BATH, NY (WETM) – A study could classify Steuben County and more than a dozen of other counties in the Finger Lakes region as a national heritage area.
In a press release from the county they said, “Unlike National Historic Parks, where preservation of artifacts is key, National Heritage Areas (NHA) reflect historic, cultural, and natural resources which form cohesive, nationally important landscapes, NHA presenter Chuck Lawson told the county Legislature Agriculture, Industry and Planning Committee Wednesday.”
Under local regulations and guidance, federal legislation is required for designation.
“The heritage areas are composed of large lived-in landscapes and collaborate with communities to determine how to make their heritage relevant to local interests and needs,” Lawson said.
If the study shows that the county is a national heritage area, funding could be brought in.
“It also may draw outside funds to maintain restored lands, remove restored invasive species, and build tourism based on the unique heritage of the region,” Lawson said.
Committee Chair Robin Lattimer, R-Bath, believes that this will support the local tourism industry and the community’s economic development.
The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance (FLTA) President, Cindy Kimble, is also supportive of the designation, telling committee members that it “could draw any available state funds to match federal money.”
According to the press release, FLTA promotes tourism in all 14 counties in the proposed national heritage area.
Congress will review the study and any other recommendations from the U.S. Secretary of the Interior before an official designation, according to the release.