Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument

We commend President Barack Obama for designating the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument. Just days after the centennial of her death, Harriet Tubman is finally receiving the national recognition she deserves as a heroic conductor on the Underground Railroad and an early leader for women’s rights.

The National Monument will include locations in Caroline, Dorchester, and Talbot Counties, Md, complementing the Tubman State Park, which broke ground for the construction of a world-class visitor’s center on March 9. The landscapes of Tubman’s birthplace and her early life on the Eastern Shore are a vital part of the Chesapeake’s story that will now be conserved and interpreted for current and future generations, providing a major draw for travelers and economic development.

There are many individuals and organizations that have provided essential leadership and support for this designation, including Governor Martin O’Malley, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD), Tubman descendants, the Harriet Tubman Organization, The Conservation Fund, Preservation Maryland, the Dorchester County Council and many others. We will continue to work together to protect the Chesapeake’s cultural and natural heritage. 

The Conservancy has helped garner support for the creation of a Harriet Tubman National Monument in Dorchester County from organizations and legislators including Governor Martin O’Malley, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, and Congressman Andy Harris. Additionally, the Conservancy followed with a campaign of support, including written letters and an online letter writing campaign.

The Conservancy believes that Harriet Tubman’s birthplace in Dorchester County, Maryland and the lands associated with her early life and work in Caroline and Talbot Counties are a vital part of the Chesapeake’s landscape and story that must be preserved and given the national recognition they are due.

To learn more about the dedication of the Harriet Tubman National Monument, read our press release celebrating this historic event.


To learn more about our other programs, click one of the links below:  

Great Rivers of the Chesapeake

The Chesapeake’s great rivers and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail provide the Conservancy with an education and conservation planning framework, highlighting the importance of history and culture, as well as wildlife and habitat, to protect vital resources in the Chesapeake.

The Conservancy is engaged in river-centered projects throughout the Chesapeake watershed. These projects take different forms, but each seeks to create a vision for the future of the river through public engagement that will guide conservation, education, and public access work throughout the corridor.

Capt. John Smith Trail

The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail commemorates Captain Smith’s exploration of the Bay in 1607 through 1609, and is the nation’s first all-water National Historic trail. It provides a significant conservation, recreation and education resource that stretches over 3,800 miles and traverses most of the Chesapeake’s great rivers. 

Public Access Projects

More than 100,000 streams, creeks and rivers thread through the Chesapeake Bay watershed; yet citizens still struggle to find places where they can access these waterways. Significant stretches of shoreline have little or no access, making it difficult to plan trips along water trails and preventing people from accessing waterways in their own backyards. The Conservancy is working hard to create new public access sites to connect people to the Bay and its rivers.