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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 11:13am

Augusta Canal National Heritage Area Facing Potential Federal Cuts

Twenty-two National Heritage Areas, including the Augusta Canal, might be facing cuts of about 50 percent to federal funding. That is if the Obama administration gets congressional approval for its 2011 Park Services budget.

This is nothing new to Chris Abbot who oversees heritage areas in the southeast for National Park Services. He says the reason these areas exist is that they have political support and he expects that lawmakers will come to their aid.

"Each of these heritage areas has typically at least one congressman and typically a senator and a house member that care fairly passionately about them, so they’ve been able to attain higher funding for each of those areas each year based on those relationships," says Abbott.

If passed, the cuts would only affect heritage areas created before 2001. The proposed budget also requires those areas to submit plans showing how they can become self-sufficient.