We thank all of our supporters for your support letters, best wishes, and for speaking up to show you care.
Your expression of support for Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area helped bring this long-sought goal to life. For press release about our designation, see AFNHA Designated.pdf
Read below to follow our long journey to get to this
Thank your legislators for their support of Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area legislation!
Led by Sen. Joe Manchin, all of the West Virginia and Maryland Senators co-sponsored the AFNHA bill and voted for passage in the successful bipartisan lands bill. Read about this bill HERE.
Led by Rep. David McKinley, all of the West Virginia and Maryland representatives with districts in our area (including the newly elected ones) have co-sponsored the AFNHA designation bill. Urge them to continue to support and vote for passage of our bill in the House of Representatives - coming soon!
See our Congressional Contact List HERE
For over 15 years, the AFHA worked for conservation and community
development in our 18-county region. AFHA conserved, developed, interpreted and
promoted a regional network of forest-based resources and experiences,
benefiting communities and the environment throughout the highlands of West
Virginia and western Maryland.
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.
Your support was successful in promoting designation of 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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