Leahy, Schumer, Sanders And Gillibrand Introduce Bill To Reauthorize Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership

WASHINGTON (TUESDAY, July 27, 2021) – U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) Tuesday introduced a bill to reauthorize the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP).  Established in 2006 to recognize and promote the importance of the historical, cultural, recreational and economic resources of the Champlain Valley, the CVNHP is slated to sunset on October 12, 2021.  Their bill would authorize the partnership for the next 15 years.

Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said:  “The Champlain Valley is the defining feature of our shared landscape, and for centuries it has anchored and sustained communities throughout the region.  Honoring our rich and complex relationship with this immeasurable natural resource expands its cultural and economic value even further.  I am proud of the outstanding work the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership has done throughout its 15 years of federal recognition.”

Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, said:  “Our National Heritage Areas are the keepers of America’s stories, and the Champlain Valley’s rich history has enriched New York’s cultural and physical landscape for generations.  As New York recovers from COVID, we must make sure the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership has the resources it needs to preserve and promote this beautiful landscape.”

Sanders, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said:  “From the region’s earliest Indigenous inhabitants to today, Vermonters have long had a strong connection to the land and the state’s other natural resources.  For the past 15 years, the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership has worked to celebrate and preserve the natural, cultural, and historical resources that make the Champlain Valley such an important part of our community and our shared natural heritage.  I look forward to seeing the good work the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership will do over the next 15 years as they help local communities tell their stories and preserve critical resources for generations to come.”

Gillibrand said:  “The Champlain Valley is one of the most beautiful places in New York State, and it is one of our country’s great historical and cultural treasures.  I’m proud to join my colleagues to introduce legislation to reauthorize the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership, which helps preserve the region’s natural treasures, provides cultural heritage learning opportunities and promotes local tourism.  The continuation of this partnership encourages more people from all over the country to visit the Champlain Valley and I’m looking forward to reauthorizing it.”

Eric Howe, Director of the Lake Champlain Basin Program, said:  “The CVNHP has provided $1.3 million in grants for almost 200 projects since 2008.  These grants generated $2.5 million in documented matching funds.  It’s a very efficient use of federal dollars and has supported many partners who work to showcase, highlight and interpret our region’s cultural and natural resources.”  He added that the reauthorization news was well-received by partners.

Susan Evans McClure, Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, a key partner of the CVNHP, said:  “While much feels uncertain in our current world, we know that people will always need opportunities to connect with each other, our history, and our environment.  The support of CVNHP has allowed us to continue to be a place, both together and online where people of all ages can come to be inspired.  We look forward to working together with CVNHP to continue to interpret and share our region’s unique cultural and social heritage for years to come.”

In addition to the grant projects, the CVNHP has provided abundant technical support for its partners, including free design and French translation for more than 300 wayside exhibits in the region, and the production of gardening, biking, walking, and water trails, “questing,” and orientation guides. The CVNHP has also provided leadership in efforts that strengthen the cultural and natural heritage ties between Vermont, New York and Quebec, including the Lake Champlain Quadricentennial (2009); Bicentennial of the War of 1812 (2012-2014); Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War (2011-2015); 350th  anniversary of the “Valley of the Forts” (2016); International Year of the Salmon (2019); and the Centennial of the 19th  Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  The CVNHP and its partners are highlighting the 101st anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution this summer and will focus on the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act in 2022.

John Krueger, Chair of the Heritage Area Program Advisory Committee of the Lake Champlain Basin Program, said: “An understanding of our past and the resources that represent our cultural heritage is critical in fostering the appreciation that leads to their stewardship.  Knowing your history fosters a pride of place. This legislation will allow the CVNHP to continue to protect and promote our shared cultural heritage.”

The CVNHP includes the communities within the New York counties of Clinton, Essex, Washington, Warren and Saratoga, and the Vermont counties of Franklin, Grand Isle, Chittenden, Addison, Rutland and Bennington.  The communities and sites within the Brome-Missisquoi, La Vallée-du-Richelieu, Rouville, Pierrede-Saurel, and Le Haut-Richelieu regional municipal counties of Quebec are also invited to participate in the CVNHP.  More information can be found at: https://champlainvalleynhp.org/

# # # # #