WASHINGTON — Some Maryland national parks and trails will receive a little more federal funding this year, including a local historic land and water path, thanks to the National Park Service.
For example, the Star-Spangled Banner Historic Trail will receive $54,080 in grants to support the Trail to Every Classroom project, according to Congressman John Sarbanes, D-Towson.
Created in 2008, the trail boasts 560 miles of land and water trails from Calvert County to Washington and Baltimore and shows the setting for the events of the War of 1812.
“The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is an important connection to the outdoors and a vital link to our local history,” Sarbanes said in a statement. “With the support of the National Park Service, more Maryland teachers will be able to provide students with rich, hands-on learning experiences about our local history and about protecting our local trails and public lands.”
The Trail to Every Classroom is a professional development initiative aimed at giving students a sense of place while learning, especially along the Appalachian Trail, and helping students get involved in their communities. Sarbanes, along with Reps. Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore, and Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Timonium, and Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, both Democrats, penned a letter of approval back in May to Jonathan Jarvis, the director of the National Park Service.
“I’ve been up and down the Star Spangled Banner Trail,” said Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “I look forward to seeing the Trail to Every Classroom project make positive impacts in more communities across Maryland.”
The grants come from the National Park Service’s Centennial Challenge. In celebration of 100 years of national parks, the agency delegates funds to chosen parks and historical sites to help with renovations. In the past two years, more than 150 projects nationwide have received $25 million in congressional appropriations and more than $45 million partner-matched funds to “improve visitor services, support outreach to new audiences, and strengthen partnerships to reinvigorate national parks and forge connections to new communities,” according to the challenge’s webpage.
“Our national parks are an important part of our heritage and culture, showcasing Maryland’s natural beauty and supporting our tourism economy,” Mikulski said. The vice chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the senator helped to secure $10 million for the Centennial Challenge nationally.
Other Maryland parks that will receive grants include:
- Antietam National Battlefield: construct accessible walkways in Antietam National Cemetery;
- Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park: rehabilitate Conococheague Aqueduct;
- Fort McHenry National Museum and Historic Shrine: youth training to perform historic interpretations;
- George Washington Memorial Parkway: create 16 mobile interpretive exhibit panels; construct an interpretive historic trail in Fort Hunt Park;
- Hampton National Historic Site: repair historic plantation entrance gate;
- Rock Creek Park: construct better stormwater transport; rehabilitate five acres of parkland along Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway.