New Legislation Would Authorize National Park Service to Begin Feasibility Study in Finger Lakes Region
U.S. Senator Kristen Gillibrand announced recently she is introducing legislation that would authorize National Park Service to take first steps toward designating the Finger Lakes region as a National Heritage Corridor.
If the legislation passes, 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.
“I am honored that we are taking the first steps needed for the Finger Lakes region of NY State to be designated by the National Park Service as a National Heritage Area,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “It comes as no surprise to me or anyone who visits this beautiful part of our state, the Finger Lakes region deserves to be recognized alongside so many other historic landmarks and natural wonders as part of the national park service as a natural service area.”
“We are in an area that is rich in natural beauty with parks, waterfalls, hiking, boating. We are a destination tourism attraction,” said Ken McConnell, Chairman of the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance Board of Directors. “These assets combined, tell us history of our area that it is important to each of us and it should be important to each of us that this area’s’ assets are preserved for future generations.”
Tourism is a $2.8 billion industry in the Finger Lakes and employs 58, 384 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 areas designated as a National Heritage Area. These areas support historic preservation, natural resource conservation, recreation, heritage tourism, and educational projects.
Founded in 1919, Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance is recognized as one of the oldest destination marketing organizations 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.