Natl. Park Status Coming for Del. Sites
Drawing on a seldom-noticed executive authority, President Barack Obama will declare a three-part national monument in Delaware, a first for the state and a move that some officials describe as a step closer to creation of a full-fledged national park, the News Journal, Wilmington, Del., reported.
Obama’s action under the Antiquities Act, expected Monday (March 25), will designate the grassy area of the The Green in Dover, the New Castle Court complex and the 1,100-acre Woodlawn property adjacent to and north of Brandywine Creek State Park as a unified symbol of the state’s colonial heritage and its role in the nation’s founding under the Constitution.
National Park Service employees will manage all three sites, which will take in the New Castle Green and Old Sheriff’s House as well as the Courthouse.
The monument will be the state’s “first national park” and will tell the story of the early Dutch, Swedish, Finnish and English settlement of the colony of Delaware, as well as the state’s role as the first state to ratify the Constitution, according to a White House official who described the plan Thursday under the condition that he not be named because the formal announcement is not expected until next week.
Vice President Joe Biden, former U.S. senator from Delaware, greeted the news with enthusiasm.
“This national monument will tell the story of the essential role my state played in the history of the United States,” Biden said in a statement released by his office Thursday night. “I couldn’t be more proud to call Delaware home.”
Obama also plans to designate monuments in Maryland, Ohio, New Mexico and Washington state on Monday, bringing the total such actions under his presidency to nine. The Antiquities Act dates to 1906 and President Theodore Roosevelt and figures in sites ranging from the Statue of Liberty to Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients. Presidents can take the step without congressional approval, unlike a formal park designation. Many monuments eventually become parks, including the Grand Canyon.