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National Park Service Approves AFNHA Management Plan
Historic Preservation Blog from PreservationDirectory.com - national heritage area, national park service, appalachian forest national heritage area, appalachia, west virginia, maryland
Contributed By: Ben Duvall-Irwin
Website: https://www.appalachianforestnha.org

National Park Service Approves AFNHA Management Plan

The National Park Service has approved the Management Plan for the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area (AFNHA) on August 28, 2023. Completing over three years of outreach and a year of review, the Management Plan will guide AFNHA activities moving forward as a National Heritage Area, based on five main goals. Approval of the plan makes AFNHA eligible for increased federal matching funding.

According to the approval letter signed by National Park Service Director Charles Sams: “The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area Inc. developed a plan that promotes the continued appreciation and protection of the natural, historic, and cultural resources associated with the National Heritage Area, a place important to our nation’s history and heritage. We commend you for completing this well-conceived plan and for involving the interested Tribes, citizens, and organizations from 16 counties in West Virginia and two counties in Maryland. …This nationally distinctive landscape, which contains some of our nation’s most important natural and cultural resources, deserves continued respect and protection.”

Following Congressional designation as a National Heritage Area in 2019, AFNHA worked with Point Heritage Development Consulting through the planning process. We solicited feedback from task group participants, partners, the public, and National Park Service, and incorporated their comments into the draft plan. The review draft management plan was released for public input on June 24, 2022. Public review included an in-person workshop, a virtual information and feedback session, and distribution of the plan digitally and in print at public libraries, all publicized by press releases and social media. The submitted plan includes 47 letters of support or comment from federal, state, and local government representatives and organizations, educational partners, tourism entities, and other natural resource, cultural, heritage, and community-based organizations. The plan was finalized and submitted to the National Park Service for approval on August 16, 2022.

“Now we move forward to accomplish the ambitious goals of the plan -- to conserve and enhance our area's assets, to share our stories, to build sustainable tourism, to strengthen our partnership network, and to sustain the coordinating organization, AFHA Inc. As we accomplish multiple projects within these goals, we look to partners and supporters to help with their participation and resources” said Phyllis Baxter, AFNHA Executive Director.

The Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area conserves, interprets, and promotes forest heritage to enhance landscapes and communities in the highlands of West Virginia and Maryland. AFNHA works with partners to accomplish this through community development, conservation, celebrating cultural heritage, and creating opportunities for transformational experiences. To learn more about the work of Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area, and their recently completed management plan, see www.appalachianforestnha.org.

 


Keywords: national heritage area, national park service, appalachian forest national heritage area, appalachia, west virginia, maryland

Posted: September 8, 2023
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