2012 Hudson River Valley Ramble Events Set

The 2012 Hudson River Valley Ramble will be held on the weekends of September 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, and 29-30, 2012, with more than 165 events from the Capital District to New York City.

The Ramble aims to bring people outside to enjoy our distinct cultural heritage and the natural resources of the Hudson River Valley. It also serves as an economic boost for the regional economy. Nearly 150 environmental, land conservancy, trail and historic preservation organizations, New York State historic sites and parks, as well as the National Park Service participate by offering events, and many are free of charge and family friendly.
Guided hikes, cycling and kayaking tours, historic site walks, festivals and river explorations are examples of some of the types of events that will be available for every ability level. With all that the Ramble has to offer, you’ll have no problem finding a Ramble adventure near you. For a complete listing of events, visit www.hudsonrivervalleyramble.com. Copies of the program guide can be found in the August issue of Chronogram magazine or at various tourist destinations throughout the Hudson Valley. They may also be downloaded directly from the web site.

The Hudson River Valley Ramble is presented by the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and Hudson River Valley Greenway, in partnership with the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the NYS Office of Tourism, the National Park Service, and nearly 150 organizations hosting Ramble events throughout the Hudson River Valley.

Hudson River Valley Ramble Dates Set

The Hudson River Valley Greenway and Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area invite Hudson Valley communities to become part of an exciting regional event &#8212- the Hudson River Valley Ramble. Now in its 12th year, the Hudson River Valley Ramble is a variety of walks, hikes, paddles, biking tours and other events throughout 13 counties, and is designed to showcase the scenic, natural, historic and cultural resources of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area . This year, the Ramble will be held on four weekends: September 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30, 2012.
Ramble events are led by naturalists, ecologists, historians, geologists and trained volunteers from participating groups, which last year included over 150 environmental, land conservation, trail groups, heritage sites and historic preservation organizations.

“In 2011, over 120,000 people participated in Ramble events and we expect a great turnout again this year,” said Mark Castiglione, Acting Director of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and Greenway. “If it’s September, then it’s time to Ramble. The event provides people of all ages an opportunity to experience the cultural landscape of the Hudson River Valley by hiking a trail, visiting an historic site or paddling on the river. The Ramble demonstrates that celebrating our natural and cultural resources also provides a big boost to our regional economy.”

The Hudson River Valley Ramble is funded in part through the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area (HRVNHA) program. The HRVNHA program was established by Congress in 1996 and is funded through the National Park Service and Department of the Interior. The mission of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area is to recognize, preserve, protect and interpret the nationally significant cultural and natural resources of the Hudson River Valley for the benefit of the Nation. The Hudson River Valley Greenway is the management entity for the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.

The 2012 Ramble Sponsors Are:

The Hudson River Valley Greenway- The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area- The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program- The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation- The National Park Service.

Visit www.hudsonrivervalleyramble.com for more information about the Ramble

Visit www.hudsonrivervalley.com for information about the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area

Visit www.hudsongreenway.ny.gov for more information on the Greenway

Visit www.dec.ny.gov/lands/4920.html for more information on the Hudson River Estuary Program

Photo: 2012 Hudson River Ramble at Fort Crailo, in Rensselaer. 

New York Heritage Weekend, May 19 and 20th

Organizations throughout the state will celebrate New York history during this year’s New York Heritage Weekend on May 19th & 20th. Now in its 3rd year, the weekend will offer special programs, discounted or free admission to sites and events that celebrate national, state or local heritage.

Guided hikes, local history festivals, historic garden events, open historic houses, and events that explore all kinds of New York culture and history are on tap. Last year Heritage Weekend hosted 166 Heritage Weekend events with 143 federal, state, and private organizations. For a full searchable listing of events, and maps see www.heritageweekend.org .

Not only does this Heritage Weekend celebrate New York’s rich history, but it also boosts local economies. According to recent studies, tourism generates 81 billion dollars and sustains over 670,000 jobs in New York. According to a recent study recent commissioned by the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council and the U.S. Department of Commerce, 78% of US domestic travelers participate in cultural or heritage activities.

“Heritage Weekend opens the door to so many of New York’s great historic and cultural treasures,” said Beth Sciumeca, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “Once that door is open, people will find that there is a lifetime of places to experience throughout the state.”

New York Heritage Weekend 2012 is funded in part by The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and sponsored by I Love NY, National Park Service, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and participating event partners.

The Status of Heritage Area Reform Legislation

The National Heritage Areas Act of 2012 (H.R. 4099) introduced to Congress on February 29, 2012 is expected to support the work of four National Heritage Areas in New York State. U.S. Representative Paul Tonko (NY-21) and Charlie Dent (PA-15), co-chairs of the Congressional National Heritage Area Caucus, introduced H.R. 4099, a bill to reform and modernize the nation’s National Heritage Areas (NHA). The bill was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources’s Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on March 1.

Six U.S. Representatives from New York joined Congressman Tonko (NY-21) as an original sponsor on the bill that would affect the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership, and Niagara Falls National Heritage Area.

U.S. Representatives from New York signing onto the legislation as original sponsors were Eliot Engel (NY-17), Richard Hanna (NY- 24), Maurice Hinchey (NY-22), Chris Gibson (NY-20), Nan Hayworth (NY-19), and Nita Lowey (NY-18).

“The heritage-rich 21st Congressional District helped write our nation’s history,” said Congressman Paul Tonko. “A sense of place stands as a persuasive tool in the very competitive sweepstakes for jobs. Business decision makers are often attracted to a region that expresses significance, including its historical fabric. Therefore, by deepening heritage awareness and understanding a sense of place we are more marketable for jobs. A more defined sense of place provides an important tool in the tool kit for economic recovery.”

The National Heritage Area Program is an initiative of the Department of the Interior which relys on a public-private partnership- federal dollars are matched with an average of $5.50 in other public and private funding. &#8220Heritage areas have a proven record of fostering job creation and advancing economic, cultural, historic, environmental, and community development,&#8221 according to a prepared statement issued by the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. &#8220In addition to creating jobs, NHAs generate valuable revenue for local governments and sustain communities through revitalization and heritage tourism.&#8221

The legislation takes a new approach to heritage areas by establishing for the first time a standardized set of criteria for the designation of new NHAs and the review of those previously authorized. &#8220Having a clearly defined structure to oversee the management of heritage areas will allow these popular public-private partnerships to better preserve the nation’s heritage and spur economic growth with minimal federal support,&#8221 the statement said.

Similar proposals to reform and modernize the program had been recommended by both the Bush and Obama administrations.

Teaching the Hudson Valley Student Writing Contest

Teaching the Hudson Valley (THV) is looking for student writing about places in the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. Short essays and stories written by K-12 students will be accepted by e-mail until 9 a.m., Monday, November 7.

Beginning in December THV’s blog will publish up to one piece of student writing per week for the next 12 months. They will also share the students’ work with sites written about – they may choose to publish as well. In addition, three students – one each in elementary, middle, and high school – will receive an Explore Award covering trip costs so they can share the place they wrote about with their classmates.

All writing about places in the 11 counties that make up the federally-designated Hudson River Valley Heritage Area will be considered for publication. To be eligible for an Explore Award places must have cultural, historic, or natural significance, be owned or managed by a not-for-profit or government body, and be open to the public regularly.

When reviewing student work, THV will look for evocation of place, the vivacity of the writer’s voice, and use of conventions appropriate to each student’s age and development. Readers will include teachers and staff from Heritage sites throughout the region.

Teachers, youth group leaders, and others can find details, writing prompts, resources, and more at THV’s website.

Hudson River Valley NPS Bill Reintroduced

Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have reintroduced legislation to authorize the National Park Service (NPS) to conduct a study on whether the Hudson River Valley should become a unit of the National Park system. Under such a distinction, it’s expected the region would benefit from greater national attention, additional federal resources to support and preserve heritage sites, and increased regional tourism, all of which are hoped would contribute to job creation and economic growth.

&#8220The Hudson River Valley has inspired artists for centuries, fueled the industrial development of our nation for generations and played a vital role in the American Revolution and founding of our Republic,&#8221 Hinchey said. &#8220This region deserves to be recognized by the National Park Service for its historical and natural significance and should receive the federal resources and economic benefits that would come with such a recognition. This bill takes the first step by allowing the National Park Service to study if the Valley would be a good fit within the National Parks system. I am so proud to again bring forward this legislation with the support Kirsten Gillibrand in the Senate.&#8221

&#8220We’re still unlocking the Hudson River Valley’s potential,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Hudson River Valley is truly one of America’s richest treasures. From the Adirondacks to the busy ports of New York City, the Hudson River fuels our economy, inspires our artists, and provides New Yorkers with miles of adventure and endless recreation. As New York’s first Senator from Upstate in nearly 40 years, I will always work to preserve the beauty and tradition of the Hudson River Valley, and this bill takes the first step to getting the national recognition it deserves.”

The legislation, entitled The Hudson River Valley Special Resource Study Act, is similar to the bill which passed in the House last year. The Hudson River Valley is already designated as a federal National Heritage Area and state Greenway, but the current federal designation provides only limited funding that is subject to change each budget year. A designation as a National Park unit would provide more consistent and expanded federal support, including National Park Service staff and national attention to the region, all of which would help to boost tourism and preserve and restore the region’s historic sites and cultural resources.

In order for the Hudson River Valley to become a unit of the National Park System, a congressionally-authorized NPS study must be conducted. Hinchey and Gillibrand’s legislation would authorize such a study for the counties within the borders of current the Hudson River National Heritage Area. Specifically, the area to be studied would include the counties abutting the Hudson River that flows from Rogers Island at Fort Edward in Washington County to the southern boundary of Westchester County.

The bill provides guidelines designed to ensure that the NPS study recognizes the unique realities of the Hudson River Valley and its differences from more traditional National Park Service units. These guidelines require the NPS to examine park unit models, in particular national river and recreation areas, as well as other landscape protection models, that: encompass large areas of non-federal lands within their designated boundaries- foster public and private collaborative arrangements for achieving NPS objectives, and protect and respect the rights of private land owners. No forced land acquisition activities would be permitted.

Following a study, subsequent legislation would be required for a National Park Service unit designation to move forward. In the event that such subsequent legislation were to pass, all activities that are currently permissible under state or local laws would be unaffected because the National Park Service would have no legal authority to overrule state or local laws and policies on non-federal lands, such as those governing hunting and fishing, regardless of whether the region sits within a nationally designated unit of the park system.

Hinchey has long sought greater recognition, protection, and federal and state resources for the Hudson River Valley. As a member of the New York State Assembly, Hinchey authored the legislation that led to the creation of the Hudson River Valley Greenway. In Congress, he authored legislation that led to the designation of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, which provides technical assistance to local communities or local managers to assist them in managing natural and historic sites of national importance.