Highway Alliance Has High Hopes for Bennett Bill This Session; Keeping Eye on State Tourism Legislation – Press Release 2/7/2005

DATE 02/07/2005 12:23 PM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Highway Alliance Has High Hopes for Bennett Bill This Session;
Keeping Eye on State Tourism Legislation

The third time is the charm. At least, that is what members of the Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance are hoping for with Sen. Bob Bennett’s National Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area bill.The legislation, which would designate a 300-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 89 as a heritage area, is scheduled to be heard by the Senate during its 109th session this year. The bill has passed the Senate twice previously, but both times was bogged down in the House of Representatives and failed to pass before Congress adjourned.

“Rep. Chris Cannon has assured us that he will work very hard to get the bill heard in the House this session,” says Monte Bona, a member of the alliance and Mt. Pleasant City Council. “We are hoping that the bill is approved by both houses this year. It has been a long wait.”

Meanwhile, Bona, along with other local preservation and government officials, is keeping a close eye on legislation before the Utah Legislature — Senate Bill 7. It pertains to promoting tourism in Utah, and Bona hopes part of its focus will be on heritage tourism. “Utah has long been known as a place to ski and visit beautiful national parks, and we support continuing to promote these assets,” Bona says. “But we’d also like to see the state focus on its heritage tourism attractions.”

Heritage tourism is the fastest-growing segment in the tourism industry in America. Utah has some of the most outstanding heritage tourism attractions in the country, including Temple Square, Old Deseret Village and This Is The Place State Park, and attractions along U.S. Highway 89 from Cache Valley to Kanab, Bona says. “The cities and towns along the heritage highway are the best remaining examples of how Mormon pioneers colonized in Utah.”

Highlighting the region’s heritage was the impetus behind the Bennett bill, he adds. “The purpose of the designation is first to recognize Mormon heritage, and second, to promote tourism and economic development in the area,” Bona says.

The National Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area would include six counties: Sanpete, Sevier, Piute, Wayne, Garfield and Kane. It also includes the All-American Road Highway 12 and Highway 24, which branch off from U.S. 89. The national designation would mean that the counties would receive $10 million over the next decade in federal funds for marketing, preservation and related projects.

Currently, the Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance promotes attractions in the cities and town along U.S. Highway 89 in a number of ways. It has created a brochure “The Artisans and Crafters of Utah’s Heritage Highway 89,” that features the products created by artists and craft makers along the highway.

The alliance has also produced documentaries, including Stories Along U.S. Highway 89, which features the people, places and history of Highway 89, and includes in-depth interviews and historical re-enactments. The alliance has also organized tours for writers and the general public, and promotes special events that take place along the historical route and celebrate the region’s heritage.

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502
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