Bipartisan legislation was introduced in the Senate and in the House during the opening days of the 110th Congress that, if passed, would designate the 175-mile corridor encompassing many historic lands in four states along U.S. Route 15, including Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, a National Heritage Area.
Senator John Warner, R-VA, introduced the "Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area Act" (S.289) in the Senate with principal co-sponsor Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, D-MD. The two co-sponsors were joined by Senators Jim Webb, D-VA, Barbara A. Mikulski, D-MD, Robert P. Casey, Jr., D-PA, and John D. Rockefeller, IV, D-WV, in sponsoring the legislation.
In introducing the bill, Senator Warner said, "In Virginia, we are lucky to have a region that is worthy of the recognition and celebration that a National Heritage Area designation affords. No area in America could possibly be more deserving of this status than the corridor affectionately known as The Journey Through Hallowed Ground. I intend to work with my colleagues in the Senate to give it the historic recognition that it deserves."
U.S. Representative Frank Wolf, R-VA, introduced a companion bill (HR.319) in the House of Representatives with co-sponsorship from his House colleagues: Representatives Eric I. Cantor, R-VA, Jo Anne Davis, R-VA, Tom Davis, R-VA, Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, Bobby Scott, D-VA, Todd R. Platts, R-PA, James P. Moran, D-VA, Jim McCrery, R-LA, Ted Poe, R-TX, Mark Souder, R-IN, Alcee Hastings, D-FL, Albert Wynn, D-MD, Jim Saxton, R-NJ, and Rick Boucher, D-VA.
"America's history can literally be traced along this corridor," Wolf said. "The Monroe Doctrine, the Marshall Plan and the Camp David Accords were penned right there in our backyard."
"The proposed Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area would be one of the nation's most historic," said Kat Imhoff, chairman of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Board of Trustees and Vice President, Thomas Jefferson Foundation. "If enacted, this National Heritage Area would benefit the region's citizenry, the region's economic prospects and shine a national spotlight on the lessons of American leadership that are told through the history of the region."
Generally following the path of the Old Carolina Road (today's Route 15), the "Journey Through Hallowed Ground" area is home to considerable historic, cultural, and natural treasures such as Monticello, Montpelier, Manassas, and Gettysburg. The area encompasses eight Presidential homes or sites, 15 National Historic Landmarks, the Jeffersonian World Heritage Site which includes Monticello and the University of Virginia, 47 historic districts, with a significant number of Revolutionary War sites and the largest collection of Civil War battlefields in America.
"We are enormously grateful for the leadership of Congressman Wolf and Senator Warner, both of whom have shown steadfast support in response to the request of over 150 partnering organizations, landowners and businesses to seek the honorary recognition this region deserves," said Cate Magennis Wyatt, President of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.
Now introduced in the Senate as S.289, the legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for consideration. In the House, HR.319 is now under consideration with the House Committee on Resources.
The bill was first introduced in the House and Senate last April but not enacted before the 109th Congress adjourned in December.
The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising national and local awareness of the unparalleled history in the region, which generally follows the Old Carolina Road (Rt. 15/231) from Gettysburg, through Maryland, to Monticello in Albemarle County, VA. From its communities, farms, businesses and heritage sites, we'll celebrate and preserve this vital fabric of America which stands today in the historic, scenic and natural beauty of this region. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground is dedicated to encouraging both Americans and world visitors to appreciate, respect, and experience this cultural landscape that makes it uniquely American.