On December 22, Congress reauthorized the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area to 2037 and increased the funding cap from $20 million to $22 million dollars as part of the passage of S.1942, the National Heritage Area Act. President Biden signed the act into law on January 5.

The National Heritage Area Act provides long term re-authorization of America’s National Heritage Areas, establishes seven new areas and provides a steady stream of federal funding for these critical designations. National Heritage Areas are places where historic, cultural, and natural resources combine to form cohesive, nationally important landscapes.

S.1942 was advanced by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and supported by Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Rob Portman, Congressman Tim Ryan, Congressman Dave Joyce, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Congresswoman Shontel Brown, Congressman Anthony Gonzalez and Congressman Bob Gibbs.

“Ohioans take great pride in our state’s historic role in building the Ohio & Erie Canal and connecting our state to the rest of the country,” said Senator Brown. “From Tuscarawas County to Cuyahoga County, the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area draws millions of dollars to our state each year, supporting thousands of jobs. We owe it to all Ohioans and visitors to continue to support this treasure and I was proud to join my colleagues in ensuring this National Heritage Area is reauthorized to 2037.”

The reauthorization of the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area provides long-term stability for the continued development and activation of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, construction of connector trails, preservation of historic buildings, educational & interpretive programming, and the conservation of natural areas.

“We are extremely grateful for the tremendous support of our elected officials. Their incredible support will allow us to continue sharing the natural, historical and recreational resources of the Ohio & Erie Canalway with our millions of residents and visitors,” said Mera Cardenas, executive director of Canalway and co-executive director of the Ohio & Erie Canalway Association.

The Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area was designated by Congress in 1996 and celebrates the legacy of the Ohio & Erie Canal to the region and nation. Annually, more than 2.5 million users find their way to the iconic 101-mile Towpath Trail running through the heart of the Ohio & Erie Canalway.

About the Ohio & Erie Canalway Association

The Ohio & Erie Canalway Association (OECA) is the 501(c)(3) non-profit designated by the U.S. Congress in the Ohio & Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor Act of 1996 as the management entity for the National Heritage Area. The Association operates as a regional extension of its two founding organizations: Canalway, representing Cuyahoga County, and the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, representing the southern three counties of Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas.

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