Trump Administration applauds Eco-Heritage Tourism efforts in Kosrae, Micronesia Compact Funds and National Park Service Grant support Kosrae’s Mahkontowe Conservation Area
- Category: News
- Published: Monday, 30 November -0001 00:00
- Written by Bill Jaynes
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Office of the Assistant Secretary
Insular and International Affairs
WASHINGTON – The Trump Administration, through U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Douglas W. Domenech applauds the successful completion of an eco-heritage tourism project funded through the Compact of Free Association in Kosrae State in the Federated States of Micronesia. The Kosrae Island Resource Management Authority has completed the construction of several traditional resting houses in the Mahkontowe Conservation Area (MCA) as part of a larger effort to protect cultural and natural resources and to develop eco-heritage tourism.
“We applaud this unique use of Compact funds to help Kosrae preserve cultural traditions while also promoting the protection of natural resources for tourism and economic development. This
will be especially important once the FSM is able to safely open up its borders to tourism again since travel restrictions were put in place earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “We also applaud Kosrae for their successful application for Historic Preservation Funds as they prepare to nominate Kosrae's Mahkontowe Conservation Area to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.”
The Mahkontowe Conservation Area incorporates the interior mountain range on Kosrae Island, which features the prominent shape of a reclining female, or the sleeping lady known as Mahkontowe in Kosraean legend and oral histories. Working with Kosraean elders who advocated for protecting Mahkontowe in 2017, the Kosrae State Government, through a community-based approach, also involved Kosrae State government agencies, non-government organizations, local guides, and tourism operators to help protect Mahkontowe. In 2018, the Kosrae State Legislature passed Kosrae State Law 11-152 to protect Kosrae’s Sleeping Lady through the Mahkontowe Conservation Area.
Fiscal year 2019 funding provided through the Compact of Free Association was approved for the Kosrae Island Resource Management Authority to build several traditional resting houses using Kosraean traditional knowledge and resources in the Mahkontowe Conservation Area to promote eco-heritage tourism. The local resting houses will have a dual purpose of supporting tourists as well as local Kosraen agriforesters. For more information visit the Kosrae State Historic Preservation Office.
In July 2020, the Kosrae State Government also received the Underrepresented Communities grant from the National Park Service (NPS), which supports efforts to nominate Kosrae’s Mahkontowe Conservation Area to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the NPS’ National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources. There are several other locations in the U.S. territories and the freely associated states currently listed. For more information, visit the NPS website at: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nationalregister/index.htm.
In December of 2019, the Office of Insular Affairs, the National Park Service, and the Guam Preservation Trust hosted a World Heritage Opportunities Workshop and Insular Areas State Historic Preservation Officers a workshop and training on Guam to share and discuss opportunities under the World Heritage Convention, the National Historic Landmarks program, and other ways to preserve and protect historic, cultural, and natural resources in the U.S. Insular Areas.
Certain economic assistance provisions under the Compact of Free Association agreement (U.S. Public Law 108-188) between the FSM and the United States are set to expire in 2023. Bilateral discussions are underway related to the expiring provisions.
For more information about the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, visit the website at www.doi.gov/oia, follow on Twitter at @ASIIADomenech, or like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/InsularAffairs.