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 - "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."
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NPCA is a non-profit, private organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System.