U.S. Congressman LOUIE GOHMERT: Proudly Serving the First District of Texas

 

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Gohmert Releases FAQ’s on The Caddo Lake National Heritage Act of 2018

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Washington, June 28, 2018 | comments

Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01) will continue to seek input from constituents to address questions and discuss the benefits of H.R. 5957 – The Caddo Lake National Heritage Are Act of 2018. He additionally released the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) concerning the legislation:

Q: Is a Heritage Area controlled by the Federal government? Will the creation of a Heritage area increase Federal Land or impose more burdensome Federal Regulations?

A: A National Heritage Area is the name for a partnership among the National Park Service, states, and local communities in which the service supports state and local initiatives through federal recognition, seed money, and technical assistance. Heritage Areas are not part of the National Park System, nor are they federally owned and managed. Rather, lands within National Heritage Areas remain in state, local, or private ownership (or a combination thereof). There are no comprehensive federal criteria for designating National Heritage Areas, and there are no strict federal standards for their funding and management. Rather, these standards are created individually for each National Heritage Area within in its enabling legislation in order to meet the specific needs of the designated area and the surrounding community.

Q: Does the designation of a National Heritage Area curtail private property rights?

A: No. The enabling legislation within the Caddo Lake National Heritage Area Act of 2018 contains the strictest private property protection language in any such enabling bill.  Further, A GAO report in which a survey of every existing National Heritage Area was conducted, not a “single example of a heritage area directly affecting—positively or negatively—private property values or use” was found.

Q: Why will the Caddo Lake National Heritage Area be beneficial to our region?

A: The National Heritage Area will be able to leverage limited federal funds to commemorate, conserve, and promote areas that include important natural, scenic, historic, cultural, and recreational resources. Any federal funds must be matched; historically, matches have been at a rate of 2:1 and higher.

An example of the beneficial opportunities provided to National Heritage Areas can be found in North Carolina. The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area in North Carolina recently offered a grant, available to local schools, towns, and nonprofits, to fund projects that promote the region's “agricultural, craft, Cherokee, music, and natural heritage.” In another example, a local museum in Mississippi recently accepted a grant from the North Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area to add a more localized flavor to the museum’s digital format.

Q: Will the creation of a National Heritage Area lead to restrictions on recreational activities – like the ban on permanent duck blinds in 2015?

A: No, nothing in the Caddo Lake National Heritage Area Act will have any direct or indirect effect on state or local laws, nor will it impose any federal regulations on state, local, or private land. Currently, Caddo Lake is largely regulated at the state level as Caddo Lake State Park (designated in 1931) and as the Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area (purchased by Texas Parks and Wildlife in 1992). The 2015 ban on permanent duck blinds was made at the state level, and the creation of a National Heritage Area will not lead to additional regulations like that ban.

Q: I have additional questions and concerns – who do I talk to?

A: As the Caddo Lake National Heritage Area Act of 2018 is in the very beginning stages of the legislative process, and is by no means a finished product, we are actively seeking input from the community and stakeholders. Any questions, concerns, or comments can be directed to Andrew Keyes in my office at andrew.keyes@mail.house.gov

 

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