- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 7, 2021

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Gov. Pete Ricketts objected Wednesday to an effort to designate parts of south-central and southwestern Nebraska as a federally recognized National Heritage Area to try boost tourism.

Ricketts said he was concerned that the designation requires approvals from Congress and the National Park Service. He said the designations come with “unquantifiable and unknowable risks,” and that requirements to maintain the designation could change without input from states.

Ricketts said the effort was led by the Willa Cather Foundation as a way to promote tourism and local development. He said state and local officials should maintain control as they look for ways to promote Nebraska’s heritage and tourism.

Officials have sought to boost the state’s image for tourism after a national group ranked Nebraska last a few years ago among states that outsiders are likely to visit.

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