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Horsford, Cortez Masto, Rosen, Romney, and Stewart Introduce Legislation to Protect Great Basin and Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Areas

Congressman Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Congressman Chris Stewart (R-Utah) have introduced the Great Basin National Heritage Area and Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area Extension Act. This bicameral, bipartisan legislation would reauthorize federal funding for both National Heritage Areas (NHAs), ensuring their continued ability to promote conservation, expand recreation opportunities, and preserve the unique heritage of the Western United States.

“The Great Basin National Heritage Area distinction has brought essential federal funding, tourism dollars, and outdoor recreation opportunities to Nevada,” said Congressman Steven Horsford. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation alongside a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers who understand the importance of maintaining the unique culture and heritage of communities in the Western United States.”

“Nevada’s Great Basin National Heritage Area is unique in the Silver State, encompassing stunning Western landscapes, historical and archeological sites, state parks, tribal areas, and Great Basin National Park,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “This bipartisan legislation will help safeguard this unique part of our nation’s history, and I’m proud to work across the aisle with my colleagues in Utah and Nevada to protect our region’s rich cultural and environmental resources for future generations.”

“The Great Basin National Heritage Area is a vast landscape full of parks, wilderness areas, and numerous trails that bring visitors from all over the world to Nevada and Utah,” said Senator Jacky Rosen. “I’m proud to help introduce this important bipartisan legislation to protect these lands and historical sites that not only contribute to our booming outdoor recreation industries, but also hold cultural significance for both our states. I will continue working to safeguard the natural wonder and beauty of Nevada’s public lands and heritage areas for generations to come.”

“The Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area highlights our rich history and culture. I’m proud to sponsor the effort in the Senate to ensure that these heritage areas continue to impact the lives of our community for many years to come,” said Senator Mitt Romney.

“The Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area is a great means of sharing, preserving, and discovering Utah’s history. I’m proud to work across the aisle and across state lines on this bipartisan legislation that will protect and promote the heritage of both Utah and Nevada,” said Congressman Chris Stewart.

“I can’t overstate the impact that the Great Basin National Heritage Area has had on our small, rural communities. The federal seed money enables heritage area partners to establish and grow programs that then become self-sustaining and provides volunteer opportunities for teens, seniors, and everyone in between. Since designation, we've helped dozens of partners complete scores of projects that have benefitted thousands of residents and visitors to our communities,” said Abe Johnson, Great Basin Heritage Area Partnership President.

"When the late Senator Robert F. Bennett introduced the legislation to create the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area, he said that it would 'serve as special recognition to the people and places that have contributed greatly to our nation’s development.' Over the last 15 years, the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area has generated $44 million in leveraged funds for our projects and programs, helping us revitalize communities, restore historic buildings, and enhance communities along the 400-mile corridor,” said Monte Bona, Executive Director of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area. “Reauthorizing the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area will generate an estimated $50 million over the next 15 years. In the words of Joyce Bennett, Senator Bennett’s widow, these funds will help us tell the story of the Mormon pioneers to instill pride in our communities and motivate people to plan for the future by remembering the past."

Great Basin National Heritage Area is located in White Pine County, Nevada, and Millard County, Utah. Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area stretches across six Utah Counties (Kane, Garfield, Piute, Sevier, Wayne, and Sanpete).

In 2006, Congress designated the Great Basin National Heritage Area and Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area, authorizing them to receive federal funding for 15 years. This funding allows the areas to conserve, interpret, and promote the natural cultural, historic, and recreational resources with their boundaries.

Since the initial designation, Great Basin and Mormon Pioneer have received a combined $6 million in federal funds, which have produced projects and programs valued at over $50 million. Without reauthorization, the ability to receive and leverage these federal funds will expire on October 12.

The National Heritage Area designation does not result in any change in land use regulations or ownership. Reauthorization of the NHA distinction would not affect water rights, grazing, rights, or mineral rights.

To learn more about this bill, click here.

To view the full text of the Great Basin National Heritage Area and Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area Extension Act, click here.

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