The Harriet Tubman National Monument received White House and National Park Service recognition this week, giving it federal recognition at the same historical and cultural level as monuments like the Statue of Liberty. And rightfully so.
The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument becomes the 399th unit of the National Parks System, according to the press release. It continues:
The National Park Service’s (NPS) annual peer-reviewed report found that the 279 million visitors to our national parks generated $30.1 billion in economic activity and supported 252,000 jobs nationwide in 2011. More than one third of that total spending, or $13 billion, went directly into communities within 60 miles of a park, and the national parks return more than $10 for every $1 the American taxpayer invests in the National Park Service.
Noemi Lujan Perez, the deputy chief of communications for the National Fish & Wildlife Service told us via email that the Underground Railroad and the Harriet Tubman marker have been two different things. The Underground Railroad, along with its marshes and landscape, have been kept in its pristine condition. So, chillingly and significantly, what you see when you visit is very much like the terrain and wildlife that Harriet Tubman and the people she helped would have encountered in their daring escapes.
“What the ‘Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument’ (HTURNM) designation does is ‘codify’ the two areas into one entire monument. Yes, the Underground Railroad “passage” will remain protected through the National Wildlife Refuge System,” Perez wrote to us. “However, enter in the National Park System which will now protect the Harriet Tubman area (the entire HTURNM), and elevate it to national prominence muck like the ML King memorial and the Statue of Liberty.”
This sounds like a must-see the next time you’re in Maryland.