Bill Would Extend Authorization For Fifteen Years, Remove Funding Limits
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn), U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Friday reintroduced legislation to reauthorize the two National Heritage Areas (NHAs) in Connecticut and Massachusetts, the Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor and the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area, before their authorization lapses this year. Designated by Congress, NHAs are places of natural, cultural, and historic importance that support local communities and promote resource conservation. The Last Green Valley, one of the largest NHAs in the northeast, consists of green fields and forests throughout twenty-six towns in Connecticut and nine in Massachusetts, and the Upper Housatonic Valley covers the watershed of the upper Housatonic River in eight towns in Connecticut and eighteen in Massachusetts. This legislation would extend their respective authorizations for fifteen years, protect their ongoing partnership with the National Park Services, and permanently remove funding limits which create challenges for NHAs planning future conservation efforts.
“Visitors and residents alike find history, culture, and natural beauty in the Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor and the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area. We must protect these National Heritage Areas, which boost our local economy and tell the story of the Commonwealth—preserving the past while protecting its lessons and landmarks for the future,” said Markey.

“The Last Green Valley and the Upper Housatonic Valley are home to so much natural beauty and rich history, and we’ve got to continue investing in their protection,” said Murphy. “By extending their authorizations for fifteen years and eliminating funding limits, we can ensure these spaces and the stories they tell are preserved for future generations.”
“These two beautiful Natural Heritage Areas are priceless treasures well worth the federal investment in this legislation. Although located in different parts of our state, the Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor and the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area offer not only exciting natural and historical sites, but play a key role in driving the economy. I will continue to work to ensure the preservation of Connecticut’s unique environmental, cultural, and historic assets,” said Blumenthal.
“Our National Heritage Areas in New England protect our natural treasures, strengthen our local economies, and provide opportunities for communities and visitors to learn more about our rich culture and history. I am glad to reintroduce this legislation with my colleagues to invest in the partnerships between communities in Massachusetts and throughout New England and the National Park Service to preserve and appreciate these special places for generations to come,” said Warren.
“Now more than ever, we understand how important The Last Green Valley’s wide open spaces are for our mental and physical health,” said Lois Bruinooge, Executive Director of the Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor. “Senator Murphy has been a champion of The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor since he took office and we are grateful he has taken the lead to file this legislation. The Last Green Valley has a big role to play in helping drive our region’s economy post-pandemic, and we look forward to reauthorization so we can continue to promote and protect our unique natural and cultural resources for years to come.” 
“Passage of this important legislation will allow the Upper Housatonic Valley NHA to continue the vital work of preserving the region’s history, protecting its natural resources, and celebrating the vibrant culture of Litchfield County, CT and Berkshire County, MA,” said Dan Bolognani, Executive Director, Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area. “Reauthorization of this program will allow us to further leverage modest federal investments that will help promote this region's economic development and conservation needs.”

U.S. Representative Joe Courtney (CT-2), along with U.S. Representatives John Larson (CT-1), Jahana Hayes (CT-5), and Richard Neal (MA-1), introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.