Senate Approves National Heritage Area
Illinois Recognized for Lincoln Legacy
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[April 12, 2008]
SPRINGFIELD -- U.S. Senate
passage of the Public Lands Bill (S.
2739), if signed into law, would designate a 42-county area of
central Illinois as the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area. The
legislation, which passed the U.S. Senate on Thursday, names the
Springfield-based, not-for-profit Looking for Lincoln Heritage
Coalition, which promotes the Lincoln legacy sites in the region
now, as the management entity for the National Heritage Area.
Hal Smith, director of Looking for Lincoln, who would also direct
the National Heritage Area, said: "We are fortunate to be at the
epicenter of Lincoln's adult life and hold many of the nation's
Lincoln treasures in our midst. If the legislation is signed into
law, it will create a very unique opportunity for Illinois to
further preserve, develop and interpret a number of significant
historic sites that are an important part of the Lincoln story.
"We have a responsibility to future generations to preserve as much
of the Lincoln legacy as is possible. There are structures that need
to be restored and preserved, and many more that make up the Lincoln
Story Trail that need to be further developed and interpreted. The
more sites we can preserve and the better we present the stories of
Lincoln, the greater the likelihood we will have a valued visitor
experience, that will mean more people traveling to our area,
resulting in a stronger regional economy.
"We are grateful to Senator Durbin and the entire Illinois
congressional delegation for seeing this legislation through the
Congress. We are hopeful it will be signed into law so we may begin
the formal assessment process of identifying and prioritizing
potential projects for development in the Heritage Area. This will
be accomplished through the creation of a management plan, with
public participation across central Illinois. The completed plan
must be approved by the National Park Service."
The Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition currently promotes
communities and sites throughout 42 counties of central Illinois
that share the Lincoln legacy. For more information on sites
currently promoted by Looking for Lincoln, go to
[Text from file received from
the Looking for Lincoln