WASHINGTON, D.C. By a voice vote, the House of Representatives approved legislation on Sept. 24 that would establish a Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Commemoration Commission. The bill, sponsored by Rep. John M. McHugh (R-Pierrepont Manor), promotes national observance of the historic voyages of Henry Hudson, Samuel de Champlain, and the invention of the steam engine by Robert Fulton. The Hudson-Fulton-Champlain 400th Commemoration Commission Act of 2007 now awaits action in the Senate. Every member of the New York delegation is a co-sponsor of the legislation in the House. The House passage of this legislation is an important step forward in honoring these three men who helped lay the foundation for the American spirit of discovery, Mr. McHugh stated in a press release. Im proud to pay tribute to the legacy of exploration, adventure, and ingenuity these men displayed. The Hudson-Fulton-Champlain 400th Commemoration Commission Act of 2007 honors New Yorks rich cultural heritage while steering a wonderful opportunity for increased tourism revenue and economic development to Northern and Central New York.
The legislation is intended to assist efforts to celebrate the upcoming 400th anniversary of Henry Hudsons first exploratory sail up what is now called the Hudson River in 1609, the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlains first exploration in 1609 of what is now called Lake Champlain, as well as the 200th anniversary of Robert Fultons Hudson River voyage in 1807 during which he introduced steam navigation on a commercial basis.
In 2002 New York State enacted legislation creating a state commemoration commission. The federal Hudson-Fulton-Champlain 400th Commemoration Commission will be established to coordinate educational, cultural and historical projects while cooperating with and assisting the programs and activities conceived by New York and Vermont. The commission will also be responsible for facilitating nationwide and international celebration efforts. It is also hoped the commission will support and facilitate marketing efforts for a commemorative coin, commemorative stamp and other related activities.
The first European exploration of the Hudson River and Lake Champlain and the introduction of steam navigation to maritime commerce are celebrated both in the United States and abroad. In 1909, Americans celebrated the 300th anniversaries of these events with maritime celebrations and art exhibitions. The Dutch built the first replica of Hudsons ship, the Half Moon, and sent it up the Hudson River for the observance. Congress recognized the 350th anniversary by establishing a similar commission to coordinate federal participation in the 1959 celebrations.