's commitment to designate five new national monuments on March 25. The new monuments will permanently protect historic lands and open space important for outdoor recreation.
The Conservation Fund played a key role in two of the designations -- the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland and the First State National Monument in Delaware and Pennsylvania -- by donating core lands for the monuments to the National Park Service. The Fund has also worked for years to protect lands in the San Juan Islands, home to a third monument site.
"We're grateful to President Obama for his leadership and to all the supporters who have made it possible to conserve these special places," said Lawrence Selzer, The Conservation Fund's president and CEO. "From business owners to tourism officials and Boy Scouts, we've seen an outpouring of support for protecting the places where history has been made and generations of Americans continue to rediscover our magnificent outdoors."
Although Delaware is dubbed "the first state," it's the last without a national monument or park. Thanks to a generous gift from Mt. Cuba Center, The Conservation Fund was able to purchase and donate a historic 1100-acre property, known as Woodlawn, slated to be a key part of the First State National Monument. In a 2012 public meeting, a standing-room-only crowd of more than 500, representing all parts of the community, overwhelmingly voiced support for the designation. Over 1,000 supportive letters also poured into congressional offices.For Maryland's Harriet Tubman monument, The Conservation Fund donated a 480-acre property that once included the home site of Jacob Jackson, who helped Tubman rescue her brothers from slavery. Tubman, a true American hero, escaped from slavery and then returned to Maryland's Eastern Shore repeatedly to smuggle others to freedom up North. The Conservation Fund and its partners have worked for more than a decade to preserve lands that tell Tubman's daring story. This particular property was identified by the Park Service as a top conservation priority. The Conservation Fund has worked with the Park Service on 200 projects to save historic places across America.