Cochran, Wicker Announce Senate Authorization of Mississippi Heritage Areas

Legislation to Benefit Cultural Heritage Research in Mississippi Included in Public Lands Bill

WASHINGTON – A provision to establish the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area has been approved by the United States Senate, Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker announced today. The National Heritage Area language was part of the larger Public Lands Management Act of 2009, which was agreed to today by the Senate. The legislation now proceeds to the House of Representatives for approval.

“I am pleased that Congress has acted to establish these National Heritage Areas,” said Senator Cochran. “Mississippi is a state with bountiful cultural, natural, and historical treasures. The creation of these heritage areas will benefit our state’s economy and ensure that the unique characteristics of the Mississippi Hills and Delta are preserved and shared with others for years to come.”

“Gaining national heritage area designation for the Mississippi Hills and the Mississippi Delta will boost our state’s economy by increasing tourism opportunities,” Senator Wicker said. “There are unique stories of cultural and historical significance all across north Mississippi and throughout the Delta. I am glad this cultural history is being recognized by Congress so that these areas of Mississippi can be promoted and shared with a larger audience.”

The legislation authorizes funding to be allocated from the federal government for the purpose of researching and compiling information on the cultural and historical significance of the area. Each heritage area is eligible to receive funding for up to ten years.

The National Park Service defines a national heritage area as “a region designated by the United States Congress where natural, cultural, historic and recreational resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally-distinctive landscape arising from patterns of human activity shaped by geography.”

There are 37 existing national heritage areas.

Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker Press Release
1/14/9