Kerry, Kennedy Announce Legislation to Preserve Region's Historic Sites in Final Stages
Senators John Kerry and Edward Kennedy today announced that both the Freedom's Way National Heritage Act and the New England National Scenic Trail Designation Act are in the final stages and are another step closer to becoming law. Both Acts have passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and are on their way to being considered by the full Senate.
"Both the Freedom's Way National Heritage Act and the New England National Scenic Trail Designation Act will bring immeasurable economic benefits to the region and will allow our communities to preserve the area's countless historic sites. Massachusetts played a crucial role in the founding of our great nation, and this legislation will ensure that our children and our children's children will be able to learn from and enjoy all the area has to offer," said Senator Kerry.
"Preserving these extraordinary historical sites is vital to our citizens' understanding of who we are as a Commonwealth," said Senator Kennedy. "Our goal is to protect important parts of our heritage for generations to enjoy and learn from."
The Freedom's Way National Heritage Area would include 37 communities in Massachusetts and eight communities in New Hampshire. The area highlights the history of the New England landscape, including colonial life, the American Revolution, and early social justice, religious, abolitionist, and conservationist movements. Significant examples of the area's unique resources include Minute Man National Historical Park in Lexington and Concord, where the "shot heard round the world was fired;" Walden Pond, which inspired Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman; and Shaker Villages in Shirley and Harvard.
The New England National Scenic Trail Designation aims to add the 220-mile New England National Scenic Trail to the National Trails System. The New England National Scenic Trail passes through 39 communities from Long Island Sound through Connecticut to the Massachusetts-New Hampshire Border. The Trail's origins are largely unknown, but they are believed to have been Native American paths later used by hunters. Tribal sites have been found in the region dating from 9,000 B.C. The Trail is primarily composed of the 190-mile Metacomet-Manadnock-Mattabesett Trail System.