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Federal Elected Officials Eye National Park Designation For The Hudson Valley

A U.S. senator and two congress people from New York say they are working to protect the Hudson Valley as well as promote tourism and recreation. And they’re hoping to garner support to study the area for the potential to be designated as a national park.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and congressional representatives Nita Lowey and Sean Patrick Maloney, all Democrats, are behind three pieces of legislation they say would continue to shine a national spotlight on the Hudson River Valley region, from Saratoga to Westchester Counties.

Last week, Gillibrand announced legislation that would extend and enhance federal programs that provide the Hudson Valley with access to the resources to promote tourism and conservation. One is to reauthorize the area as a National Heritage Area. Another, says Gillibrand, is the Special Resources Study Act.

The three are sponsoring the act to study the area that contains the counties abutting the Hudson River, from Rogers Island at Fort Edward in Washington County to the southern boundary of Westchester County.

The Hudson River Valley, already designated a federal National Heritage Area, with more than 100 historic sites ranging from the presidential to the cultural, would lose matching federal funding without reauthorization. Congresswoman Lowey, the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, talks about what was accomplished before the authorization expired.

She says reauthorizing the designation is vital to preserving jobs and economic benefits. Gillibrand, Lowey, and Maloney have introduced legislation for reauthorization, which they announced at Boscobel, in the hamlet of Garrison, in Putnam County. Boscobel is a Federal-style house of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and it’s a National Heritage Site. Steven Miller is executive director of Boscobel.

State Senator Terry Gipson, whose district includes the Boscobel site, says he would like to ensure preservation in tandem with the federal level.

And here’s Congressman Maloney.

Meanwhile, Gillibrand says she plans to introduce legislation to reauthorize the Highlands Conservation Act. The Highlands stretch from Pennsylvania across to New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, with some 3.5 million acres.  Lowey and Maloney are cosponsors of the legislation in the House.

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