First National Heritage Area proposal brought to Central Montana - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

First National Heritage Area proposal brought to Central Montana

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The upper Missouri River Heritage Area Planning Corporation held a community meeting today about getting a national heritage area brought to central Montana.

There are 49 other heritage areas in the United States, and none in Montana, and this group is trying to bring one to home.

Dozens came to the Missouri room of the civic center today for the 3rd installment of community conversations; the first was in Helena, then Fort Benton, and finally here in Great Falls.

But what is a heritage area? It is “Telling the part of a story of significant American history. What heritage areas also are, telling stories of continuing life on that landscape because they are places where people continue to live,” said August Carlino.

The meeting was opened up to questions about what a heritage area is and what it isn’t. It is not a national park, monument, or landmark, but it's rather an area brought together by the rich history which surrounds it.

Some people were concerned the project would impact their private lands but federal legislation dictates a heritage are will have no impact on private property rights.

For consultants from other heritage areas, they say central Montana is perfect.

“You have the story, you have the resources to back it up, and you have that network of partnerships and that will to work together and the ability to carry it forward,” said Nancy Morgan.

The network Morgan talks about is between the private landowners, business owners, state and local governments, and the general public all working together to show off what they think makes our area special.

The consultants (with the help of the board of directors) outlined the native people's history, exploration and settlement, transportation, the military, industrial and agricultural importance and our art all as places of importance in central Montana’s history. They say these areas help with tourism and the local economy as well.

“If your tourism-driven what happens when people come in and spend money, stay at the hotels, eat at the restaurants, visit your sites and museums, what does that mean for those economies,” said Carlino

Today’s meeting was the first step in a long process before bringing a proposed heritage area to Congress.

There will be many more meetings on the proposed Upper Missouri River Heritage Area in the future. We will be sure to let you know when those happen.

If you’d like to learn more about the heritage area here is the link.

https://www.uppermissouririverheritage.org/

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