National Park Service invites public input on Finger Lakes National Heritage Area Feasibility Study

NEW YORK STATE — The National Park Service invites public input on a study to determine the feasibility of designating the Finger Lakes region of New York as a national heritage area. The 90-day comment period for the Finger Lakes National Heritage Area Feasibility Study will extend from March 1 to June 1, 2021. More information about the study is available at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/FingerLakes.

“Input from the public regarding the creation of a national heritage area in the Finger Lakes is critical to the study process. We also hope to learn more about the region from the people who know it best,” said Allen Cooper, regional chief of planning, National Park Service. “The information, interest and inquiries we receive from the public help inform our work as we assess the Finger Lakes as a potential National Heritage Area.”

The Finger Lakes National Heritage Area Feasibility Study was authorized by the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019, which directed the Secretary of the Interior to evaluate the natural, historic, cultural, educational, and recreational resources of the Finger Lakes. The study will assess if it is nationally worthy of recognition, conservation, interpretation, and continuing use; through designation as a national heritage area.

The legislation identified the following counties to be considered as part of the study: Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Livingston, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne, and Yates. The feasibility study will also assess the demonstrated support of the community including businesses, residents, nonprofit organizations, and appropriate local, state and federal agencies.

The study’s assessment, along with any recommendations from the Secretary of the Interior, will be reported to Congress. The study will assess the region’s unique and important American stories, how they can be experienced by the general public, and how a potential new national heritage area would be organized by a coordinating entity, if one were to be designated by Congress. The study is expected to run through 2023.

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