U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) recently introduced legislation to commemorate the Buffalo Soldiers, the Army's first all-African-American units, and the critical role they played in the early years of the National Parks.
"We must preserve the memory of our brave Buffalo Soldiers, who were in essence our nation's first park rangers and left a rich historical legacy in the state of California," Senator Feinstein said. "This bill is an important first step in memorializing the critical role the Buffalo Soldiers had in shaping the National Parks we so treasure. We must ensure their contributions will be remembered and shared by all."
Created by Congressional Order in 1869, the Buffalo Soldiers bravely served our country both at home and abroad in the face of segregation and intolerance. The Buffalo Soldiers also left behind a legacy enshrined in our National Parks.
Buffalo Soldiers stationed at San Francisco's Presidio patrolled Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks, where they protected our parks from poachers and loggers, built trails, and escorted visitors. The Buffalo Soldiers were, in essence, our nation's first park rangers.
This bill directs the Secretary of the Interior to commission a study to:
· Evaluate the feasibility of establishing a national historic trail commemorating the route the Buffalo Soldiers traveled between their post at San Francisco's Presidio and Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.
· Identify properties to be considered for the National Register of Historic Places or National Historic Landmarks.
· Develop educational initiatives and a public awareness campaign about the contributions of the Buffalo Soldiers. The "Buffalo Soldiers in the National Parks Study Act" is a companion bill to H.R. 4491, introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) in January.
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