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Appalachian Forest Heritage Area

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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 is helping bring this long-sought goal to life.


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, 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.

Your support and thanks to Congress is showing success for 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:


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.

The 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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