Sen. Cardin Invites Discussion on Tubman Monument - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sen. Cardin Invites Discussion on Tubman Monument

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CAMBRIDGE, Md. - A meeting about the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument and Historical Park in Dorchester County was held Friday evening to help locals understand issues surrounding the park's development.

US Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland introduced a bill that would make parts of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge a historical park in honor of Tubman, a woman who fought to abolish slavery, and was also born in Dorchester County.

President Obama then established the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument.
Landowners within the boundaries of this park got a chance to voice their concerns over management of the land to Sen. Cardin's legislative assistant, Josh Klein, as well as officials from the National Park Service.

Once the park is actually established, the NPS will develop a management plan. However, landowners like Rick Abend are concerned problems could arise.

"I'm still worried about them managing it because I know they don't have the resources to do it properly," he explained.

But according to Cherie Butler, the monument's superintendent, the NPS will work with landowners in developing its plan.

"The next step would be to offer workshops to the community so they can come in and provide input to help us direct the direction of the park," she said.

When the bill was first introduced, landowners were also concerned about losing property rights, but the meeting eased some of those fears.

According to Klein, the NPS cannot determine any use of private property in the boundary and people can continue activities as usual.

"It sounds like I'm not necessarily going to be impacted by it unless I want to be a willing landowner and sell or donate land to them," Abend said.
The NPS is willing to look into land acquisition if the property owner so chooses.
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