The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking comments on a draft study of the feasibility of designating certain areas in Oregon and Washington as the Columbia-Pacific National Heritage Area. The study area includes portions of Clatsop County, Oregon and Pacific and Wahkiakum Counties in Washington. NPS is conducting this study under the direction of Public Law 110-229. This study will be available on-line on March 31 at www.nps.gov/lewi and at www.columbiapacificnha.org. Copies of the study will be available at public libraries throughout the region beginning April 2.

The public comment period will run until May 3, 2010.

National Heritage Areas

National Heritage Areas (NHA) are places designated by Congress for the distinctive role that they have played in the history, heritage and culture of the United States. There are 49 NHAs nationwide. In addition to Congressional recognition, NHA designations include authorization of federal funds to assist communities in holding on to the traditions, livelihoods, and places that make them distinctive. More information about national heritage areas can be found at www.nps.gov/history/heritageareas/.

Non-profit Shorebank Enterprise Cascadia proposed as NHA Coordinator

NHA programs are not managed by the National Park Service; they are managed by a non-profit coordinator. This coordinator is designated by Congress and given certain responsibilities by the law that authorizes the NHA.

Because the coordinator will be largely responsible for the NHA's success, NPS has determined that it is essential during the study process for the public to meet the proposed NHA Coordinator, review their proposed approach to the NHA, and review their commitment to public involvement and partnership.

Shorebank Enterprise Cascadia (SBEC) is the potential Coordinator for the proposed Columbia Pacific National Heritage Area. SBEC is a certified non-profit Community Development Financial Institution serving urban and rural communities in Oregon and Washington. SBEC's mission is to strengthen families, cultural traditions, economic opportunity and environment. SBEC proposes developing a NHA advisory board representing a broad range of interests in the communities within the proposed NHA. More information about SBEC can be obtained at www.sbpac.org

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