From Preservation Action:
The House Natural Resources National Parks Subcommittee held a hearing on twelve bills impacting National Heritage Areas (NHAs). The bills considered by the committee include legislation to make much need programmatic changes to National Heritage Areas (the National Heritage Act of 2021, H.R. 1316) and several bills that would establish or study the creation of new National Heritage Areas.
The National Heritage Act of 2021,introduced by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), would establish a statutory framework for the National Park Service to administer the program, bring uniformity to the way NHAs are designated, managed, and assessed, provide Congress the ability to conduct oversight of the program, and provide a 15 year authorization for the 55 current NHAs. The other bills considered by the committee include the Southern Campaign of the Revolution National Heritage Corridor Act (H.R. 1286), which would create a corridor connecting several sites in South Carolina and North Carolina important to the often overlooked southern campaign during the Revolutionary War, and the Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Act (H.R. 1154), which would protect a pre-Civil War refuge for formerly enslaved people in Virginia and North Carolina.
During the hearing the Chair of the Subcommittee, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) spoke in support of National Heritage Areas, citing the program's significant impact with NHAs contributing $192 billion to the national economy. He also spoke about the challenges facing NHAs and the changes that are needed, like the current piece-meal approach to NHA authorizations which has left 32 NHAs in need of reauthorization by the end of the year.
Preservation Action thanks the committee for holding this important hearing. We were also pleased that the INVEST in America Act, which passed the House earlier this month, included a bipartisan amendment to reauthorize these 32 NHAs for one year. Action is still needed in the Senate. Check out Alliance of National Heritage Areas to learn more about the National Heritage Area Act and other legislative efforts in support of heritage areas.
Unless noted, the thoughts and opinions expressed in the article are solely that of the
author and not necessarily the opinion of the editors of PreservationDirectory.com.