Frequently Asked Questions

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Current Status

What changes?

In the establishment of the national historical park within the context of the national monument, there will be little noticeable change.

What's the difference between the historical park and the monument?

  • The historical park and the portion of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Monument is administered by the NPS as a single unit of the National Park System; which will be referred to which shall be known as "Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park."
  • All park literature and media will refer to Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad NHP. The visitor experience will center on the national historical park and related, partner sites.
  • The NHP shall be administered in accordance with its enabling legislation, Presidential Proclamation No. 8943 creating the monument, and the laws generally applicable to units of the National Park System.

Will there be any changes to or new restrictions on land uses like hunting, fishing, or farming?

Nothing in the act creating the NHP affects agreements between the Secretary and private landowners regarding fishing, hunting, farming or other activities or lands within the boundaries of Blackwater NWR.

Will there be any changes to or new restrictions on land uses?

Nothing in the act creating the NHP affects the land use rights of private property owners within or adjacent to the NHP or the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument.

What can NPS do in terms of land acquisition?

  • The act creating the NHP defines a limited acquisition boundary referred to as "authorized acquisition areas" and depicted on the map as the red, striped areas.
  • These lands may only be acquired by purchase with willing sellers, donation or exchange.
  • No lands or interest in lands may be acquired by condemnation.

What role will park partners play in the NHP?

  • The NHP is fortunate to have a number of operating partners that will be instrumental in protecting and interpreting resources associated with Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.
  • The relationship with Blackwater NWR is outlined above.
  • The NHP has also entered into an agreement with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) and Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park to manage and operate a joint visitor center upon its completion.
  • NPS would continue to collaborate and partner with the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway which is sponsored by the Maryland Tourism and other partners. The Byway is also a member of the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
  • The NHP is entering into an agreement with the Harriet Tubman Organization to develop and execute agreed upon programming, projects, and events that further the understanding of Tubman, the Underground Railroad, and African Americans on the Eastern Shore.

Background Information

What is the park? What does the park include?

  • Public Law 113-291 established Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park.
  • The park will include portions of the monument that are administered by NPS, alone or in partnership, for the purpose of commemorating and interpreting history related to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.
  • Currently the only property that NPS administers is the 480 acre Jacob Jackson home site.
  • The legislation identifies properties that NPS may acquire, including parcels in Dorchester, Caroline, and Talbot Counties.
  • Properties may be acquired by NPS only through donation, exchange, or by purchase from willing sellers. If acquired, they would become a part of the national historical park.

What does the monument include?

  • Legally, the national monument designation stays in place.
  • The monument boundary remains the same.
  • Signage and printed materials that refers to the monument will be replaced by Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park.

What is the relationship between Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad NHP and the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR)?

  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will maintain its existing authorities to manage the Blackwater NWR, including the authority to acquire lands within the refuge acquisition boundary, regardless of whether or not that land is within the national monument boundary.
  • The NPS will enter into an interagency agreement with FWS to allow the NPS to provide for archeological research and public interpretation of historic resources located within the boundary of the Blackwater NWR that are associated with the life of Harriet Tubman.
  • NPS will coordinate with FWS in any management planning for Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad NHP

What is the relationship between Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad NHP in MD and the Harriet Tubman NHP in NY?

  • The Tubman NHP in NY has been "authorized" but has not yet been "established" as a unit of National Park System.
  • For Tubman NHP in NY to be established, the Secretary of the Interior must determine that sufficient lands or interest in lands have been acquired to constitute a manageable park unit.
  • Within 30 days of accomplishing this, the Secretary will announce the establishment of the park in the Federal Register.
  • The two units will be administered as separate units.
  • The two units will cooperate in the development and implementation of a general management plan and do so in cooperation with the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program.

Visitor Experience

What can we see and do now?

  • Tour the 125-mile Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway.
  • Visit the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cambridge, MD.
  • Visit the Sailwinds Visitor Center in Cambridge, MD to learn more about Tubman's life and Eastern Shore Culture.
  • The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park is under development and is expected to open in 2017.
  • Participate in periodic program offerings and activities organized by the park and its partners.

Is the NPS in town? Are there park rangers?

Currently park headquarters is located at Blackwater NWR Visitor Center (2145 Key Wallace Drive) and houses the Superintendent, National Network to Freedom Program Manager and Northeast Region Network to Freedom Coordinator.

What is the status of the Visitor Center?

The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park visitor center is currently under development. Upon completion, it will be jointly operated by NPS and MD DNR and will serve to inform and orient visitors the state and national historical parks. The Visitor Center is expected to be open to the public in 2017.

Where can I have my Passport stamped?

  • Park Headquarters, currently located at the Blackwater NWR
  • Harriet Tubman Organization
  • Sailwinds Visitor Center

Next Steps

What are the next management steps for the NHP?

  • Foundation Planning
    • Defining park purpose, significance, fundamental resources and values, and interpretive themes
    • Identifying planning and research needs
  • Interpretive planning and partnership development through collaborative opportunities like the Tubman conference
  • Social media/publications

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

2145 Key Wallace Drive
Cambridge, MD 21613

Phone:

(267) 838-2376

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