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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Joy Oakes, Senior Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association,
Federal Court Opts Out of Hearing Case on Future of Valley Forge National Historical Park
Statement by NPCA Senior Regional Director Joy Oakes
WASHINGTON - April 9 - "We are disappointed by Judge Brody's decision not to exercise the option available to the court to claim jurisdiction over the federal lawsuit we brought along with a group of Lower Providence residents. The federal court is the right venue for this case, as there is a strong federal interest in protecting one of America's national icons, Valley Forge National Historical Park (NHP). But, without addressing their merits, the court ruled that our claims should be decided in a state court instead of a federal court."
"Contrary to the American Revolution Center (ARC) and Lower Providence Township's claim that this is only a local matter, Congress established Valley Forge NHP in 1976 to preserve it for all Americans and our children and grandchildren to enjoy. In 1980, Congress expanded the park's boundaries to include the land where ARC plans to build because Congress deemed it critical to understanding George Washington's army's encampment at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778. In 1999, Congress approved legislation authorizing construction of a Revolutionary War museum at the national park, but made it clear that it did not want such a museum to interfere with management of the park or the preservation of its historic land."
"Just as ARC announced this week that they will defer construction of the commercialized hotel and conference center, they could announce at any time to move forward with those damaging plans because the rezoning of the property allows for this development, and more, on historic land critical to the Continental Army's encampment."
"The National Parks Conservation Association and local residents remain committed to protecting this historic icon for our children and grandchildren to enjoy. We are reviewing the decision to decide the best option for the preservation of Valley Forge's future."