WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWLP) – President Joe Biden has signed the National Heritage Area Act into law this week.

The act extends the authorization of heritage land in parts of Massachusetts. The  Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area as well as the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area, the Essex National Heritage Area, the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, the Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor have their authorizations extended to September 30, 2037.

Senator Edward Markey was the lead sponsor of the  Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area Act of 2021 and said he is proud of the work that lead to the signing of the National Heritage Area Act.

“I am proud to have supported and worked to pass this legislation, which provides certainty to the organizations that protect thousands of the culturally significant places in Massachusetts that tell the story of our nation,” said Senator Markey. “We must recognize and preserve the unique identities of our heritage areas and corridors, which empower diverse communities to voice their stories. I will continue to push for investments in Massachusetts’s natural and historic landscape that strengthen its local economies and forge a deeper bond with our country’s past, present, and future.” 

The Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area was created in 2009 and includes 45 communities and 34 cities and towns in Massachusetts. The Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area Act of 2021 was introduced to lift the funding cap on  Essex National Heritage Area and to extend authorization until 2036.