Steuben County Legislature expected to endorse study to designate Finger Lakes region as a federal National Heritage Area

New York State

BATH, N.Y. (WETM) – The Steuben County Legislature is expected to endorse a study that would designate Steuben and the Finger Lakes region as a federal National Heritage Area.

During the Steuben County AIP April meeting, a representative from the National Park Service discussed the study, which examines the unique national importance of a region, and what it would mean for the region.

There are 55 NHA designations that are designated by Congress to “tell the nationally important stories that celebrate our heritage.”

The NHA designations are not National Parks, but it does allow the region to receive federal appropriation, up to $1 million annually, but typically the appropriations range from $150,000 to $750,000.

All money has to be matched by other partnerships through the coordinating entity.

NHA regions are focused on conservation, historic preservation, recreation, education, community development, and economic development.

The findings of the study will be delivered to the Secretary of the Interior, who would then make a recommendation to Congress. Public comment on the study remains open until June 1, 2021 and a draft study will be submitted to the Secretary of the Interior.

The NHA of the Finger Lakes region would include a 14 county area. Some of the region is already designated as an NHA through the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, which stretches 524 miles upstate New York, including four navigable waterways- the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga- Seneca Canals

The Steuben County Legislature will vote on endorsing the study during their next meeting at 10 a.m. on Monday.

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