(COLORADO) — Colorado’s three National Heritage Areas (NHA) will receive National Park Service (NPS) funding that will last through 2037.

On Friday, Dec. 23 more than 45 NHA reauthorizations were sent to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed.

“People come to Colorado’s National Heritage Areas to learn about the rich and diverse history of our state,” Senator Michael Bennet said. “Ensuring these National Heritage Areas continue to receive funding through the National Park Service will preserve our state’s story and culture for future generations.”

Senator John Hickenlooper joined Bennet in introducing the Colorado National Heritage Areas Reauthorization Act in March 2022.

“Colorado’s public lands, especially those that honor our past and diverse history, make us great. That’s why we fight so hard for the next generation,” Hickenlooper said.

As the Chair of the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area Board and Conejos County Commissioner, I would like to thank Senator Bennet for all his hard work getting us another 15 years of funding through this reauthorization effort. The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area has been an incredible resource in helping preserve and restore historic sites within the San Luis Valley. Without the resources provided from the National Park Service, we would not have had the means available to make these projects happen.  It has definitely been a blessing to this area.  The economic impact to our counties has been tremendous.

Mitchell Jarvies, Conejos County Commissioner and Chair of the Sangre de Cristo NHA

“On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners of Park County, I would like to thank Senator Bennet for his work in obtaining funding for the South Park Heritage Area.  Preserving our history for future generations is extremely important to the County, and this will allow us to complete the restoration of the Parris Mill and carry on other projects to ensure we don’t lose the history that has made Park County what it is today,” Dick Elsner, Commissioner, Park County Government said.

Sabrina Stoker, Executive Director of Poudre Heritage Alliance said, “Getting S.1942 passed has been the culmination of bi-partisan work across our country. We at the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area are thrilled to see our private-public partnerships continue to benefit the region. We are grateful for the leadership of our incredible legislators who championed the heritage areas of Colorado and the 55 National Heritage Areas across this great country.”

In 2009, the three NHAs were first authorized after grassroots stakeholders from each region organized for them. Since then, Colorado’s NHAs have completed projects like the one in the South Park NHA, the Paris Mill near Alma was restored with help from the NPS funding. In the Cache La Poudre NHA, water education curriculum at the Poudre River was developed with the help of NPS funds, and can now be shared throughout the West.