President Obama signs off on national park

President Obama signs off on national park

With the stroke of President Obama's pen, Rhode Island is now home to America's newest national historical park. Obama on Friday signed U.S. Senator Jack Reed’s legislation, the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park Establishment Act, into law, creating a national historical park in the area that gave birth to America’s Industrial Revolution.

The multi-site park will encompass areas of the Blackstone River and Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket, as well as significant sites in nearby mill towns, including Slatersville in North Smithfield, Ashton in Cumberland, and Whitinsville and Hopedale in Massachusetts.

Obama signed Reed’s measure as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, which Reed, a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, played a key role in crafting.

Reed, who also serves as the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior & Environment, wrote the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park Establishment Act to establish a new unit of the national park system within the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. The law also makes the corridor eligible for six more years of federal funding while organizers work on creating the new national historical park.

“The Blackstone Valley is a national treasure that is finally getting the recognition it deserves," said Reed in a statement. "It is the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution and this new park will help preserve the character and historical significance of the area and tell visitors about an important chapter in American history. Ultimately, we want it to be a place that enhances tourism, educational, environmental, and recreation opportunities, while preserving this unique piece of American history."

Designated as a National Heritage Corridor in 1986 by Congress, the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor links 24 communities along the Blackstone River from Providence to Worcester, Mass.

Designating the area as a national historical park and making it a permanent part of the country's national park system "is a fitting way to honor our industrial heritage and give Rhode Island the recognition it deserves in shaping our nation’s history,” according to Reed. “This designation will help preserve key historical, cultural, and environmental resources for future generations. It will help educate people about our past and contribute to our economic future by supporting tourism and recreational opportunities.”

Now that the bill has been signed into law, the National Park Service will begin to lay the groundwork for developing a general management plan to guide long-term management of the park and determine the scope of its boundaries with the input of the states, local communities, and interested stakeholders. Congress must also appropriate federal funding for the park.


Wonderful news. I know a lot of hard work from a lot of good people went into making this a reality.

Thank you and congrats to all the communities.

This is nice and all but what does it have to do with National Defense Authorization Act?
More flim flaming from crooks like Reed to bury funding of crap that has noting to do with the fund itself. How about funding it under where it belongs, oh let's say for instance, Under National Parks budget? Because it wouldn't.
Thank you Mr. Reed for allowing the 51% of taxpaying Americans fund all your little pet projects.

Has anyone seen the construction limitations/regulations if you fall within the national park boundaries? Another Coastal Resources Management Council who will tell you what to do with your property for the good of all? Hmmm?

Nope, stop the stupid trillion dollar wars (Iraq) and policing the world for the US Military jobs program. Bring the money home and invest here. With Christmas made in China, i can see no reason to celebrate the Industrial Revolution.

SteveLemois, where are the "construction limitations/regulations if you fall within the national park boundaries?" Do you have a link or other source?

Back in the early 80's, they sold everyone on the new Heritage Corridor being a "protected conservation area". Who wouldn't be in support of that? So, when the federal money was approved, everyone rejoiced that funding had been secured! That's about the time that all of us who live in the valley found out what they planned on spending the money on! They started with cutting down WAY too many beautiful trees and then the bulldozers came in and cut a wide path through the wooded path along the previously untouched river valley. Then the fences, the guardrails, the signs and the people...LOTS of people! It's never been the same and now they've made it a National Park, complete with all the regulations that this designation brings...and I'm guessing MORE people! And where there's federal money to be had, you can be sure that there will be corruption and unscrupulous behavior. What's wrong with conserving open spaces by just leaving them alone?