Obama set to designate Brandywine Valley and other land as Delaware's first national monument

Posted: March 23, 2013

President Obama will sign a proclamation Monday to designate several historic properties in Delaware and 1,100 acres of the Brandywine Valley along the Delaware-Pennsylvania border as First State National Monument, a White House office has disclosed.

The property, which includes acreage in Chadds Ford, Delaware County, is the state of Delaware's first inclusion under the National Park Service. The park will be a testament to early Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, and English settlements, as well as Delaware's role as the first state to ratify the Constitution.

"This national monument will tell the story of the essential role my state played in the history of the United States. I couldn't be more proud to call Delaware home," said Vice President Biden.

The drive to turn the property into either a national monument or national park - there is pending legislation for the latter - has had wide support from conservationists, community and civic groups, elected officials, and the Lenni-Lenape tribe.

The Brandywine acres were purchased by the Conservation Fund last year with a $20 million donation from Delaware's Mount Cuba Center, a conservation and horticultural nonprofit associated with the du Pont family. The fund has committed to donating the land to the park service if it becomes a national monument or park.

Sen. Tom Carper (D., Del.), a sponsor of the national park legislation and a longtime supporter of Delaware's having its own national park, thanked the president and said he still wanted to work on national park status.

"Today, not only does the national park system gain an important story about the crucial role the First State played in the founding of our country - a story that will be preserved for generations to come - but our state can now welcome the many economic opportunities that surround a new national monument and can help boost local business and create jobs," Carper said.

The property will be managed by the park service.

"It's fitting that the National Park Service round out its presence in every state by establishing a park in the very first state," said Blaine Phillips, mid-Atlantic regional director for the Conservation Fund.

Contact Rita Giordano at 610-313-8232, rgiordano@phillynews.com or on Twitter @ritagiordano.

comments powered by Disqus