Park Service is 1 step closer to creating Heritage Area in state

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A National Park Service advisory panel will recommend today that the agency be given the power to designate National Heritage Areas without congressional approval, a move that could give the green light to long-delayed plans for a Heritage Area west of Boston.

Recognition as a National Heritage Area -- a geographic area of national historical significance that qualifies for millions of dollars in federal grants -- requires an act of Congress, a process that preservation groups say is often cumbersome and has led to a backup of about 20 areas waiting for federal approval.
The proposed ``Freedom's Way" region in New England covers an area of 45 towns in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire that were hotbeds of support for Patriot forces against the British during the American Revolution, as well as for the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage during the 19th century.

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