HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES HOLT REVOLUTIONARY WAR BATTLEFIELD PROTECTION LEGISLATION
The House Committee on Natural Resources today passed H.R. 160, the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act, legislation Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) introduced to establish a federal grant program specifically for preserving and protecting battle sites associated with the American Revolution and the War of 1812. According to a 2007 National Parks Service (NPS) report, 170 of 677 nationally significant sites associated with the two wars are in danger of being destroyed in the next 10 years, including sites in Trenton and Princeton. At least 33 states could benefit if the bill were to pass. This bill now awaits a vote in the full House of Representatives.
"Places like Trenton and Princeton were truly at the crossroads of the American Revolution, with thousands of troops fighting on our soil" Holt said. "With these lands deteriorating, we owe it to future generations to protect these battle sites and safeguard an important part of our nation's history."
Enactment of Holt's legislation would set aside funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for the preservation and protection of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields and related historical sites, as is currently done for Civil War sites. In addition to the 170 sites in danger of being destroyed within the next 10 years, the NPS "Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States" found that 99 have already been lost forever and 234 are in poor condition.
Last week, a subcommittee of the Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing on Holt's legislation. At the hearing, David Hackett Fischer, a Pulitzer Prize winning author and a Professor of History at Brandeis University, noted, "from long experience I can testify that one of the best ways to learn about history is to go to sites, and get on the ground. This legislation will make it possible for more people to do that in many places throughout the country."