January 23, 2020

Obama signs bill for national park along the Blackstone River

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — President Obama signed legislation Friday establishing a national park at eight sites that dot the Blackstone River, according to an announcement by Sen. Jack Reed.

The Blackstone River Valley National Park will include the Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket, which is regarded as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, and the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, in addition to three more Rhode Island sites and three sites in Massachusetts.

In a news release, Reed said the Blackstone Valley “is finally getting the recognition it deserves.”

“This new park will help preserve the character and historical significance of the area and tell visitors about an important chapter in American history,” he said.

The park is located within the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, which runs from Worcester to Providence and was established in 1986. The corridor along the 45-mile river is also getting renewed federal funding to the tune of $650,000 as part of the law championed by Reed and signed by the president.

Congress has not appropriated any money for the park itself. In fact, the government has yet to determine its specific boundaries. That will be done “with the input of the states, local communities, and interested stakeholders,” Reed’s news release said.

“This designation will help preserve key historical, cultural, and environmental resources for future generations,” the senator said. “It will help educate people about our past and contribute to our economic future by supporting tourism and recreational opportunities.”

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Obama signs bill for national park along the Blackstone River