To redesignate the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area as the Maurice D. Hinchey Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area
STATEMENT FOR THE RECORD, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON FEDERAL LANDS, CONCERNING H.R. 5262, A BILL TO REDESIGNATE THE HUDSON RIVER VALLEY NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA AS THE MAURICE D. HINCHEY HUDSON RIVER VALLEY NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
July 17, 2018
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior’s views on H.R. 5262, a bill to redesignate the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area as the Maurice D. Hinchey Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and for other purposes.
The Department recognizes the instrumental role that the late Representative Maurice D. Hinchey of New York played in the designation of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area in 1996 and in efforts to preserve the resources of the Hudson River Valley. However, the Department opposes incorporating his name into the official title of this national heritage area on the principal that heritage area designations should identify the location and the resources that are protected and interpreted, and should not be used to memorialize any single individual.
There are currently 49 designated national heritage areas in the United States. Several more are proposed to be designated through legislation. Only one existing or proposed national heritage area includes the name of an individual in its title--the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. Congress incorporated the name of the late Senator from Rhode Island into the name of this national heritage area in 1999 as a tribute to his role in establishing and promoting the national heritage corridor. While there is a precedent for incorporating the name of an individual into the designation of a national heritage area, Congress has avoided following that precedent for nearly two decades.
We note that there are other, more appropriate ways to pay tribute to Representative Hinchey’s role in the establishment of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. One example, which does not require legislation, would be for the heritage area’s local coordinating entity, the Hudson River Valley Greenway, to dedicate a site within the heritage area to Representative Hinchey or to provide some interpretive exhibits or materials about his work.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes our statement.