There’s a proposal kicking around the make the Blackstone Valley National Heritage Corridor part of the National Park system. Would that be a good thing, or a bad thing?

Certainly there is much good done by the National Park Service, but there have been a number of controversies – more than one would expect – that have arisen over what happens once the park service takes over a property.

To be fair, some of it has to with politicians. During the Bush-Cheney years, there was a push to open up the wilderness areas to all kinds of commercial activity – mining, logging, cellphone towers … anything that would make their friends money.

Then there have been the disagreements over just what constitutes conserving a particular piece of Americana.

Local people might envision something a la Sturbridge Village or Colonial Williamsburg – a living museum, and the Park Service might have something more static in mind. Historians might see an opportunity for valuable historical presentations where the Park Service sees opportunities for recreational activities. Local supporters might see a place as a venue for cultural and arts activities, the Park Service may decide on a strictly historically accurate restoration.

There are valuable sites worth preserving and protecting throughout the Blackstone Valley, it remains to be see what will work best.

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