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Schumer, Slaughter Introduce Legislation To Designate Niagara Falls A National Heritage Area

Schumer, Slaughter: This Is The Next Step To Ensure WNY Gets The Federal Tools And Resources Needed To Make Niagara Falls A Top-Tier National Treasure

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Louise M. Slaughter announced that they introduced legislation late last night that would designate Niagara Falls as a National Heritage Area. The National Heritage Area designation would enable the National Park Service (NPS) to assist local efforts to protect the Niagara Reservation's natural resources, and open up new funding sources while promoting development and tourism in the region.

"This legislation is a giant leap to declaring Niagara Falls as a National Heritage Area designation," Senator Schumer said. "Niagara Falls will receive the resources and attention it needs to maintain its position as one of the natural wonders of the world. This will reenergize efforts to boost the Falls and let the region tap into the federal government's resources to aid their longterm Niagara Falls revitalization efforts. This beautiful sight deserves to be preserved for future generations of New Yorkers and tourists."

"Federal recognition of this national treasure is long overdue," Rep. Slaughter said. "Designating Niagara Falls a National Heritage area will revitalize and promote the region's natural, historic, and scenic resources for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. This legislation is also a critical component of our campaign to bring new economic development to Western New York. I look forward to working with Senator Schumer and my colleagues in the House to enact the designation this year."

National Heritage Areas are partnership efforts that tie together a mix of private and public lands linked by geography and a set of related themes. The National Park Service will assist local and state organizations in developing a plan to conserve and promote the region's natural, scenic, cultural and recreational tourist attractions.

In addition, as a National Heritage Area, Niagara Falls will be eligible for federal dollars each year. Senator Schumer and Rep. Slaughter's legislation will authorize $10 million in federal funds, with up to $1 million per year, leveraging matching funds and contributions from public and private New York entities.

This legislation would implement the results of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area Resource Study, released in November, which explored the feasibility of creating a National Heritage Area in Niagara Falls and proposed several options for its management. This was followed by a public comment period in which many Western New Yorkers spoke in support of both the Heritage Area and the establishment of a federal commission to manage it. In June, NPS released its report which supported a federal commission with local control to oversee the park.