Leahy Secures Funds To Jump-Start Quadricentennial Events

Prepping For The 400th Anniversary Of Samuel de Champlain’s Historic 1609 Voyage –

(WEDNESDAY, March 19) -- As communities from throughout the Champlain Valley gathered Wednesday at a workshop to continue planning for next year’s 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s historic 1609 Lake Champlain voyage, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced that he has secured nearly $400,000 in National Park Service funding to help jump start the commemoration.

Of that total, Leahy has secured $250,000 to be coordinated by the Lake Champlain Basin Program -- some of which will go to support the northern voyage of the Lois McClure, the 19thCentury sailing canal boat replica, to Quebec City this summer.  The Lois McClure will kick off the Champlain Quadricentennial celebration this July by sailing to Quebec City to commemorate the founding of Quebec.  Along the way, the Lois McClure will visit several ports of call in Canada and then on Lake Champlain, returning home in anticipation of the 2009 events in Vermont and New York.  The funds secured by Leahy will also support joint educational projects with the Erie Canal and Hudson Heritage Areas -- which are connected to southern Lake Champlain – as well as a small grants program of $50,000 to support communities and organizations on both sides of Lake Champlain to help them participate in the events of 2009.

Leahy, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, also has secured a second Park Service allocation of $147,600 that will support the new federally designated Champlain Valley National Heritage Area.  Two major themes of the Heritage Area are “The Making of Nations” and “Corridors of Commerce,” significant themes associated with the region’s historic geographical importance.  These funds, also managed by the Lake Champlain Basin Program, will include a new $100,000 small grants program for Vermont communities and organizations to support projects related to the Champlain Quadricentennial celebration in 2009.

“For centuries Lake Champlain has anchored, empowered, protected and helped sustain the communities and the people of this expansive valley,” said Leahy.  “It is a defining feature of our landscape and our culture.  The quadricentennial is a milestone worthy of a year-long series of events to celebrate the history and heritage of our great Lake Champlain, and I am pleased that these funds will help light the spark.”

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