Bear River Heritage Act: An Effort To Increase Education, Funding For Bear River Area
The Bear River Heritage Study Act was introduced last month by Utah Congressman Blake Moore (R) and Idaho representative Mike Simpson (R). If passed, the legislation would require the Secretary of the Interior to study the sustainability of establishing a national heritage area for the land on either side of the Utah-Idaho border where the Great Basin and the Rocky Mountains meet.
The Bear River Heritage Area is made up of seven counties between northern Utah and southeastern Idaho and encompasses multiple significant sites, including Promontory Summit, Bear Lake and the site of the Bear River Massacre.
While the area is recognized locally, if the Bear River Heritage Act was passed this would provide federal funds to support the area.
“This is where we established the transcontinental railroad. It’s of historical significance, and you can look back to our nation’s advancements once we connected the railroad coast to coast," Congressman Blake Moore said. "And that’s a key piece, but that’s just one piece of it.”
Congressman Moore said the area has a rich history that should be highlighted and the act would help diversify the economy in the region. He said the legislation is simply to conduct a study to evaluate if the area is a significant candidate for a heritage area.
Moore said not only would the heritage area educate Utah residents about the history of their state, but it would also bolster the economy in smaller communities.
“Getting people to that Promontory Point where the Golden Spike was laid, that’s a key piece of history that every American should know about," he said.
Moore said Utah already has a lot to offer with tourism to the state’s Mighty Five National Parks located in Southern Utah and the heritage area would bring awareness to a different region of the state.