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Date: 12.22.22
Contact: Emily Thompson

Today, the National Heritage Area Act (S. 1942) passed the House with a remarkable level of bi-partisan support. The bill passed the Senate on Tuesday. It now heads to President Biden’s desk for signature.

Mike Murray, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, issued the following statement following House passage of the Act:

“For the first time, the National Heritage Area Act establishes a unified National Heritage Area (NHA) ‘System’ as a nationwide program under the National Park Service. This impacts 55 National Heritage Areas in 34 states. Support of this Act has been a long-time focus of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks and we are thrilled by the bill’s passage.

In addition to establishing a unified National Heritage Area System, this comprehensive bill authorizes studies at 3 potential NHAs, increases funding for 11 sites, and redesignates 2 other NHAs. It also designates 7 new NHAs, including the Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area. These designations will help hundreds of little-known, but important cultural heritage and natural sites to receive due attention, recognition, and preservation.

National Heritage Areas help protect our nation’s cultural and natural resources through local conservation efforts, while also supporting recreation, education, and economic development opportunities in communities across the country. We are grateful for the hard work of conservation groups, advocates, and congressional champions who worked for the passage of this bill.”

The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks represents over 2,300 current, former, and retired employees and volunteers of the National Park Service, with over 45,000 collective years of stewardship of America’s most precious natural and cultural resources. Recognized as the Voices of Experience, the Coalition educates, speaks, and acts for the preservation and protection of the National Park System, and mission-related programs of the National Park Service.