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New National Heritage Areas: The Time has Come

By Brenda Barrett March 4, 2019

Bills designating new National Heritage Areas have been introduced for several Congressional sessions, but nothing happened. That is until this year, when with surprising speed and overwhelming majorities, the Senate and House passed the Natural Resources Management Act. This bill is already being celebrated and rightly so for permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund,creating three new national monuments, expanding park boundaries and so on. What has been less discussed in the over 600 pages of this legislation is the designation of six new National Heritage Areas.

Best-Laid Plans: What Ensures Program Longevity

By Eleanor Mahoney February 7, 2019

In late 2009, then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a new conservation program, the “Treasured Landscape Initiative.” Based on Salazar’s experience in Colorado, the effort sought to promote collaboration between public lands managers and private property owners on a large geographic scale. Embraced by many in the preservation and environmental protection communities, the idea […]

Outsized Threats to Large Landscapes

By Brenda Barrett January 27, 2019

It should come as no surprise to readers of the Living Landscape Observer that conserving large landscapes in the current political climate is no easy task. There are threats to our public lands and proposals to defund the federal programs that conserve our cultural and natural resources. However, the bigger issue is the underlying erosion of landscape scale work throughout our national government. There are systemics challenges to all these efforts that need to be better understood.

The Nature Culture Journey continues: The Presidio in San Francisco

By Brenda Barrett December 10, 2018

On November 13-14, 2018 US ICOMOS welcomed experts from 15 countries across six continents to a gathering at the Presidio in San Francisco. Titled Forward Together: Effective Conservation in a Changing World, the goal of the symposium was to share a range of ideas on how to integrate culture and nature and to explore ways to shape cultural and natural heritage for long-lasting conservation. Building on earlier international nature/culture journeys, the focus was taking action on the ground.

Protecting America’s Long Trails

By Guest Observer November 1, 2018

October, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of two remarkable federal laws: the National Trails System and Wild and Scenic Rivers Acts. Both laws set up ways that the federal government can assist in protecting and operating “long, skinny corridors” for recreation and heritage resource preservation. The key to the success of these corridors across the landscape and along our waterways has always been partnerships. Federal agencies working with private citizens and dedicated volunteers, have created irreplaceable links to our cultural and natural heritage.