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Douglas, Ozark and Wright counties are among the 13 area counties being considered for inclusion in a proposed National Heritage Area designation by a West Plains group, according to Russell Wood, of the Ozarks Property Rights Congress.
Members of the Ozarks Property Rights Congress were made aware of a government funded feasibility study imitated by Ozark Action at their recent meeting, Wood said.
According to available information bearing an Ozark Action letterhead, grant money obtained by Ozark Action is being used to hire a Kansas City firm, Jeffrey L. Bruce and Co., to do the study. Mike McGrew of that company says in a release that his company is working with Ozark Action to create an official feasibility document that the National Park Service will review.
He says, “NPS does have specific criteria to follow including resource inventories that document the significant features in a potential National Heritage Area.”
The National Park Service oversees the NHA program and funnels money to a local governing board which regulates the area with Park Service approval. Inclusion in the national program requires an act of Congress and support of the Congress person from the district involved.
While supporters of the effort tout it as a way to preserve cultural heritage, opponents see NHA designation as a pseudo form of federal zoning. Nationwide, property rights groups oppose the program as a conduit for imposing outside restrictions on private land use.
The other counties in the proposal are Carter, Dent, Howell, Iron, Oregon, Texas, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon, and Wayne.