The Crooked Road (or to use its official title, “The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail“) is up for consideration as a National Heritage Area.
According to the National Park Service (and via a Tad Dickens news story), the National Heritage Area designation means the 19 counties and four cities that comprise the Crooked Road region would be eligible for “public-private partnerships, leveraging funds and long-term support for projects that support historic preservation, conservation, recreation, tourism and educational projects.”
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, favors the effort, as does 9th District Congressman Morgan Griffith, R-Salem.
But there’s opposition, too.
We received a news release from the Liberty Confederation, a self-described “coalition of liberty groups from across Southern Virginia” that condemns the proposed National Heritage Area designation.
“We must ask Congressman Griffith and Senator Warner — is this is an order by decree?” asked Liberty Confederation Chairman Phil Spence in the news release. “Our own Virginia Declaration clearly says that there must be consent of the governed. Here we have a situation where the governed know nothing about what a National Heritage Area designation entails, not to mention that such a designation is bearing down on their right to use, enjoy and make their livelihoods in the manner in which they are accustomed on their own land.”
The group also included a link to this 2007 paper on the Heritage Foundation’s page, entitled “National Heritage Areas: Costly Economic Development Schemes that Threaten Property Rights.”
We also received a summary of comments collected during 12 public meetings across Southwest Virginia about the proposal. This came from the Crooked Road group and includes several references to opposition to the proposal.
You can read the entire summary here:
But in the interest of brevity, we’ll reprint the paragraph about opposition:
Opposition to the proposed designation was expressed by commenters at the Abingdon, Marion, Tazewell and Wytheville meetings, primarily by attendees who indicated they were either members or supporters of local Tea Party organizations. some of those expressing opposition attended multiple meetings to express their opposition. The primary basis for their opposition appeared to be their belief that a Crooked Road National Heritage Area designation would result in land use restrictions that would infringe on private property rights. They also indicated that they felt a decision to pursue a National Heritage Area designation should be made by referendum, i.e., it should be voted on by residents of the 19 county, four city region covered by the proposed designation.
Later in the document, the Crooked Road group responded to the concerns, acknowledging there had been impacts on property owners within a the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area in Arizona, but arguing that the issue there was “action at the local level and not based on any federal action.” The group wrote that based on its mission, the Crooked Road “has never been involved in owning, managing or controlling property and has no plans to do so in the future.” And it wrote that the public input meetings were intended to collect the feelings of residents and that no referendum is required.
What do you think? Should the proposed Crooked Road National Heritage Area be a concern to property owners within the region, or is it a non-issue?
– Mason Adams