Colorado National Heritage Areas Reauthorization Act
STATEMENT OF JOY BEASLEY, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR CULTURAL RESOURCES, PARTNERSHIPS AND SCIENCE, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC LANDS, CONCERNING H.R. 7218, A BILL TO AMEND THE OMNIBUS PUBLIC LAND MANAGEMENT ACT OF 2009 TO REAUTHORIZE THE SANGRE DE CRISTO NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA, CACHE LA POUDRE NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA, AND SOUTH PARK NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA IN THE STATE OF COLORADO.
April 28, 2022
Chair Neguse, Ranking Member Fulcher, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior’s testimony on H.R. 7218, a bill to amend the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 to reauthorize the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, Cache la Poudre National Heritage Area, and South Park National Heritage Area in the State of Colorado.
The Department supports H.R. 7218.
H.R. 7218 would extend the authority of the Secretary to provide financial assistance to three National Heritage Areas in Colorado through fiscal year 2036. The three areas are Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, Cache la Poudre National Heritage Area, and South Park National Heritage Area.
National heritage areas foster stewardship of our nation’s heritage without creating new park units. Rather than providing direct management, the National Park Service partners with national heritage area local coordinating entities to provide technical and financial assistance. National heritage areas match and leverage federal funds appropriated by Congress to carry out heritage projects and programs in collaboration with local and federal partners, expanding the impact of the funds invested. The National Park Service does not assume ownership of lands that make up heritage areas or impose land use controls on them. National heritage areas are locally public-private partnerships which support historic preservation, natural resource conservation, recreation, heritage tourism, and educational projects. Through their resources, these areas tell nationally important stories that celebrate our nation’s diverse heritage.
Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area tells the story of the people, culture, and environment of more than 3,000 square miles of the upper headwaters of the Rio Grande in Colorado's San Luis Valley, the cradle of Colorado’s earliest known settlement. It is a unique and well-preserved cultural landscape with stunning natural resources and a blend of Native American, Hispano and Anglo settlement reflected in the diversity of the people, art, and traditions.
Cache la Poudre National Heritage Area tells the story of the contributions of a 45-mile stretch of the Cache la Poudre River to the development of water law in the Western United States, the evolution of water delivery systems, and the shaping of the region’s cultural heritage along the flood plain of this “working river.”
South Park National Heritage Area tells the story of the spirit of the “Western Frontier” in South Park County, along with its vast, diverse natural landscape, its roots in the historic mining industry, and ranching culture.
Chair Neguse, Ranking Member Fulcher, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you and other members of the Subcommittee may have.