Pryor Applauds Passage of Historical Landmarks Bill
Includes Provisions for Three Arkansas Landmarks
Senator Mark Pryor today applauded the passage of legislation to designate three Arkansas sites as national historical landmarks. The bill, also known as the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act, includes provisions for the Clinton Birthplace, the Butterfield Overland Trail and the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.
"These federal resources will help ensure Arkansas' rich history is well-documented through these historical sites. These landmarks will spur tourism, create jobs and provide a unique educational experience for generations of Arkansans," said Pryor. "The entire congressional delegation recognizes the importance of these sites, particularly within their local communities, and has worked relentlessly to advance these projects through the legislative process."
Built in 1917 in Hope, AR, the legislation will allow the U.S. Secretary of Interior to acquire the Clinton Birthplace Foundation by donation and designate it as a National Historic Site. It will then become one of 32 Presidential Sites to be operated, maintained and staffed by the National Park Service.
"Preserving this historical home recognizes the humble beginnings of one of our greatest Presidents," said Pryor. "The resources of the National Park System will enhance major renovations made by the Clinton Birthplace Foundation and continue to educate and inspire thousands of visitors each year."
Butterfield Overland Trail
Before the establishment of railroads and the Pony Express, the Butterfield Overland Trail played a vital role connecting the East with the rapidly expanding West as a stagecoach and wagon route during the mid 1800s. The legislation authorizes the study of the historical Ox-Bow section of the Trail as a potential addition to the National Trails System.
"This route brought new ideas and economic growth to the northwest region of Arkansas during the mid 19th century," said Pryor. "It is critical that we preserve this piece of history and recognize the impact the "Ox-Bow Route" had on the lives of our ancestors," said Pryor.
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
Twenty-two years after Congress first authorized the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, scholars and trail enthusiasts have gathered a significant amount of information identifying additional routes and landmarks. The legislation encourages the U.S. Secretary of Interior to incorporate the Benge and Belle routes in an effort to better preserve the path where 16,000 Cherokee marched to find new land.
"We must teach our children the mistakes of the past so that they are never repeated again," said Pryor. "Incorporating the Benge and Belle routes will draw a more accurate picture of what the Cherokee people endured during their massive migration westward."
Pryor said these Arkansas projects are a part of a larger public lands bill. The legislation is expected to pass the House of Representatives in the near future and be signed into law by President Obama.