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President Trump signs bill to study national designation for Finger Lakes region

A lands bill signed by President Donald Trump includes a provision authored by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand study whether the Finger Lakes region should be designated as a national heritage area.

Gillibrand’s legislation was added to the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act. The federal natural resources bill was named in honor of Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress who died in February.

The House and Senate passed the lands package in February.

The bill sponsored by Gillibrand, the Finger Lakes Heritage Area Study Act, requires the National Park Service to study whether the 14-county region should be designated as a national heritage area.

The feasibility study will cover Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Livingston, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne and Yates counties.

The National Park Service defines a national heritage area as a location “where natural, cultural and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape.”

There are 49 national heritage areas. Four are in New York: Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership; Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor; Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area; and Niagara Falls National Heritage Area.

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