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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2009

SCHUMER ANNOUNCES: LOCAL PRESERVATION EXPERT MARA FARRELL TO TESTIFY AT SENATE HEARING ON SCHUMER BILL TO PRESERVE FISHKILL REVOLUTIONARY WAR CAMP


Site Does Not Qualify For Funding Under Existing Preservation Program - Schumer Introduced Legislation To Make Site Eligible For Funding To Purchase And Preserve Historic Land

Schumer Recommended Preservation Expert And Fishkill Depot Advocate Mara Farrell As A Witness For National Parks Senate Subcommittee On His Legislation

Schumer Visited Fishkill Location In June To Announce Legislation To Provide Funding To Preserve Historic Site

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, today announced that local preservation expert and Fishkill Depot advocate Mara Farrell will be testifying before the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks this Wednesday, July 15th, in favor of Schumer’s legislation to make the Supply Depot in Fishkill eligible for federal preservation funds.   The existing preservation program that provides funding for communities to purchase and preserve significant historic locations, the American Battlefield Protection Program, currently only applies to sites that are listed in the 1993 Civil War Sites Advisory Commission Report on the Nation's Civil War Battlefields. Schumer’s legislation will expand this program to include historic sites that are listed in the 2007 Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the U.S. the Fishkill Supply Depot is included.  The legislation would also double the authorized funding for the program from $10 million per year to $20 million per year. 

The hearing in the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks is a critical step in the legislative process.  Next the bill will go to the full committee on Energy and Natural Resources, then to the full Senate for a vote.  The legislation has already passed the House of Representatives.  Schumer visited the Fishkill location on June 1st to announce his legislation.  Schumer was joined by Farrell, Fishkill Town Supervisor Joan Pagones, Dutchess Legislator Alison Macavery, and representatives of Fishkill Historical Focus, the Trust for Public Land, and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.

 “We are making steady progress in our efforts to preserve the historic Fishkill Supply depot for generations to come,” said Schumer.  “With Mara going to bat for us, I have full confidence that my legislation will continue its forward march, and soon the community will have the tools and resources it needs.”

Mara Farrell is the founder of Fishkill Historical Focus, a group dedicated to preserving and protecting the Fishkill Supply Depot and Encampment.  Mara holds an undergraduate degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a graduate degree from Columbia University and owns a consulting company based in Beacon, NY. 

Recent archeological investigations and ground-penetrating radar scans have located hundreds of graves, dating back to the 18th century, and it is anticipated that the number of graves on the site could be more than 1,000. Much of the Fishkill Supply Depot site has been covered by development, and there have been further plans for the construction of a shopping center. 

The National Park Service (NPS) makes available $10,000,000 a year from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to help States and local communities acquire and preserve threatened Civil War Battlefields.  The Civil War Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants (CWBLAG) are administered by the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) and awarded through a competitive process.  Schumer’s legislation will ensure that the Fishkill Supply Depot is eligible for these funds, and will double the amount of money authorized. 

 

The Fishkill Supply Depot was used during the Revolutionary War as a hub for food and supplies and as a camp for soldiers of the Continental Army. An important supply center in the New York region, the depot was visited by George Washington and was actively used by the army from 1776-1783.  The site played an important role in the Continental Army’s fight to prevent the advance of the British Army and ultimately win independence.

Despite its historical significance, little remains of the original structures at the Fishkill Supply Depot today. Much of this significant historic site has been developed into a shopping mall and a gas station.  Now, once more, land belonging to the supply depot, which has never been properly assessed by experts in the field of military archaeology, is being seriously threatened by a new round of commercial development.

The American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) promotes the preservation of significant historic battlefields associated with wars on American soil. The goals of the program are 1) to protect battlefields and sites associated with armed conflicts that influenced the course of our history, 2) to encourage and assist all Americans in planning for the preservation, management, and interpretation of these sites, and 3) to raise awareness of the importance of preserving battlefields and related sites for future generations. The ABPP focuses primarily on land use, cultural resource and site management planning, and public education.

Both the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission Report on the Nation's Civil War Battlefields and the Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the U.S. were commissioned by Congress and compiled by the National Parks Service. 

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