Springfield, Illinois, May 26, 2017 -The Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition unveiled new highway signage now marking the entry points to the 42-county Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area in Illinois.
Designed by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the signs are similar to those scattered throughout the United States denoting National Parks and National Forests under the guardianship of the National Park Service. Located on both State and Federal highways, the signs outline the boundaries of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage area to let travelers know they have entered a Federally-designated heritage area.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who introduced the legislation to establish the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area nearly a decade ago and has fought for continued federal funding of the Heritage Partnership Program, noted the importance of the National Park Service and the National Heritage Area programs in both preserving and sharing our national story with the world. “The legacy of Abraham Lincoln is one that resonates not only with Americans, but also with people across the globe. It is with great pride that Illinois shares its Lincoln heritage with today’s travelers as well as future generations.”
The unveiling was held in Springfield, one of six designated Gateway Communities charged with welcoming visitors to the Heritage Area and encouraging them to explore the region that celebrates the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. According to Looking for Lincoln Executive Director, Sarah Watson, “It is fitting that we hold this event in Springfield at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum – our crown jewel and the true gateway to the 10 national historic monuments, 51 historic districts and over 300 Lincoln historic sites, attractions and exhibits scattered throughout the National Heritage Area.”
“Springfield is proud to share its rich Lincoln story,” added Mayor Langfelder. “Our Lincoln history is an integral part of Springfield and a key component of our tourism industry. And, we are proud to be a partner with Looking for Lincoln in the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area and pledge our continued support in preserving and telling the Lincoln story.”
Lincoln tourism in the National Heritage Area accounts for over $300 million in visitor spending and supports over 3,000 jobs according to a recent economic impact study sponsored by the National Park Service. US Travel Association figures show an overall tourism industry (leisure, meetings and conventions, and special events bring over $3 billion in annual economic impact. According to Watson, “In addition to preserving and sharing the story of Lincoln, a major goal of the National Heritage Area program is to support and enhance economic development within the region. The signage program is one part of that effort.” “Plans going forward include additional Heritage highway signage, community signage identifying Gateway Cities, as well as official Looking for Lincoln communities, and wayfinding signage that will bring people off of the highways, into the communities as they look for Lincoln throughout the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area.”
For more information about Looking for Lincoln and the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, visit our website at www.lookingforlincoln.com.