It’s been almost three years since U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand stood in Red Jacket Park and announced an effort to have the Finger Lakes Region designated as a National Heritage Area (NHA)
Monday, her office announced that the legislation has passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
“This will be a big deal for the area,” says Cynthia Kimball, president of the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance, who attended the March 12 Yates County Legislature meeting to contribute detail for a report on the county’s Tourism Advisory Committee.
Gillibrand’s legislation would authorize the National Park Service to take the first step toward designating the region as a National Heritage Area by conducting a feasibility study in the 14 county Finger Lakes Region which includes Yates, Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Livingston, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, and Wayne counties. Designating the region as a National Heritage Area would help boost local tourism and conserve and protect the region’s natural, historic, and cultural resources.
Gillibrand has been pushing for the Finger Lakes Region to become a National Heritage Area since 2015, when she visited Penn Yan to make the announcement. The legislation was reported favorably by the committee by voice vote and will now move to the Senate floor for consideration by the full Senate before going to the House of Representatives, and then finally to the Executive office for the President’s signature.