Johnson, Cassidy, Gohmert, Ratcliffe Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Create Caddo Lake National Heritage Area
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Mike Johnson (R-La.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) joined U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) today in introducing legislation to create the Caddo Lake National Heritage Area (H.R. 5957 and S. 2947). The area proposed by the Caddo National Heritage Area Commission (CNHAC) is a 900-square-mile geographic area on the Texas-Louisiana border that encompasses Caddo Lake, contiguous bayous and a portion of the Red River. According to CNHAC, the area contains more than 200 historic sites and six land- and water-based trails. If passed, the U.S. secretary of the interior will declare the final boundaries of the heritage site.
Rep. Johnson released the following statement:
“The designation of Caddo Lake as a National Heritage Area is a testament to the community’s deep appreciation for the historical and cultural significance of the lake and its surrounding wildlife areas, consisting of more than 200 historic sites and dating all the way back to the earliest settlements in Louisiana. It is a privilege to introduce legislation with my Texas and Louisiana colleagues to preserve the beauty and history of this land for generations to come.”
Sen. Cassidy released the following statement:
“By creating the Caddo Lake National Heritage Area, we can boost Louisiana’s conservation efforts and preserve the region’s history and cultural heritage for future generations while protecting the rights of private land owners.”
Rep. Gohmert released the following statement:
“The Caddo Lake National Heritage Area is the product of years of work with local stakeholders. This legislation will help preserve the heritage of Caddo Lake, contiguous bayous, and a portion of the Red River. This National Heritage Area designation will attract more visitors, stimulate economic growth, and preserve six land and water-based heritage trails, in addition to, also protecting over 200 historical landmarks: all of these advantages occur without adversely affecting anyone's private property rights or interests. Caddo Lake is truly a natural resource beauty –complete with a rich history and abundant wildlife. I look forward to working with Senator Cassidy and Congressmen Johnson and Ratcliffe as we move this bill through the legislative process -- to preserve this area and make it more enjoyable and lucrative for all.”
The proposal is supported by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Red River Valley Association and the Louisiana Greater Caddo Lake Association, and would not affect private property rights.
According to the National Park Service, “National Heritage Areas (NHA) expand on traditional approaches to resource stewardship by supporting large-scale, community-driven initiatives that connect local citizens to the preservation and planning process.”
According to the Park Service, some of the long-term benefits of NHA activities include:
· Sustainable economic development – NHAs leverage federal funds (NHAs average $5.50 for every $1.00 of federal investment) to create jobs, generate revenue for local governments, and sustain local communities through revitalization and heritage tourism.
· Healthy environment and people – Many NHAs improve water and air quality in their regions through restoration projects and encourage people to enjoy natural and cultural sites by providing new recreational opportunities.
· Improved quality of life –Through new or improved amenities, unique settings, and educational and volunteer opportunities, NHAs improve local quality of life.
· Education and stewardship – NHAs connect communities to natural, historic and cultural sites through educational activities, which promote awareness and foster interest in and stewardship of heritage resources.
· Community engagement and pride – By engaging community members in heritage conservation activities, NHAs strengthen sense of place and community pride.