April 29, 2022

Neguse Chairs Hearing on Legislation to Preserve Colorado National Heritage Areas

View his opening remarks HERE.

Washington, D.C.— Yesterday, Congressman Joe Neguse, Chair of the U.S. Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held a hearing on legislation that expands protections to National Parks, including his bill to preserve the Cache La Poudre, Sangre de Cristo and South Park National Heritage Areas in Colorado. Neguse introduced the Colorado National Heritage Areas Reauthorization Act last month – to ensure Colorado’s three heritage areas continue to receive National Park Service (NPS) funding through 2036. 

“The heritage areas in our state, including the Cache La Poudre Heritage Area in Larimer County, offer a wide array of outdoor activities. From hiking, biking, whitewater rafting, fishing and birdwatching to soaking in the rich history of our state at museums and historical places, these areas offer so much to the spirit of our state,” said Congressman Neguse. “As we recognize the needs and challenges to the long-term management of public lands across our country, we must continue to work to ensure our parks are supported.” 

“Colorado has the honor of having three designated National Heritage Areas: Cache la Poudre, Sangre de Cristo, and South Park. Each of these landscapes is historically and culturally significant and has strong grassroots, regional support. At the Cache la Poudre National Heritage Area, our programs include opportunities for student learning, river safety initiatives, storytelling, visitor wayfinding, historic preservation, oral history documentation, and a variety of family friendly events and activities along the river and its trail system.” said Sabrina Stoker, Executive Director of the Poudre Heritage Alliance. “H.R. 7218 [Colorado National Heritage Areas Reauthorization Act] will provide the Colorado National Heritage Areas with crucial funding stability and the opportunity to continue telling the stories that celebrate the culture and heritage of the great State of Colorado.”

The hearing also covered the National Discovery Trails Act, the Historic Preservation Enhancement Act, the African-American Burial Grounds Preservation Act, the Gateway Solidarity Act, and the Ukrainian Independence Park Act.

Witnesses included: Joy Beasley, Associate Director of the Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science National Park Service, Eric Seaborg, President of the American Discovery Trail Society, Reno Keoni Franklin, Chairman of the Kashia Pomo Tribe, Nick Loris, Vice President of Public Policy of C3 Solutions, Angela M. Thorpe, Director of the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, Michael Sawkiw, Vice President of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, and Sabrina Stoker, Executive Director of the Poudre Heritage Alliance

View the entire hearing HERE. 

Background: 

Congressman Neguse and Congressman Lamborn unveiled the bipartisan, bicameral Colorado National Heritage Areas Reauthorization Act on March 25, 2022. The bill is carried in the Senate by Colorado Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper. 

Colorado’s three National Heritage Areas were first authorized in 2009 following years of grassroots organizing from stakeholders in their respective regions. NHAs leverage federal NPS funds for historic and cultural preservation projects with the support of counties, tourism, and historic preservation organizations. Colorado’s three National Heritage Areas have all completed notable projects since they were authorized in 2009. At the South Park NHA, NPS funds have helped to restore the endangered Paris Mill near Alma. Within the Sangre de Cristo NHA, funds have helped to share the story of the first desegregation case in the nation, Mestas v. Shone. At the Cache la Poudre NHA, they leveraged NPS funds to develop a water education curriculum at the Poudre River that can be accessed across the West.

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