Another year, another try for Delaware’s national park

If at first (or second) you don’t succeed, try try again.  That’s the motto of Delaware’s Congressional Delegation when it comes to establishing a national park in the First State.

Delaware Senators Chris Coons and Tom Carper and Congressman John Carney, all Democrats, have reintroduced legislation that would create a national park in Delaware, which is the only state in the country without one.  

The First State National Historical Park Act of 2013 would create the park celebrating the American Dutch, Swedish and English settlers who arrived in the New World and established communities on land that would later become Delaware.  “This national park would tell the story of our state’s early settlements and its role in helping to launch the most enduring experiment in democracy the world has ever known – the United States of America,” said Sen. Carper.

The delegation has been unsuccessful in getting similar legislation passed in the last two sessions of Congress.  Most recently, the Senate version of the bill was passed out of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a voice vote, but it didn’t make it any further.  

The legislation calls for a variety of sites to be included in the state’s national park.  They include: 

The Old Sheriff’s House
Old New Castle Courthouse
New Castle Green
Old Swedes Church National Historic Landmark
Fort Christina National Historic Landmark
Dover Green
John Dickinson Plantation National Historic Landmark
Ryves Hold House
Woodlawn Trust Property.

The Woodlawn Trust Property is the only new addition to the list from previous legislation.  The property includes more than 1,000 acres along the Delaware/Pennsylvania border.  

Congressman Carney is optimistic that this third attempt to get the park approved will be the charm.  “We made significant progress on this legislation last Congress, and I’m hopeful that we can finish the job in the next two years.”

You can read more about the legislation on Sen. Carper’s website.  

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.