Washington (December 8, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Representative Lori Trahan (MA-03) today introduced the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area Act of 2021, legislation that would eliminate the total funding cap for the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area and extend its authorization to 2036. The Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area spans 994 square miles and encompasses 45 communities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Designated by Congress in 2009, the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area protects and educates visitors about the region where the American Revolution began. Under current law, authorization for the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area will expire on September 30, 2024, if Congress does not act to extend Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area’s ability to receive federal money.
“From Minute Man National Historical Park to the Leominster State Forest and Ralph Waldo Emerson House, the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area preserves the region’s rich history, natural beauty, and revolutionary ideas,” said Senator Markey. “This legislation will ensure that Massachusetts residents and visitors are able to explore the living history in Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area for years to come.”
“The Freedom's Way National Heritage Area stretches across communities in Massachusetts and encompasses rich culture, history, and scenic landscapes. I'm glad to support this legislation so that our communities and future generations can continue to enjoy the treasures of Freedom's Way National Heritage Area,” said Senator Warren.
"So many have benefited from the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area’s beauty and history — particularly Minute Man National Historical Park, a Third District gem,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “With funding set to expire in 2024, it’s imperative that we act swiftly to ensure communities across the region can continue enjoying all the Heritage Area has to offer, from the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge to Walden Pond and beyond. By extending its ability to receive federal funding, this legislation will protect Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area for generations to come.”
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
Since the approval of its management plan by the Secretary of the Interior in July of 2015, the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area has accessed more than $1,600,000 in federal financial assistance and leveraged $1.95 of non-federal match for every dollar of financial assistance accessed. With this funding, the Freedom’s Way Heritage Association—the coordinating entity for the heritage area—has collaborated with nearly 1,300 partners on preservation, conservation, and educational programs and projects across the region.
“To the Townsend Historical Society and many other small-town museums in our region, Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area has been a truly valued partner in historic preservation. Their team has provided crucial support to a wide range of projects including the restoration of unique historic structures and funding reenactments and other educational and entertaining events which help so much to inspire an interest amongst our audiences in honoring and protecting the past,” said Taber Morrell, Site Administrator, Townsend Historical Society.
“The Concord Museum is honored to partner with Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area to bring both iconic and previously hidden figures of the town’s long history to life. With support from Freedom’s Way the museum has offered an exhibition on Paul Revere, virtual field trips for students across the Heritage Area and country, free walking tours for the public, a series of film screenings on the Museum’s front lawn, a free education program on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and an exhibition on William Brewster in Concord. We look forward to continuing to work with Freedom’s Way and heartily support its reauthorization and continued funding to support its extremely important and transformative efforts,” said Tom Putnam, Edward W. Kane Executive Director, Concord Museum.
“The Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area is a region of ‘firsts’ in American invention, thought, and design. It is home to visionaries and experimenters who have been at the forefront of social, intellectual, and cultural innovations that have shaped the way Americans view the world. The Reauthorization Legislation assures their uniquely American stories will continue to be shared, providing inspiration for future generations,” said Patrice Todisco, Executive Director, Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area.