Energy & Natural Resources Committee Approves Measure Extending Authorization and Funding for National Heritage Areas

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today supported committee passage of legislation to improve the process for establishing and running National Heritage Areas (NHAs), including extending authorization and funding for sites in Mississippi and across the nation.

Hyde-Smith serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that Tuesday unanimously cleared an amended National Heritage Area Act (S.1942) for consideration by the full Senate.  Hyde-Smith cosponsored the bill.

“Mississippi proudly hosts three National Heritage Areas, which leverage the unique natural and cultural characteristics that make us special.  Our committee-passed bill takes a comprehensive approach to addressing issues on establishing and operating these areas,” Hyde-Smith said.  “I look forward to Senate consideration of this bill.”

For the Mississippi Delta NHA and Mississippi Hills NHA, whose authorization is set to expire in 2024, the legislation extends the authorization for those and other NHAs through September 2037.  The state’s third heritage area is the Mississippi Gulf Coast NHA.

As amended, S.1942 sets a standard criteria to fund, manage, and designate NHAs, and further authorizes National Park Service technical and financial assistance for all NHAs.  It also expands the appropriation ceiling for each reauthorized NHA by $1 million annually through 2037.  

Local coordinating entities administer NHAs, which do not affect the private property rights of existing landowners.  NHAs receive NPS matching funds but are not National Park units.  

Click here to read a copy of the committee-passed bill.