May 3, 2004, Washington, DC—The President and Mrs. Laura Bush presented the first four Preserve America Presidential Awards at a White House ceremony today.
Two honorees were selected in each of two categories: Heritage Tourism, for projects that exemplify efforts that demonstrate commitment to the protection and interpretation of America's cultural or natural heritage assets; and Private Preservation, for outstanding privately funded historic preservation projects that are funded priviately or through public-private partnerships and that support the Administration's Preserve America initiative objectives.
In the Heritage Tourism category, the two winners are:
- Blue Ridge Heritage Initiative: North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia
- Lackawanna Heritage Valley: Northeast Pennsylvania
In the Private Preservation category, the two winners are:
- Historic Beaumont Hotel: Ouray, Colorado
- Historic Raven Natural Resources Learning Center: Kootenai National Forest, Libby, Montana
The Preserve America Presidential Awards are given annually to organizations, businesses, and government entities for:
- exemplary accomplishments in the sustainable use and preservation of cultural or natural heritage assets;
- demonstrated commitment to the protection and interpretation of America’s cultural or natural heritage assets; and
- integration of these assets into contemporary community life, combining innovative, creative, and responsible approaches to showcasing historic local resources.
Mrs. Laura Bush is Honorary Chair of the Preserve America initiative. The recipients are chosen through a national competition administered by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Transportation; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, and the Council on Environmental Quality; in cooperation with the Executive Office of the President.
Summaries of 2004 Preserve America Presidential Award Honorees
Blue Ridge Heritage Initiative
Blue Ridge Heritage Initiative, located in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia. This initiative promotes four groups of heritage tourism trails: Blue Ridge Music; Cherokee Heritage; Craft Heritage; and Farms, Gardens and Countryside.
The development of guidebooks for driving tours helps visitors explore important cultural stories, places and traditions of the southern mountains.
Accepting the award were Ms. Mary Regan, Executive Director, and Mr. Wayne Martin, Folklife Director, of the North Carolina Arts Council (pictured above).
Lackawanna Heritage Valley
The Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority and its partners are bringing into focus the significant cultural and natural resources of Lackawanna Valley by considerably investing in the region, leading to an increase in tourism that has also contributed to the local economy.
The project has stimulated environmental renewal, contributed greatly to education, and created a visitors center, greenways, trails, festivals, projects, volunteer programs and museums.
Historic Beaumont Hotel
The Beaumont Hotel was built in the 1880's when Ouray was one of the richest silver and gold mining areas in the western United States, yet has remained abandoned for 34 years despite its listing in 1973 on the National Register of Historic Places.
Demolition of the hotel was a strong possibility until the Kings recognized its cultural and economic importance and purchased the structure in 1998. After extensive study and planning, they completed a $6 million restoration and the Beaumont reopened for business in 2003.
Historic Raven Natural Resources Learning Center
The Historic Raven Natural Resources Learning Center began in 1906 as the Raven Ranger Station to support the newly created U.S. Forest Service as a supply station on the southern end of the Kootenai National Forest.
The ProviderPals, the U.S. Forest Service, local communities, individuals, major foundations, schools and business partnered to preserve the historic place and in the process created a learning center that brings students and teachers from across the nation to learn about natural and cultural resources at the site.
All photos by White House photographer Paul Morse