ROGER WICKER: Wildlife tourism brings $2 billion into Mississippi

There are only 49 National Heritage Areas in the United States, and three of them are in Mississippi.

National Heritage Areas are approved by Congress and given advice and assistance by the National Park Service, but they are not managed or owned by the federal government. Instead, conservation, preservation, tourism and education efforts are driven by local communities and state governments, as well as nonprofit and business partners. These areas can help generate millions of dollars in local revenue, boost job growth, and support small businesses in our communities.

On Oct. 6, I joined state and local officials in Biloxi for the launch of a new website and nature-based tourism plan for the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area. Congress designated the counties of Pearl River, Stone, George, Hancock, Harrison and Jackson as a National Heritage Area in late 2004, just months before Hurricane Katrina devastated our state.

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