Baltimore, MD - Today, the National Park Service officially launched the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail with a ceremony in the Fell's Point neighborhood of Baltimore, MD. Partners from all nine regions along the trail were recognized for their hard work to develop the trail in their local areas.
"The launch of the Star Spangled Banner Trail is a key part of our nation's bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812," said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin. "It will provide Marylanders and visitors with a way to access and appreciate the sites engaged in our nation's Second War of Independence. Highlighted by kiosks, wayside signs, and highway markers, the trail will offer a unique combination of land and water-based sites and give visitors a unique understanding of Maryland's role in the war that helped shaped our nation."
With help from regional partners, important sites along the trail are now ready for visitors in southern Maryland, the Upper Bay, Maryland's Eastern Shore, Prince George's County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City and Baltimore County, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
"The launch of the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is a proud moment for all Marylanders," said Congressman John Sarbanes, who authored legislation to create the trail. "As we commemorate the War of 1812 Bicentennial, the Trail will help bring to life historic events that unfolded in our own backyard and changed the course of our nation's history. I hope it will help visitors, students and others to learn more about our state's critical role in the 'second war of independence' and how the United States' victory set the stage for the spread of democracy around the world."
Over 100 partners, friends, and tourism professionals showed their support at the trail's launch today. NPS Superintendent John Maounis said, "The hard work and dedication of our partners throughout the region results today in a trail that is open and ready to receive visitors. Families can tour the trail, visit historic places, ride their bikes or visit by boat. The NPS Chesapeake Bay Office will continue to work with our partners to offer additional opportunities for education and recreation."
"The trail connects the multitude of sites significant to our national heritage," said Bill Pencek, Executive Director of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, and chair of the trail's Advisory Council. "The trail is also a vital economic resource, attracting the "touring traveler" who spends more, takes longer trips, and travels with more people than typical visitors to Maryland."
The Maryland State Highway Administration has begun installing highway markers in the southern Maryland region of the trail. "The State Highway Administration is proud to partner in support of creating scenic and historic byways and trails throughout Maryland," said SHA Deputy Administrator Doug Simmons. They carry residents as well as visitors along paths that highlight our history, reflect our common heritage and welcome everyone to explore Maryland again and again."
New services and materials to help visitors explore the trail include: