In President Trump’s FY2018 budget, he proposes to eliminate funding for the National Heritage Areas. The 49 National Heritage Areas across the country – two of which are in West Virginia (Wheeling and Coal) – preserve and revitalize cultural, historic and natural resources, delivering recreational and educational opportunities to visitors, residents and entire regions. Through innovative public-private partnerships, National Heritage Areas have effectively leveraged federal resources, attracting an average of $5.50 of private funding for each dollar appropriated.
Heritage Areas have a proven record of fostering job creation and advancing economic, cultural, historic, natural, and community development. In addition to creating jobs, National Heritage Areas generate valuable revenue for local governments and sustain communities through revitalization and heritage tourism. Lastly, Heritage Areas have undergone rigorous independent evaluations by the National Park Service which document the program’s worth.
Please join PAWV in calling your Congressmen by March 24 and request that they ask appropriators provide robust funding for the National Heritage Area program in the FY 18 budget. Robust funding for this critical initiative will enable communities and regions to effectively tell the stories of their past for the benefit of present and future generations.
District 1 – Congressman David McKinley – (202) 225-4172
District 2 – Congressman Alex Mooney – (202) 225-2711
District 3 – Congressman Evan Jenkins – (202) 225-3452
You can also encourage your Congressman to co-sponsor HR 1002 – National Heritage Area Program Bill, which would establish a designated program for National Heritage Areas within the National Park Service, including clear criteria for designation and evaluation. According to the bill sponsors, Congressmen Charles Dent (R-PA) & Paul Tonko (D-NY), “National Heritage Areas are considered one of the Department of the Interior’s most cost effective initiatives, relying on a public/private partnership in which every federal dollar is matched with an average of $5.50 in other public and private financing.”