May 1, 2006 —President Bush and Preserve America Honorary Chair, Mrs. Laura Bush, today announced the 2006 Preserve America Presidential Awards at a White House Rose Garden ceremony.

The Presidential Awards are one component of Preserve America, a White House initiative that highlights the efforts of President and Mrs. Bush to preserve our national heritage. Each year, two awards are given for activities advancing heritage tourism and two awards are given for privately funded historic preservation projects or programs. This was the second year the Preserve America Presidential Awards were conferred in May, which is National Preservation Month.

In the Heritage Tourism category, the two winners were:

In the Private Preservation category, the two winners were:

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.

“The four award winners epitomize the Preserve America initiative goals of preserving and sharing important heritage resources for their inherent economic, educational, and cultural benefits,” said John L. Nau, III, chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, which helps administer the awards program. “It is especially gratifying that all of our honorees build strong coalitions involving public and private sector partners. In doing so, they spread the understanding that heritage preservation is not a cost for protecting the past but a wise and essential investment in our future.”

During the ceremony, Mrs. Bush also announced the convening of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s Preserve America Summit that will be held this fall in New Orleans.

Summaries of 2006 Preserve America Presidential Award Honorees

The Maryland Heritage Areas Program

Maryland Heritage Areas Program resulted from Maryland’s recognition that heritage tourism is a key economic development and sustainable preservation strategy. Maryland encourages creation of local preservation and tourism efforts and offers a connecting framework that enjoys broad state support through the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority. Since the program’s inception nine years ago, there are now 10 Certified Heritage Areas representing 18 counties and 62 municipalities, with three more areas pursuing certification. Every county in Maryland now includes a heritage area within its borders.

Mission San Luis

Mission San Luis offers a glimpse of the American past that otherwise would not be available. Relatively few people are aware of the more than 100 Spanish missions established across north Florida during the 16th and 17th centuries. Thanks to decades of exhaustive archeologåical effort and painstaking research involving original mission documents, the State of Florida and multiple essential partners have recreated the former western capital of Spanish Florida. Mission San Luis, a National Historic Landmark, was destroyed by fire in 1704 but has risen from the ashes as a 60-acre window to the forgotten past.

The “Explore the Highway with Hampton, Save-A-Landmark™”

Hampton Hotel “Explore the Highway with Hampton, Save-A-Landmark™” Program is a corporate commitment to preservation. The World’s Largest Santa Claus in Alaska, Jesse Owens Memorial Park in Alabama, and La Plaza Park in California are just a few of the 26 places nationwide receiving volunteer refurbishment to date through Hampton Hotels’ initiative. The program identifies and assists in rehabilitation of significant, iconic, or just plain quirky roadside attractions across the Nation. Employees volunteer their efforts, the company provides funding, and communities and road-tripping tourists benefit.

The Tauck World Discovery Yellowstone Guest-Volunteer Program

Tauck World Discovery Yellowstone Guest-Volunteer Program benefits the world’s first national park, which today hosts 3 million visitors annually. Tauck World Discovery created and operates a unique program through which more than 5,000 vacationers voluntarily have donated nearly 10,000 hours of labor to help preserve and protect park assets. In this manner, Tauck has used the very human visitation that inevitably causes some adverse impact to natural and historic resources and turned it into a positive force for preservation, at the same time building visitor understanding, appreciation, and pride.