Delta designated a national heritage area

Delta designated a national heritage area, article by Tony Kukulich, The Press.

A 10-year effort to obtain federal recognition of the Delta as a place of special significance recently culminated with President Trump’s signing of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, and the establishment of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area (Delta NHA).

“National heritage areas are National Park Service recognized places where people have made an important contribution to the landscape,” explained Erik Vink, executive director for the Delta Protection Commission (DPC). “Unlike a national park or a national monument where it’s all about the natural features, a national heritage area is about the interplay of the landscape with the role of people, the culture and the local economy where (people) have made a significant contribution, and where they tell an important story.”

The Delta NHA is one of 55 NHAs in the country and the first to exist entirely within the state of California.

“From our perspective, the real importance of it is that it draws greater attention to the cultural and heritage components of the Delta region,” said Vink. “We think that can be an important springboard for promoting the Delta as a tourist destination, for bringing people to the region, and supporting the tourism and recreation economies within the Delta.”

Administered by the National Park Service (NPS), NHAs are defined by NPS as a grassroots, community-driven approach to heritage conservation and economic development. They differ from national parks in several significant ways. Primarily, NPS does not take ownership of the land encompassed within an NHA and no land-use restrictions are placed upon landowners.

With its new designation, the Delta NHA is eligible to receive up to $1 million a year over a term of 10 years, though the distribution must be matched by local contributions. Vink said that the use of the federal funds has broad applicability and the money can be used to staff the NHA effort, make improvements to facilities, develop plans, promote the area or any other use deemed appropriate by the local coordinating entity — the DPC in this case.

Read the entire article: Delta designated a national heritage area, article by Tony Kukulich, The Press.

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