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Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area

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Management Plan for AFNHA

As a newly designated National Heritage Area, AFNHA has up to 3 years to develop a “Management Plan” to guide our efforts. The Plan will then be reviewed and approved by the National Park Service.

WATCH our AFNHA newsletters and here as the planning process moves forward.

FILL OUT THE INPUT SURVEY  to tell us how you want to help, and to give us your feedback.

Management Plan is a misleading term, since as a National Heritage Area AFNHA does not manage any land. Instead, think of it as a guide to our partnerships, initiatives, and actions for the coming years.

The Management Plan must contain a number of components described in our legislation and National Park Service expectations. This includes public input, description of partnerships, assets list, conservation strategies, Interpretive plan, Business plan, and a 5 year Action Plan. We can also discuss and add other elements based on our own priorities and on the public input.

The AFNHA Management Planning process is starting with these components:

The first, pilot, public input meeting was held at our 2019 Stakeholders meeting in Keyser, on May 6, 2019.

An initial public input survey is available HERE. Please fill this out to share your information and feedback, and to sign up if you want to help further.

We anticipate task groups and meetings for a variety of elements of the planning process. If you might be interested in participating in any of these, please indicate when you fill out your input survey, or contact us directly at

These are likely to include:

• Plan Working Group - Board members, staff, consultants, and volunteers interested in helping to guide the Plan through this process, including setting goals and objectives. We have scheduled an initial meeting of this group August 5, 2019 to begin work on organizing the plan and to begin strategic planning.

• Public meetings - we will hold public meetings across the area through different steps of the planning process. Initial meetings (likely fall 2019 through spring 2020) will collect public feedback about assets and issues. Later meetings will give a chance to review plan components and give feedback on alternatives.

• Local ambassadors - we are looking for at least one person per county to be AFNHA contact for your local community. Help to plan public meetings, site visits for planning staff, and possibly targeted meetings with groups in your community. Help to get the word out and share it with your community.

• Interest Groups - based on feedback, we may hold meeting discussions around issues and goals of interest to specific groups, such as environment and forestry; culture and heritage; community development and tourism. Let us know what you are interested in, and we’ll let you know about these opportunities.

• Specific Plan sections -- Interpretive Plan, Business Plan, and likely a Tourism and Promotion Plan, will each need task groups to focus on those issues.

• Professional help - we will be selecting professional planning consultant(s) to help guide us through this process, and/or to help with specific elements of the plan.

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