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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Ft. San Gerónimo moves closer to US national park system affiliation

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón

By The Star Staff

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed House Resolution (HR) 359, the Fort San Geronimo Preservation Act, a bill authored by Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón that would designate Fort San Gerónimo del Boquerón in San Juan as an area affiliated with the U.S. National Park Service (NPS).

Affiliated areas are places in the United States that preserve or contain significant property outside of the national park system. They receive administrative and financial support from the NPS but are not owned by the federal government.

“Fort San Geronimo is a jewel in our military history, playing a starring role during the British attack in the 1797 Battle of San Juan, the last attack on Puerto Rico by a major European power. Its preservation is invaluable to the island’s cultural and historical legacy. Hearing about the vicissitudes of rehabilitating and protecting the property, I took on the task of, together with the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, which manages the property, and other key organizations in its maintenance, to work to seek help for its conservation,” González Colón said. “By designating the fort as an affiliated area, H.R. 359 provides an alternative to preserving its historic legacy through direct access to technical and financial assistance from the National Park Service. I thank my colleagues for passing the bill in the House and I hope the Senate will do the same and it can become federal law.”

The resident commissioner took a turn on the floor of the House, where she reiterated her hope that her measure would become law, giving a background of the historical and military importance of Fort San Geronimo.

“Respecting, honoring, and preserving the history of our lands is one of the most essential jobs we do in Congress,” said Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources. “Preserving Fort San Geronimo through H.R. 359 will help maintain this important historic site for decades, creating opportunities for visitors to learn about and honor those who fought and worked at Fort San Geronimo.”

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