National Heritage Areas

Part of our strategy is to see the Parkway become a National Heritage Area; here’s a related article.

By Matthew White

Concerned about the creeping uniformity of modern suburban life, many people are seeking a renewed “sense of place” in their communities. The popularity of historical societies and preservation projects is a sign of this trend. Some people have discovered that adding the words “nationally significant” to their area or region can result in millions of federal dollars funneled through National Heritage Areas (NHAs). What was once a regional or local project with community involvement can be partly underwritten by the government and overseen by the National Park Service.

Thanks to NHAs, money from the federal government has been spent on projects such as waterwheel reconstruction in Philadelphia, folk music collection in North Carolina, building a coal mining archive inside a church in West Virginia, agricultural field trips for schoolchildren in Iowa, celebrating Creole culture in Louisiana, and interpreting water management in Colorado. NHAs range in size from small waterways such as the nine-mile Augusta Canal in Georgia to land corridors such as Rivers of Steel, a heritage area covering seven counties along the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers in Pennsylvania. Heritage areas include cities—Detroit, Lansing, and Flint are all part of the MotorCities Heritage area—and even an entire state, Tennessee.

Heritage areas are of special interest now because of a controversial bill, the National Heritage Partnership Act, introduced by Senator Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.) and Representative Joel Heffey (R. CO.). The sponsors hope to create an official program within the National Park Service and to formalize criteria for designating heritage areas. Right now, each heritage area is created by an individual law enacted by Congress.

The rest of the story:

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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