Policy Update Jun 15, 2021

NPCA position on H.R. 1154, H.R. 1316, H.R. 2359, & H.R. 3222

NPCA sent the following position to members of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands ahead of a legislative hearing scheduled for June 15th, 2021.

H.R. 1154 – The Great Dismal Swamp NHA Study Act: NPCA supports this legislation, which would authorize the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the states, to study the suitability and feasibility of designating the Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Area in Virginia and North Carolina. This heritage area, once designated, would represent the distinctive aspects of people and cultures that have often been overlooked or deliberately ignored. The Great Dismal Swamp was home to Native American tribes and a refuge for Africans and then African Americans who resisted enslavement through flight, evasion, and force on the Underground Railroad. The addition of these stories and resources to the National Heritage Area program will benefit community partners, the states of Virginia and North Carolina, and the nation by enhancing our understanding of the influence of the natural environment on the cultural and historic folkways of the region’s inhabitants.

H.R. 1316 – The National Heritage Area Program Act: NPCA strongly supports this legislation which will establish a “system” of National Heritage Areas – no such entity currently exists – and provide more uniformity to the way in which heritage areas are designated, managed, and assessed. The bill also calls for the much needed elimination of funding authorization limitations and funding caps.

H.R. 2359 - To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study to assess the suitability and feasibility of designating certain lands as the Los Caminos del Rio National Heritage Corridor, and for other purposes: Designating the Los Caminos del Rio region as a National Heritage Area (NHA) would preserve this unique and distinct region across five Texas counties, provide economic vitality for local communities, and support a wealth of cultural and natural treasures. The first of its kind in Texas, protecting this corridor as a National Heritage Area would further the National Park Service call to action to tell a more robust story of Tejano history and culture. NPCA supports this legislation.

H.R. 3222 – Alabama Black Belt NHA Act: NPCA supports this legislation which will aid a diverse array of state and local partners in protecting and interpreting the historic, cultural, and natural resources in one of the nation’s most biologically diverse and culturally rich regions. More than ten years in the making, the Black Belt National Heritage Area enjoys broad public support and is being sustained by a powerful array of stakeholders. From the Red Stick wars to the American Civil War to the battle for voting rights in Bloody Lowndes County, Alabama’s Black Belt has witnessed some of the most important events in this nation’s history. The designation of this new heritage area is long overdue.