The Forth Bridges Welcome a Very Special Visitor
On Saturday 6th November, the USA’s Secretary for the Interior, Deb Haaland, put time aside in her busy schedule to visit the Forth Bridges.
She was in Scotland as part of the USA’s COP26 delegation, and had spent the early afternoon visiting the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park and then Historic Environment Scotland’s Conservation Hub, the Engine Shed, in Stirling.
Secretary Deb Haaland had made history earlier this year when she became the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary in the US Federal Government. Her portfolio includes the National Parks Service, with whom HES works on various partnership projects. The Department for the Interior also has responsibility for World Heritage. It was for this reason she chose to visit the Forth Bridge. During her visit she heard about how it was successfully nominated, as well the 3D digital documentation laser-scan project by HES, one of the products of which is the GoForth education resource package (Go Forth and Discover! Digital game | The Forth Bridges).
Thanks to a massive improvement in the weather, Secretary Haaland and her delegation of senior officials, were able to see the three bridges in all their splendour. It was a great way for them to round off their itinerary in Scotland. Their visit carries an extra resonance because the Brooklyn Bridge has been included as a future candidate on the USA’s Tentative List for World Heritage.
Secretary Haaland was not the first COP26 attendee to visit Queensferry. Earlier in the week, President Biden took the trouble to deviate from his route to Airport to see it for himself (COP26 Glasgow: Joe Biden took detour to airport after leaving summit to see Forth Bridge (thescottishsun.co.uk), demonstrating the international iconic power of the Forth Bridge, and the fact that celebrating Bridges is an excellent way of building cultural bridges.
Head of Industrial Heritage
Historic Environment Scotland