February 2017

AFHA Closer to National Heritage Area Designation
Phyllis Baxter
AFHA Associate

Appalachian Forest Heritage Area is one step closer to national recognition, thanks to the introduction in the Senate of the S. 401Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area Act of 2017. Introduced by U.S SenatorsJoe Manchin (D-W.Va.),Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the bill would designate AFHA as a National Heritage Area.

Appalachian Forest Heritage Area (AFHA) has been seeking National Heritage Area designation since approval of their Feasibility Study by the National Park Service in 2006 and this marks the third session with a designation bill introduced. Designation as a National Heritage Area 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 more information, click here

Revamping our Thomas BAD Buildings Inventory

By Katie Teems
AFHA AmeriCorps Member

BAD stands for Brownfield,Abandoned, and Dilapidated. In other words, "BAD Buildings are structures and properties that are vacant, uninhabited and in a state of disrepair, whose owner is taking no active steps to bring the property back into functional use" according to theWest Virginia BAD Buildings Program.

In 2011, New Historic Thomas coordinated a survey of all the vacant and dilapidated buildings in Thomas and Coketon with the help of the West Virginia BAD Buildings Program. The participants conducted "sidewalk surveys" which were then prioritized and cataloged in an inventory document. The resulting list has succeeded in helping the city, individuals, and partner organizations prioritize buildings and properties for re-use. There have been a number of buildings redeveloped, demolished, or improved since the inventory's completion. You can see many of those success stories around the city.

The soon-to-be restaurant Rudolph's after renovation
(photo courtesy of Katie Teems)

Since 2011, a number of the buildings included in the inventory have been improved, put back into reuse, are currently being rehabilitated,or have been demolished while other structures are still exposed to the elements and continue to fall further into disrepair. For this reason, it is time to update the inventory.

With the assistance of volunteers, New Historic Thomas has undertaken to update the BAD Buildings inventory by conducting more street surveys this year. If you see neighbors braving the cold and walking around Thomas with a camera and a clipboard, just know that it's our loyal volunteers helping us with this project!

If you have any questions, feel free to email New Historic Thomas at mail@newhistoricthomas.com.

Support our AFHA AmeriCorps Around the Web

Please take a moment to look through some of the AFHA sites' web presence, maintained by AmeriCorps members. Save the pages, subscribe to the newsletters, and spread the links!

Fish & Wildlife Service:

Elkins Main Street:

Elkins Historic Landmarks Commission:

Mountain Arts District:

Randolph County Museum:

Potomac Highlands Cooperative Weed and Pest Management Area:

New Historic Thomas:
Subscribe to their newsletter here!

Tucker Community Foundation:


Shop on Amazon.com and support AFHA. Find out more here.

Experience the heritage of your area!Sites of the Monthspotlights events and locations within the region, based on AFHA's four themes: forestry, history, culture, and nature.

Cathedral Sate Parkis one of the last old-growth forests in the Appalachian highlands and the last virgin hemlock-mixed hardwood stand left in West Virginia. This forest is a remnant of a time when massive hemlocks still covered the area.

The Philippi Covered Bridge was built in 1852 by Lemuel Chenoweth, one of America's master covered bridge builders. Made of yellow poplar and incorporating the famous Burr Arch Truss,the 280.5 foot structure is the only remaining "double barreled" covered bridge serving a United Sates highway.

Fasnachtis a traditional pre-lenten celebration, and is honored in the small Swiss village of Helvetia, WV. Festivities will take place on Saturday, March 1st, featuringfood, beverages, music, and browsing in local shops. Don't miss the creative, and quite often frightening, masks in a lively parade at 8:00 p.m., and browse through masks from previous Fasnacht celebrations at the Helvetia Mask Museum. The day culminates in a square dance and in the "burning of Old Man Winter."

Lost World Cavernsoffers a 4-hour trip through more than a mile of chambers and passageways. Explorers of all ages are welcome, but someagility is required to make your way through the cave. Visitors to Lost World Caverns often emerge from their toura little dirtier than when they began, but the adventure is usually worth it!Always remember: caves stay relatively the same temperature year-round. Cavinga great way to enjoy unique natural wondersduring the winter!

Do you have a suggestion for Sites of the Month? Email us at: info@appalachianforest.us and let us know your favorite sites throughout AFHA!

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Our mailing address is:
Appalachian Forest Heritage Area
P.O. Box 1206
Elkins, WV 26241
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