Historic Win for 2019 Public Lands Package
The president just signed into law the most significant public lands legislation in a decade. Formally called the “John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act” (S.47), this package of bills reauthorizes vital programs and supports the preservation of a diverse array of landscapes and historic sites.
This huge win for preservationists everywhere is the result of work from thousands of advocates who took the time to ask their senators, representatives, and the president to support the most significant public lands legislation in a decade, as well as advocacy organizations like the National Trust.
Now that the public lands package is the law of the land, take a look at four key preservation priorities that have been positively impacted by this bill.
Expansion and Re-designation of Ocmulgee National Monument
Broadening the boundaries of this National Treasure of the National Trust in Macon, Georgia, and re-designating it as a national historical park means greater protections for a landscape significant to several Native American tribes, as well as additional resources that will help interpret its many layers of natural, cultural, and spiritual significance.
Reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which had expired on September 30, 2018, is one of America’s most important conservation and recreation programs. LWCF funded land acquisition at sites such as Gettysburg National Military Park, Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. While we are relieved this program now enjoys permanent reauthorization, it is only as powerful as the funds it has to work with. We will continue to advocate in earnest for full, dedicated funding.
Preservation Funding at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)—where the stories of equality, civil rights, and higher education in our country have been written—are facing preservation needs that outstrip their available resources. Reauthorization of this vital program means the continuation of a program that has provided essential funds to the rehabilitation of iconic buildings on HBCU campuses like Howard University's Founders Library and Morgan State University (both National Treasures of the National Trust) since 1998.
Expansion and Re-designation of Reconstruction Era National Monument
The Reconstruction Era National Monument in South Carolina will be re-designated as a national historical park and expanded to include additional sites, bringing greater attention and resources to a too-often overlooked chapter of history. These places will also be linked to a national network of related Reconstruction Era sites, serving to better illuminate the post-Civil War period when formerly enslaved African Americans became full and free citizens.
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