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Statement about the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area (PDF)

Testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Resources and National Parks- June 17, 2003 (PDF)

The proposed Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area is

1. an opportunity to shift the consciousness and change the culture** in New Jersey once we understand that the ground we walk on is sacred

  • During the six years of conflict from the first shots at Lexington in 1775 to the surrender at Yorktown in 1781, there were more clashes between opposing forces in New Jersey than in any other colony (296 engagements, including the largest land artillery battle, the "Ten Crucial Days" immortalized as "the times that try men's souls," the encampments in Morristown and MiddleBrook, and the farms, mines, and mills that supplied both armies as they fought their way back and forth across our landscape).
  • The basic freedoms of our country were dearly bought with the blood of English, Hessian, Jewish, Scotch, Irish, Dutch, German and African persons-soldiers and civilians, men, women and children-who lived, fought and died on New Jersey soil.
  • A clear sense of our historic culture can bring pride, dignity, identity, orientation, wisdom, inspiration, hope, faith, connection, and a feeling of belonging-and provide the role models and the faith and courage we need to cope with our culture's problems today.

2. a chance to tout New Jersey's peerless heritage and show how New Jersey's spectacular landscape contributed to the winning of the Revolutionary War

  • We saw what NJ & YOU: Perfect Together did to increase tourism and create a more positive image for NJ (internally and externally).
  • Imagine what would be possible if the tourism industry got behind a modest increase in the tourism tax (bringing it to a par with other states and paid for by the 70%of out-of-state tourists) and dedicated it to a statewide media campaign highlighting NJ's wealth of Revolutionary War landscapes, battle sites, historic houses and taverns-to improvement of historic sites and landscapes, and all the ways there are to enjoy them. Tourism is already NJ's 2nd biggest industry--$31 billion in revenues.
  • Elder hostels and youth hostels, tour groups from around the nation and around the world, and day tripers (from the 25% of the nation's population that lives within a 5-hour drive of NJ) will come to see New Jersey: the Crossroads of the American Revolution.

3. an unbeatable partnership among environmental and historic advocates, recreational users and sportsmen, heritage tourists, eco-tourists, and cultural tourists

  • Combining the opportunity to preserve biodiversity, maintain and improve watersheds, provide recreational opportunities, protect and preserve historic sites, maintain farmland, retain the aesthetic character of the landscape, and restore historic landscape settings
  • Creating wonderful opportunities for interdisciplinary education through the preservation and interpretation of our biological and historical diversity
  • Encouraging the best use of scarce resources through a management plan that will preserve and protect important Revolutionary sites, including buildings, vistas, and landscapes for conservation, educational, and recreational purposes.

**In several man-on-the-street interviews in NJ on July 4th, 2002, many people were unable to say why we were celebrating July 4th and others were unaware of whether the Revolutionary War came before or after the Civil War.
Email us: crossroads@heritagetrail.org

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