NATIONAL HERITAGE AREAS
National Heritage Areas are places that tell a rich and distinctly American story. Usually managed by a partnership of organizations and local governments with a single coordinating body, they pool resources (cultural, natural, and financial) to promote and conserve the region for the benefit of both present and future residents and visitors.
As of 2015, Congress had designated forty-nine heritage areas, each governed by separate authorizing legislation unique to its resources and desired goals. Recognition signifies a region’s significance to American history and culture and supports interpretation to show how a region’s geography, people, and ways of life have shaped both the immediate vicinity and the nation. The heritage area concept offers a collaborative approach to conservation that does not compromise traditional local use of the landscape and local control. Designation comes with limited financial and technical assistance through the National Park Service (NPS).
Although there are many kinds of regional planning efforts across the country, only heritage areas seek to engage residents, governments, and organizations in telling their stories and working in partnership to protect special resources and reach out to the American public. They are grounded in a region's pride in its history and traditions, and in residents’ involvement in retaining and interpreting the landscape for all. They advance economic development through an appreciation that a region’s unique assets are fundamental to success – asset-based “heritage development” – and by fostering cultural heritage tourism as one aspect of a region’s economy.
The first National Heritage Area was designated in 1984. Today residents and visitors alike are increasingly enthusiastic in discovering the high quality of the experiences they offer.
To learn more about National Heritage Areas visit: the NPS National Heritage Areas website.
ALLIANCE OF NATIONAL HERITAGE AREAS
The Alliance of National Heritage Areas (ANHA) is a membership organization of the Congressionally designated National Heritage Areas committed to raising awareness among the Administration, Congress, its partners, and the public of the benefits of National Heritage Areas to the public sector and private citizens and fostering educational opportunities and partnerships among organizations in the heritage development field.
Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area is a member of ANHA and is one of 49 Heritage Areas affiliated with the National Park Service (NPS).