Appalachian Forest Heritage Area (AFHA) needs your help to support National
Heritage Area designation. Your expression of support NOW for Appalachian Forest
National Heritage Area will help bring this long-sought goal to life.
Tell your U.S. Representatives and Senators you support Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area designation. Showing them strong grassroots support will inspire action!
For over 15 years, AFHA has worked for conservation and community
development in our 18-county region. AFHA conserves, develops, interprets and
promotes a regional network of forest-based resources and experiences,
benefiting communities and the environment throughout the highlands of West
Virginia and western Maryland. Now is the time to expand these efforts during
our spring 2018 support letter campaign.
AFHA began seeking National Heritage Area (NHA) designation with the approval of our Feasibility Study by the National Park Service in 2006. For the study, more than 150 different private, government and non-profit agencies as well as individuals wrote in support (see list of letters HERE) of this designation.
Today, we need to show
that support again. Currently, two bills,
Senate Bill 401 and House Resolution
3142, have been introduced in Congress to designate the Appalachian Forest
National Heritage Area. This designation will bring national recognition of the
importance of the Appalachian Forest Heritage story, as well as technical
assistance through the National Park Service and funding for local projects.
For over 30 years, National Heritage Areas have been telling America’s story. They are designed as a cost-effective way of conserving our nation’s natural and historic resources. This approach has been validated in 49 areas around the country, including two in West Virginia (Wheeling National Heritage Area and the National Coal Heritage Area), that have developed dynamic partnerships among local governments, non-profit groups and businesses.
The National Heritage Area
program in a nutshell:
NHA is a grants and outreach program through the
National Park Service, administered and controlled locally.
does not result in any additional federal ownership, regulations, or management
NHAs leverage federal funds that help create jobs, generate revenue
for local governments and sustain local communities.
NHAs return an average
of $5.50 for every $1 of federal investment.
NHAs serve as catalysts in
their communities, taking on projects that fit their goals and local priorities.
They encourage collaboration and work with willing partners to see projects
Let’s look at figures from one of West Virginia’s NHAs. The National Coal Heritage Area (NCHA) generates $207 million annually in economic impact, supports 2,744 jobs and generates $16.8 million in tax revenue. This economic impact consists of: tourism ($205.3 million), operations ($1.1 million), grant making activities ($419,000), and capital expenditures ($238,000).* The NCHA has been a driver of economic development in that southern West Virginia region and transformed communities through preservation and celebration of their rich coal history.
opportunities for our region are similarly limitless; for we are unique. No
other NHA has identified forest heritage as its primary theme. NHA status would
provide support and funding for the region to develop interpretation and
cultural programs; conserve our unique assets, recognize the role of past,
present and future of the forest industry; strengthen our forest heritage
identity; and share this amazing legacy with visitors.
For the history of Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area effort, including Feasibility Study, see HERE
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