Happy Holidays from Appalachian Forest Heritage Area!

The end of 2012 is fast approaching, and it's a great time to be in the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area! Wood stoves are lit, ski season is upon us, and main streets are bustling with holiday shoppers. Read below to find out what we've been up to lately, but first...

A Mutually Beneficial Relationship
Appalachian Forest Heritage Area is continually taking steps towards National Heritage Area designation and, thanks to a $5,000 Campus Community LINK grant, students at Concord University are offering assistance. The LINK grant encourages professors and nonprofit organizations to work together, creating opportunities for students to participate in service learning projects. 

Management plans are required by the National Park Service for all National Heritage Areas. Even though AFHA is not nationally designated, board members feel that the plan will increase public understanding of AFHA's mission, as well as give the organization a leg up on eventual designation.

Susan Williams, Associate Professor of Recreation and Tourism Management at Concord University, has taken on the AFHA management planning and outreach project with six of her students. "It's great to get students into the field and bring their classroom to life," says Williams. "They really gain confidence when given opportunities to apply their knowledge." Jessi Rinehart, a student, agrees: "Working on this management plan has been a great learning experience. It's been especially rewarding for me because of my interest in local history and heritage tourism."
A Preservation Nerd at Heart
By Jeff Smith, AFHA AmeriCorps Volunteer
Why am I such a historic preservation advocate? Sure, my dad liked old houses...is that kind of thing passed down? Is it because I grew up in the Commonwealth of Virginia, surrounded by the homes of our founding fathers? That could be it. Or, maybe I am an uber-nerd who thinks it’s cool to save old buildings, not just ones associated with larger-than-life historic figures, but the shotguns, shanty towns, and mill villages of working class Americans, too. Yep, that’s it.
When I received an email from the WVU Public History list-serve about AFHA, I had to learn more; enter calm, cool, and collected Phyllis Baxter, program director. After getting the low-down on AFHA from Phyllis, I knew it was for me. It would allow me to continue public service while bringing me back to grass-roots preservation work. I can only speak for myself, but voluminous reports piled high on one’s desk don’t quite evoke a warm n' fuzzy feeling like a well-oiled community-led restoration effort that brings life to a neglected resource (yep, I know, nerd).
Although initially a bit overwhelming, my assignments are providing great opportunities to learn about West Virginia’s history and to work with other AFHA–ers. I’m most excited about a potential rehabilitation of the ca.1841 Beverly Jail. I have surveyed the building, photo-documented it, and completed a site assessment and preservation proposal. So now, the burning question that’s on every preservationist's mind: how are we going to pay for this? Stay tuned!

Experience the heritage of your area! Sites of the Month spotlights events and locations within the region, based on AFHA's four themes: forestry, history, culture, and nature.
Coopers Rock State Forest
A center for forestry research and timber management, this state forest is also home to rustic Civilian Conservation Corps buildings, which are on the National Register of Historic Places. 
Fort Edwards at Capon Bridge
During the French and Indian War, this fort was a British stronghold. Today the 23-acre-site features a colonial kitchen garden, archaeological site display, and exhibits on the war’s history.
McCoy's Grand Theatre and Museum
This 1920's movie house in Moorefield now shows community theater productions and contains a museum in its lobby.
Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
This refuge preserves the unique wetlands and uplands of the high elevation Canaan Valley. Enjoy programming all winter long, including skiing, bird walks, and snowshoeing. 
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!

Check us out on Facebook!
AFHA Facebook
Copyright © 2012 Appalachian Forest Heritage Area, All rights reserved.

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