The Finger Lakes Region – A National Heritage Corridor?

Downtown Ithaca is just one of the many special highlights of the Finger Lakes Region.

New Legislation Appropriates Funds to Authorize National Park Service to Begin Feasibility Study in Finger Lakes Region

The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance (FLTA) has learned today that President Trump signed into federal legislation, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act. Included are conditions that authorize the allocation of funds which will allow the National Park Service to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of designating the Finger Lakes Region as a National Heritage Corridor.

Now that the legislation has passed, the Finger Lakes will undergo the Feasibility Study Process to determine if the region meets the necessary standards to become a National Heritage Corridor. National Heritage Areas are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources come together to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape.

“It has been incredible to watch this grassroots effort grow, from idea conception here in the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance office, to then gain strength and traction with private/public sector support in recognition of what this historically rich and meaningful piece of New York State means to the rest of the nation,” said Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance President Cynthia Kimble. “It comes as no surprise to me or anyone who visits this beautiful part of our state that the Finger Lakes Region deserves to go through this process and be deemed as a federally recognized National Heritage Area, particularly as we have heard the overwhelming support from our key stakeholders.  To have this course of events take place this year, during our 100th anniversary of being an operational and extremely viable regional destination marketing organization, makes everything even more poignant.”  

Tourism is a $3 billion industry in the Finger Lakes and employs 58,242 people. Designation as a National Heritage Area has led to an incremental but substantial increase in tourism in other areas that have received this designation. There are currently 49 designated National Heritage Areas. These areas support historic preservation, natural resource conservation, recreation, heritage tourism, and educational projects.

“Should the Finger Lakes Region be deemed feasible for this distinction, we will certainly be sharing in the momentous prestige of other like-minded areas and work to promote this beautiful and historically significant region even more than we already strive for every day” says Kimble. “It’s through the support of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Tom Reed that this initiative was spearheaded alongside the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance to reach this important milestone for the process. FLTA and the region cannot thank them enough for their ongoing efforts, support, and enthusiasm.”

Founded in 1919, Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance is recognized as the oldest regional destination marketing organization in the United States. FLTA is an association of private-sector attractions, tourism-related businesses and county tourism offices working together to enhance and promote visitor businesses for the 9,000-square-mile Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

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