Dear Interested Party,
I am writing to solicit your comments and ideas regarding heritage area status for Emery County. As you may know, Emery County has been unsuccessful in three attempts to have Congress designate the county as a National Heritage Area. The public lands council needs public comment to help us develop a recommendation to the county commission on whether or not to continue this effort, and if so, in what form. A copy of the heritage area legislation proposed by Emery County in 2002 may be obtained from the public lands department or the planning and zoning office, upstairs in the courthouse.
Why the interest in heritage area designation? Because it might accomplish some of the goals for tourism identified by local citizens during the development of the county master plan. While recognizing that tourism will take many forms, participants in master plan meetings made it clear that they wanted to identify the county as a tourist destination, rather than a place that people merely drove through They wanted to create opportunities for "value added" tourism, where local residents and businesses could provide specific services and experiences to tourists. They also felt that county residents might be more inclined to provide services to tourists if we were able to link tourism with local culture.
Heritage area designation would not effect the management of public or private lands, but would identify Emery County as a place where visitors could learn about the history and culture of the American West. Examples of existing National Heritage Areas include civil war battlefields, former manufacturing districts and other historical sites in the eastern United States. Sanpete, Sevier, Paiute, Garfield and Kane counties have sought heritage area status as Utah's "Mormon corridor." Millard and Box Elder counties have also contemplated heritage area legislation.
A heritage area typically has an advisory board which includes representatives of local government, chambers of commerce and others involved with history and tourism. Most heritage areas are eligible for federal matching funds to help promote and develop appropriate tourism.
You can share your ideas personally with County Public Lands Director Ray Petersen. Ray's office is Room #216 of the Emery County Courthouse. The phone number there is 381-5552, email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Or mail your comments to Public Lands Director, P.O. Box 1298, Castle Dale, Utah , 84513. We would appreciate your response by March 14, and look forward to hearing from you. We value your input.