The Federal Preservation Response to Limited Resources

I. How do areas become Heritage Areas?

A. The National Park Service has outlined four critical steps that need to be taken prior to congressional designation of a national heritage area.

1. Completion of a suitability/feasibility study;

2. Public involvement in the suitability/feasibility study;

3. Demonstration of widespread public support among heritage area residents for the proposed designation; and

4. Commitment to the proposal from key constituents, which may include governments, industry, and private, non-profit organizations, in addition to area residents.

B. The following components are recommended for assessing whether an area may qualify as a national heritage area. A suitability/feasibility study should include analysis and documentation that illustrates that:

1. The area has an assemblage of natural, historic, or cultural resources that together represent distinctive aspects of American heritage worthy of recognition, conservation, interpretation, and continuing use, and are best managed as such an assemblage through partnerships among public and private entities, and by combining diverse and sometimes noncontiguous resources and active communities;

2. The area reflects traditions, customs, beliefs, and folk life that are a valuable part of the national story;

3. The area provides outstanding opportunities to conserve natural, cultural, historic, and/ or scenic features;

4. The area provides outstanding recreational and educational opportunities;

5. Resources that are important to the identified theme or themes of the area retain a degree of integrity capable of supporting interpretation;

6. Residents, business interests, non-profit organizations, and governments within the proposed area that are involved in the planning, have developed a conceptual financial plan that outlines the roles for all participants including the federal government, and have demonstrated support for designation of the area;

7. The proposed management entity and units of government supporting the designation are willing to commit to working in partnership to develop the heritage area;

8. The proposal is consistent with continued economic activity in the area;

9. A conceptual boundary map is supported by the public; and

10. The management entity proposed to plan and implement the project is described.

II. Legislation “National Heritage Areas Partnership Act”.

A. Definitions

1. Feasibility Study.—The term “feasibility study” means a study conducted by the Secretary of the Interior, or conducted by one or more other interested parties and reviewed by the Secretary, in accordance with the criteria and processes outlined in section 5, to determine whether an area meets the criteria to be designated as a National Heritage Area by Congress.

2. Local Coordinating Entity.—The term “local coordinating entity” means the entity designated by Congress to undertake, in partnership with others, the management plan and to act as a catalyst for implementation projects and programs among diverse partners in the National Heritage Area.

3. Management Plan.—The term “management plan” means the plan prepared by the local coordinating entity for a National Heritage Area that specifies actions, policies, strategies, performance goals, and recommendations taken to meet the goals of the heritage area as specified in section 7.

4. National Heritage Area.—The term “National Heritage Area” means an area or corridor designated by Congress that tells nationally important stories representing our American heritage.

5. Proposed National Heritage Area.—The term “proposed National Heritage Area” is an area or corridor under study by the Secretary of the Interior or other parties for potential designation by Congress as a National Heritage Area. 6. Secretary.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Interior.

7. System.—The term “system” means the system of National Heritage Areas established under section 4.

8. Tribal Government.—The term “Tribal government” means the governing body of an Indian or Alaska Native tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village, or community that the Secretary of the Interior acknowledges to exist as an Indian tribe pursuant to the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994, 25 U.S.C. 479a.

9. Tribal Lands.—The term “Tribal lands” means all lands within the exterior boundaries of any Indian reservation, all lands the title to which is held by the United States in trust for an Indian tribe or lands the title to which is held by an Indian tribe subject to a restriction by the United States against alienation, and all dependent Indian communities.

B. Heritage Partnership Programs (National Heritage Areas) have been created by Congress to promote the conservation of natural, historic, scenic and cultural resources.

1. In 2006, Congress authorized an additional 10 heritage areas, bringing the total number of heritage areas to 37.

2. These areas are the management responsibility of Federal commissions, nonprofit groups or State agencies or authorities.

3. The work of each National Heritage Area is guided by a management plan approved by the Secretary of the Interior.

a. Participating areas realize significant benefits from this partnership strategy.

4. Benefits

a. resource conservation

b. community attention to quality of life issues, and help in developing a sustainable economy.

C. In FY 2007, the NPS proposed to move Heritage Partnership Programs from the National Recreation and Preservation appropriation to a new umbrella activity—the America’s Heritage and Preservation Partnership Program—within the Historic Preservation Fund appropriation, as part of the President’s Preserve America initiative. However, Congress did not accept the proposal.

II. Heritage Areas Toolbox (

A. Web-based Toolkits

B. Community Engagement Tools

C. Interpretation/ Education Resources and Ideas

D. Historic Preservation and Conservation Tools

E. Information on conservation planning and tools:

F. Other Tools for your Toolbox

1. Heritage Development Institute–The Heritage Development Institute is a training initiative coordinated by the Alliance of National Heritage Areas and in partnership with the National Park Service. The HDI provides comprehensive training opportunities for novices and practitioners in the heritage development field. The Institute offers basic and advanced courses led by experienced heritage area directors and practitioners. These one-day courses are designed to assist those involved with existing and potential heritage areas in organization, management, education, building capacity, marketing, and sustainability.

a. Bibliography of Heritage Development Sources (

The challenge in developing this research tool is the broad scope of topics relating to heritage development. Our objective is to explore and provide information on the numerous sub-disciplines of heritage development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *