Many travelers in many countries use the UNESCO World Heritage List as their primary vacation planning strategy, seeking out destinations from among those that the international committee of experts has designated as places of “outstanding universal value.” The importance of this highest-level endorsement for tourism volume can not be under-estimated. Although international sites vary widely in their appeal, we have a very close-to-home, comparable example: the Native American earthwork site at Cahokia, Illinois (near St. Louis), where visitation spiked dramatically in the first few years after its World Heritage inscription, and then leveled off at about a 10-fold increase from pre-inscription levels.
At Cahokia, funding was found for a beautiful new museum, the site entered the American History textbooks for the first time, and general levels of awareness and appreciation increased significantly. The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, hidden away among the small towns, back roads, and river valleys of southern Ohio, and the remarkable Native American culture that built them, will be afforded the prominent place in the public imagination they so richly deserve.
Control and Sovereignty.
After inscription, our sites will remain entirely the property and responsibility of their current owners, under the jurisdiction only of their present, local and US governmental jurisdictions.