October 3, 2023 |

Photo – Map of proposed Pathways National Heritage Area – Bigfoot99 file photo

Work on the project to create the Pathways to the West National Heritage Area in Carbon and Natrona Counties continues.

During the September 19th Rawlins city council meeting, Discover Carbon County Chief Executive Officer Leslie Jefferson said Vernon Lovejoy and Dr. Glenn Haas, of Lovejoy Consulting, have begun a feasibility study. Jefferson said the two Colorado men will investigate if a National Heritage Area should be formed in Carbon and Natrona Counties.

A National Heritage Area is a place designated by Congress where natural and manmade locations tell an important story about the history of the United States. The program is designed to encourage historic preservation and promote tourism. All federally recognized National Heritage Sites are listed on the National Park Service’s website. As of the writing of this story, 62 National Heritage Areas exist in 36 different states.

Speaking at the September 19th Rawlins city council meeting, Jefferson said Carbon and Natrona Counties contain many trails that were important to the westward expansion of our country.

Jefferson said the National Heritage Area will mark historically significant places within our area on a federally designated map. Despite federal government recognition, the Discover Carbon County CEO said the heritage area will not trump private property rights.

Jefferson said Dr. Haas helped establish both the South Park and Cache la Poudre (pronounced “cash la pooder”) National Heritage Areas. With his and Lovejoy’s help, Jefferson said the Pathways to the West National Heritage Area will be an economic boon to Carbon County.

For the Pathways to the West National Heritage Area to become a reality, Jefferson said residents must make their voices heard. Jefferson said to visit pathwaysnha.com to take an online survey. The Discover Carbon County CEO said following the approval of county commissioners, Washington DC will decide if the area is worthy of federal recognition.

Once the feasibility study is complete, the next step is to introduce authorizing legislation. The legislation must be passed by Congress and signed by the President to establish the Pathways to the West National Heritage Area.

The deadline for submitting public comments is December 1st of this year.

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