World Heritage and the Gadling connection

In November, Grant, Catherine and I had a grand time participating in a conference call with various folks interested in travel and preserving those things that make the world a wonderful place to be. Friends of World Heritage, an initiative in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, and World Heritage Center at UNESCO, orchestrated the call to promote a dialog among us and create a network that fosters public interest and involvement in the work of Friends of World Heritage. The aim of the organization is to ensure UNESCO’s World Heritage sites continue to gain public recognition and support as valuable places worthy of honor and preservation. TurtlefeetSurfersBeat, Intelligent Travel (blog for National Geographic Traveler) and National Parks Traveler joined in on the chat.

Catherine, Grant and I were happy to be included among the group of knowledgeable and engaged folks who are interested in the world and preserving its natural and cultural heritage. (All Gadling bloggers are included in those interested in the world. Catherine, Grant and I are the ones who were able to participate in the call.) Since World Heritage sites are among those places that ensure that our natural world and cultural history stay intact, this conversation was a perfect interaction of interests.

We’ve continued to stay engaged with Friends of World Heritage since then. Our hope is that we can further the cause of Friends of World Heritage by letting Gadling readers know about the latest happenings in the World Heritage arena and highlighting those must see places that are must see because of their distinctive characteristics.

One of the latest happenings in the World Heritage arena is that 14 places in the United States have been named as contenders for the distinction of becoming an official World Heritage site. These 14 are on the new “Tentative List.” We are using February as a month to highlight the bounty. In the month of love, these are places to love.

Naming the sites on this “Tentative List” is the end of the beginning of the process. These 14 sites, the first to be considered in the U.S. in 12 years, have been picked by the Department of the Interior (in conjunction with the National Park Service) for consideration. The places on the Tentative List won’t be able to be considered as official World Heritage Sites until 2009. The rules state that a place has to be on a list for a year. A site can be on a list for a long, long time as there is a lot of competition. This is my understanding from the press release we received from the U.S. Department of Interior via Friends of World Heritage.

Stay tuned for a post on the “Tentative List” this afternoon and Gadling’s coverage of the 14 sites throughout this month. You can help us decide who we think should win an official spot as a World Heritage Site. The photo is of the map of World Heritage sites. We’ll let you in on how to get one of those too.