Congressman Rick W. Allen (GA-12) this week introduced legislation to extend the Augusta Canal’s authorization as a National Heritage Area.
“The Augusta Canal played a critical role during the Industrial Revolution and is currently the nation’s only industrial power canal still in use for its original purpose,” said Congressman Allen. “I’m proud to introduce legislation to extend its authorization as a National Heritage Area to commemorate not only its historical significance, but its continued impact to economic development in the CSRA today.”
“The Augusta National Heritage Area saw the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to revise programming to create ‘Escape to the Great Outdoors’ which resulted in an increase in usage of our trails and waterways from families staying in place," said Dayton Sherrouse, Executive Director of the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area. "We applaud Congressman Allen for introducing the legislation to extend the authorization of the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area which recognizes the importance of our heritage area. Extending our authorization from 2021 will enable us to continue these successes.”
Congressman Allen introduces legislation to reauthorize the Augusta Canal as a National Heritage Area.
Background on the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area (ACNHA): The ACNHA is one of 55 areas designated by the Congress as National Heritage Areas. All are involved in preserving and telling different stories of national significance related to conserving natural, historic, and cultural resources. The ACNHA’s mission ranges from conservation to economic development. The Augusta Canal received its National Heritage Area designation in 1996. Congressman Allen’s bill would extend its authorization, which is currently set to expire this year, until 2036. He introduced similar legislation during the 116th Congress.
Projects Completed by the ACNHA:
Preservation & Economic Development: By assuming operation of three hydroelectric plants on the Canal, the ACNHA has preserved and enabled the private redevelopment of three former abandoned textile mills by providing below market rate power.
Tourism & Recreation Development: Construction and operation of an award winning Discovery Center, which received awards from former Governor Deal in 2011 and 2016; construction of 15 miles of multiuse trails, including three bridges. Construction and operation of two replicas of the historic Petersburg Tour Boats.
Education: The ACNHA welcomes over 9,000 students a year to the Discovery Center for training in the areas of history, social studies and environmental science.