Just like the history of this region, it hasn't been an easy road, but the efforts to develop the Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area are continuing to move forward.
It was announced last week that a team connected with the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations had been chosen to help develop a management plan for the heritage area. As approved by Congress, the area will span 40 counties, including Douglas County, in Kansas and Missouri and help tell the story of this area's search for freedom from pre-Civil War time to the present.
Judy Billings, director of the Lawrence Convention & Visitors Bureau, said she was delighted by the choice of the National Geographic team and eager to get to work on the management plan. She also noted that she was proud that both Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt had agreed to serve as honorary co-chairs of the effort. Freedom's Frontier is geographically one of the largest heritage areas and one of the few that spans more than one state.
The support of the governors and local units of government will be important to the success of the Heritage Area. Both financial and administrative support will be needed to cover staffing and other costs of completing the management plan.
Freedom's Frontier Heritage Area is an exciting opportunity to interpret and share this area's significant history.