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NATIONAL HERITAGE AREAS - FEDERALLY CONTROLLED LAND USE

 

 

 

Joyce Morrison
August 15, 2007
NewsWithViews.com

There are currently 37 National Heritage Areas in the United States and you can expect many more in the near future. New legislation is moving fast despite protests from groups such as the American Policy Center, the National Policy Center for Public Policy Research and numerous others.

The following are bills listed for 2007:

National Heritage Area designation bills - National Park Service
Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area [IL] (H.R.1625, S.955)
Freedom's Way National Heritage Area [MA/NH] (H.R.1297, S. 827)
Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area [PA/WV/MD/VA] (H.R.319, S.289)
Kentucky Artisan Heritage Trails National Heritage Area [KY] (H.R.646)
Land Between the Rivers National Heritage Area [IL] (H.R.929, S.956)
Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area [AL] (H.R.1145)
Niagara Falls National Heritage Area [NY] (H.R.713, S.800)
Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area [CO] (S.443, H.R.859)
Santa Cruz National Heritage Area [AZ] (H.R.1885)
South Park National Heritage Area [CO] (S.444)
TOTAL: 16 designation bills introduced on 10 areas

Why do we need National Heritage Areas? What is their real purpose? Would a national heritage designation supersede local authority? .

It would appear a designation would bring federal zoning. Designated areas would be under the authority of the National Park Service and under the management of an un-elected management group. This management authority claims they have no eminent domain power. They don’t - but they are partners with federal agencies who do have those powers.

Why did the U.S. sign a Memorandum of Understanding with France regarding National Heritage Areas? Your property would not only have national management, but now it could have global ramifications. The agreement with the Federation de Parcs Naturels Regionaux, a system of forty-five regional nature parks in France was signed in a four day symposium hosted by the Motorcities National Heritage Area in Detroit.

The property owner has no choice but to be included in a designated Heritage Area. He will not have the opportunity to vote for those serving on the coalition that will develop the management plan. He will not be notified he is even living in a heritage area. Once it has been designated, there are no provisions for property owners to opt out.

Heritage Area proponents say, “In Heritage Areas, local communities and leaders cooperate on efforts to preserve the resources that are important to them. The partnership approach to heritage development involves collaborative planning around a theme, industry and/or geographical feature that influenced the region's culture and history.”

Preserve the resources that are important to them? Webster says the word preserve means, “to keep safe from injury or destruction; to secure,” another meaning is “to guard, uphold.” What does this mean in regard to privately owned property?

The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage area covers 42 rural counties in Central Illinois:

Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Dewitt, Douglas, Edgar, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Hancock, Henderson, Jersey, Knox, LaSalle, Logan, McLean, McDonough, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Peoria, Piatt, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Tazewell, Vermillion, Warren and Woodford Counties.

Agriculture would be the main land use in these counties with over 90% of the land privately owned. Why would these farmers and landowners want the National Park Service, Interior Department or “coalition partners” to take inventory and “preserve” the resources on their property?

Congressman Ray LaHood of Peoria, Illinois is the house sponsor of the Abraham Lincoln Heritage Area (H.R. 1625) and Senators Durbin and Obama are Senate sponsors of S. 955.

The bill says it would designate the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition (a consortium of Illinois communities) to serve as the management entity for the proposed NHA. The coalition would be responsible for developing a management plan for NHA and for assisting local governments and nonprofit agencies in implementing the plan. In addition, the legislation would require the Department of the Interior to report to Congress on the work of the NHA.

Section 2 of the bill states, “The Heritage Area is a cohesive assemblage of natural, historic, cultural, and recreational resources that are best managed through partnerships between private and public entities.” This is the basically the same language used in Scenic Byway designations.

Senator Dick Durbin told a group in Adams County, Illinois that the Heritage Area is needed for “preservation, education and economic development.” Of course there is the $10 million incentive over a 10 year period being dangled as the carrot.

Every little po-dunk town wants a grant for tourism but realistically, not all areas will draw tourists. The Abraham Lincoln Heritage Area wouldn’t be the greatest draw for tourists if you expect many from southern states to visit Illinois. People from Texas recently gave me their account of Abraham Lincoln and it was not the one I was taught.

While a large part of rural Illinois will be in the Abraham Lincoln Heritage Area, the Southern part of the state will be included in the Land Between the Rivers National Heritage Area. Illinois Congressman Jerry Costello sponsored the House bill but had bi-partisan support from Illinois legislators. The Senate version is sponsored by Senators Durbin and Obama. (H.R. 929, S.956)

Randolph, Perry, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, White, Jackson, Williamson, Saline, Gallatin, Union, Johnson, Pope, Hardin, Alexander, Pulaski, and Massac counties comprise the Land Between the Rivers National Heritage Area.

Is there a reason to lock up almost the whole state of Illinois farmland into National Heritage Areas? Illinois is one of the breadbasket states. Rural landowners and farmers will not take kindly to having strict preservation controls placed on their farms where they already practice advanced conservation farming methods.

David Ridenour, Vice President of The National Center for Public Policy Research of the National Policy, said, “Once established, National Heritage Areas become permanent units of the National Park Service, and as such, permanent drains on an agency that currently suffers a multibillion-dollar maintenance crisis. According to the GAO, “sunset provisions have not been effective in limiting federal funding [for National Heritage Areas]: since 1984, five areas that reached their sunset dates received funding reauthorization from the Congress.”

“National Heritage Areas are the big government advocate’s dream: They give Washington the means of controlling local land-use decisions while creating the means by which politicians can funnel millions of dollars home to their districts,” Ridenour said.

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Our federal government is in debt. Most states are in debt. This is not an expenditure that is wanted or needed. This legislation is out of committee and may be voted on any day. Contact your Congressman and Senators and tell them National Heritage Areas are not necessary expenditures. Even if it looks good to bring home more pork, the government has already eaten the little piggy that was to go to market.

© 2007 Joyce Morrison - All Rights Reserved

E-Mails are used strictly for NWVs alerts, not for sale


Joyce Morrison attempts to educate the public regarding the dangers coming to their local communities through Sustainable Development and Agenda 21 programs which are designed to gradually take control of all private property through undue regulations.

Morrison writes for Eco-logic Powerhouse, NewsWithViews.com, Range Magazine, SOWER magazine as well as numerous other publications. She is a weekly participant on the teleconference of the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank and is a pro-life, pro-family activist.

She is a chapter leader for Concerned Women for America as well as Secretary to the Board of Directors of Rural Restoration/ADOPT Mission, a national farm ministry located in Sikeston, MO. FarmersRuralRestoration.com. Her most enjoyable time is spent teaching a senior adult Sunday School class which is a focus on hope and encouragement.

E-Mail: dayspring365@yahoo.com



 

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“National Heritage Areas are the big government advocate’s dream: They give Washington the means of controlling local land-use decisions while creating the means by which politicians can funnel millions of dollars home to their districts,”