The National Heritage Area designation is an excellent one for preserving historic areas without the restrictions that come with National Park status, and it is a designation we have suggested for the American River Watershed connected with the gold rush.
We wrote about it in our 2007 Report: The American River Parkway, Governance, Ecoregionalism. and Heritage: A Vision & Policy Primer, (pp. 30-35)
The Sacramento Bee wrote a story about the move to create a National Heritage Area in the Delta, which is a great idea.
“The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is one of the world's unique landscapes, but unless you own a boat or part of an island, its natural wonders are simply hard to access…
“Already under way is a plan to declare the Delta a "national heritage area." This is a National Park Service status – without the park and its rules.
“One of the water bills signed last year by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger charged the Delta Protection Commission, a state agency based in Walnut Grove, with applying to Congress for the designation.
“The commission obtained a $10,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to prepare the proposal. A consultant has been hired, and Executive Director Linda Fiack said the proposal should be complete next year.
“If approved, the Delta would become the state's first national heritage area. The designation highlights unique historic or cultural features, and allows a region to use the National Park Service "arrowhead" logo and signage.”