Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns pushes for national park in Delaware

Loud applause greeted former Delaware resident Ken Burns, who made a stop in old New Castle Thursday, to rally for a national park here.

Two years ago, the award-winning filmmaker produced a documentary about the national park system titled, America’s Best Idea — the National Park System.

Addressing a packed room inside the Old New Castle Courthouse, the award-winning filmmaker couldn’t undersand how a state known as “The First State,” because it was the first state to ratify the Constitution, could be the last state to have a national park.

“And now we’ve let everybody else come in with their national park sites and now it’s time for us to have ours,” said Burns. “It is so, so important that this state where it all began has sites that reflect an extraordinarily old, among the oldest, histories on this continent.”

Alongside members of Delaware’s Congressional Delegation, Burns toured the old New Castle Courthouse and the Old Sheriff’s House — just two of several proposed park sites.

Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware) has been pushing for a national park for years and is anticipating a long road ahead getting the bill passed in Congress.

“We’ll work hard, it’s not going to be easy, it’s running a marathon, but I don’t see the finish line yet, but I know it’s out there and we’ll get there,” said Carper.

The park would celebrate early American Dutch, Swedish and English settlements in each of the state’s three counties, and highlight the state’s role in the founding of our nation.

And in addition to sharing Delaware’s rich history, Carper says a national park also helps stimulate the economy to the tune of anywhere from tens of millions to hundreds of millions.

“Aside from the fact that we want to preserve our history and share with people around the world what our history is, the idea is that we also can, through the tourism, have a great boom for our state.”

State lawmakers introduced The First State National Historical Park Act of 2011 in February.

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