WHEREAS, New Jersey was the crossroads of the American Revolution, both because of its location along the primary north/south land route within the American colonies, and because it was situated between the British headquarters in New York City and the Continental Congress in Philadelphia; and
WHEREAS, New Jersey's location between the warring parties was such that from the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 until the formal British surrender in 1783, continuous civil war took place on New Jersey soil between individuals and communities loyal to the Crown and those seeking independence for the American colonies; with the result that nowhere in the 13 colonies was the cost to the civilian population greater; nowhere was the suffering of the troops greater; nowhere was the price of liberty more dear than in New Jersey; and
WHEREAS, military action in New Jersey between 1775 and 1783 included five major campaigns: the American retreat from New York; the Ten Crucial Days (Crossing of the Delaware and Battles of Trenton and Princeton) of 1776 and 1777; the defense of the Delaware and capture of Philadelphia; the British retreat from Philadelphia and the Battle of Monmouth; and the closing battle in New Jersey at Springfield; and some 291 lesser-known battles and encounters, including Tory and militia raids, strikes by privateers from the protection of rivers and bays, and ambushes from woodland or mountain hideaways; which were important to the outcome of the American Revolution, and thereby to the history of the United States; and
WHEREAS, the Continental Army spent winters in the rural Morristown and Middlebrook areas, while the British Army made winter encampments in New Jersey cities; and the farms, mines, and mills located in New Jersey supplied both armies as they fought their way back and forth across the State; and
WHEREAS, General George Washington spent almost half the period of the American Revolution commanding troops of the Continental Army in New Jersey; and
WHEREAS, the National Register of Historic Places lists more than 250 buildings and sites in the State of New Jersey that are associated with the period of the American Revolution; while portions of the New Jersey landscape important to the strategies of the British and Continental armies, including waterways, mountains, farms, wetlands, villages, and roadways:
- Retain the integrity of the period of the American Revolution; and
- Offer outstanding opportunities for conservation, education and recreation; and
WHEREAS, because of the important role that New Jersey played in the successful outcome of the American Revolution, there is a State interest in developing a regional framework to assist local and county governments, organizations, and private citizens in:
- Preserving and protecting cultural, historic, and natural resources of the period; and
- Bringing recognition to those resources for the educational and recreational benefit of the present and future generations of citizens of the State and the United States; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to FY2000 Congressional direction recommended by Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen and Rush Holt, the United States Department of the Interior's National Park Service conducted a special resource and feasibility study in the State of New Jersey, publishing its findings in August, 2002, in a draft report entitled "Crossroads of the American Revolution: Special Resource Study, National Heritage Area Feasibility Study and Environmental Assessment"; and
WHEREAS, the National Park Service concluded that nationally distinctive cultural, historic, and natural resources in the State of New Jersey meet the criteria necessary for federal designation, and that establishment of a Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area is suitable and feasible; and
WHEREAS, the National Park Service's Crossroads of the American Revolution study names the Crossroads of the American Revolution Association, Inc., as the management entity for the National Heritage Area, noting that the Association is a nonprofit corporation whose board of directors is designed to represent the widest variety of interests and locations within the proposed National Heritage Area, which may include local government, business, education, historians, historic preservation, open space and natural resource protection, sports persons, tourism and recreation; and that its mission is to foster the conservation, preservation and interpretation of New Jersey's American Revolutionary heritage in ways that enhance public understanding about the people, places and events that transformed the course of American history; and
WHEREAS, in October, 2002, after considering the public comment received, the Northeast Region of the National Park Service published a Public Comment Document, in which the "Preferred Boundary Proposal" option (often referred to as the "red boundary" option for the color of the proposed National Heritage Area in the attached map depicting this option) was selected for the delineation of the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area; the recommended area would include all or part of fourteen counties in central New Jersey, stretching from the Delaware River to the Atlantic Ocean, and from Gloucester County in the south-central part of the state almost to the New York border in Bergen County; and
WHEREAS, in late 2002, the Secretary of the Interior certified to Congress that the Crossroads of the American Revolution met all National Park Service criteria as a National Heritage Area; and Senators Jon Corzine and Frank Lautenberg plan to introduce a bill in the Senate and Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen and Rush Holt have introduced a parallel bill in the House of Representatives which would establish in New Jersey the "Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area" and would provide funding for developing a plan which will focus attention on the area's distinctive natural and cultural resources and promote the partnerships required for their protection;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICHARD J. CODEY, Acting Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:
- The State of New Jersey is hereby declared to be the "Crossroads of the American Revolution," and a Crossroads of the American Revolution State Heritage Area is hereby designated, with the lands and waters within the "red" boundary set forth in the "Preferred Boundary Proposal" map (attached) comprising the area of this State Heritage Area; encompassing resources in 213 municipalities and all or portions of 14 counties in central New Jersey, with branches to the north and south connecting the area to New York and Pennsylvania.
- This Executive Order shall serve as a preparatory and facilitating step toward securing Congressional designation of the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area in concert with recommendations of the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service and with provisions of the pending federal legislation.
- All departments, officers, divisions and agencies of the State are hereby directed to cooperate as much as practically feasible with the nonprofit Crossroads of the American Revolution Association, Inc., as well as any other nonprofit groups dedicated to the conservation, preservation and interpretation of New Jersey's Revolutionary War heritage in this Heritage Area, to further their goals, as appropriate within the limits of statutory authority and appropriations.
GIVEN, under my hand and seal this
5th day of August in the Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Five, and
of the Independence of the United States, the Two Hundred and Thirtieth.
/s/ Richard J. Codey
/s/ Mark J. Fleming
Deputy Chief Counsel to the Governor