National Heritage Areas Newsletter  
A partnership of the National Park Service 
and the Alliance of National Heritage Areas
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Coming Together in MotorCities NHA


How MotorCities NHA is transforming Detroit
Be Inspired: Hear about MotorCities Work in Michigan
Henry Ford said "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." 
Motor Cities National Heritage Area's partners are working hard to bring youth together with industry leaders, create exhibits, renew pride in communities, and revive historic factories that were once written off as "wasteland" that are now tourist destinations and educational centers for residents.  
Students Discover Historic Figures as Kids
Journey to Greatness
View Video

"Journey to Greatness: Character Lessons from the Past" is an interactive lesson designed to help students discover how challenges they face today can be overcome by learning how heroes from our past, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Martin Luther King, Jr., overcame challenges when they were young.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area partnered to secure a 2012 National Park Foundation America's Best Idea grant. Even though the project was partially created, the grant allowed for the website to be completed and for presentations at the Boys and Girls Club of Central Illinois. The students created short video reflections on their lives after having gained inspiration from knowing that Lincoln, Douglass, Tubman, and King, all persevered to achieve greatness. 


The program developers hope that children who participate are inspired in their lives, in their appreciation of history, and desire to visit other National Parks, historic sites, and museums. For more information:

Monthly NHA Collaboration Yielding Results 

The NHA Best Practices monthly conference calls are connecting NHA and NPS partners across the country. Participation in the national call is up 50% over last year. Call-in trends show that programs highlighting tourism engagement gather the most interest.


Up next? Thursday April 17th, Martha Raymond, Ana Koval and Alexa Viets will share ways that NHAs can help celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the first NHA (8/24/14) and support the upcoming 2016 NPS Centennial Celebration.


Best Practices calls are based on a concept at the heart of all NHA programs - collaboration. A team from three National Heritage Areas - Freedom's Frontier (Julie McPike), Looking for Lincoln (Heather Wickens) and the Ohio & Erie Canalway (Katie Montgomery) - works together to seek out unique ideas for presentation and facilitate the calls on the third Thursday of each month including:

  • Freedom Frontier's Twitter-based recreation of Quantrill's Raid - that trended worldwide and garnered 5M tweets
  • Successful Passport Programs in Silos & Smokestacks and MotorCities, 
  • Rivers of Steel filled a community need for motor coach tours and created a new revenue stream to support growth.

For more information, contact Heather Wickens:

Launch of New Blue Ridge Music Trails Website


To showcase and promote the traditional music of Western North Carolina, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership (BRNHA) launched of a new website, with the 
Blue Ridge Music Trails
Experience the Blue Ridge Music 
Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina (BRMT). features trip planning tools, searchable events calendar and map, and videos. Visitors can find information about the traditions of bluegrass and string band music, ballad singing, fiddling, gospel music, and other music and dance unique to the region.


"This is a grassroots initiative, engaging folks in 29 counties and bringing them together under one brand to promote the entire region around our traditional music," said Angie Chandler, Executive Director of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership. The site was developed based on input received from musicians, tourism promoters, arts and cultural leaders.


The partners recognize the value of this music to both the cultural heritage and economic vitality of the region. A study showed an economic impact of $20.7 million from 26 traditional music events in the region. The intention of the program is to strengthen this asset by increasing awareness. Contact:

Discover Niagara: Local Heritage Month

Students presented their work at the  Niagara Falls City Council meetings.

The Niagara Falls NHA dedicated March as "Discover Niagara: Local Heritage Month" in partnership with the Niagara Falls City Council and the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Area. 


To help students

Discover Niagara,

they sponsored an essay contest which encouraged students to develop knowledge and understanding of the community's important stories by studying individuals who shaped Niagara's history. Individuals such as Homan Walsh, Betsy Doyle, Nikola Tesla and Harriet Tubman were selected for their impact on the region through their actions and values which improved the community around them. Winners shared their essays with the Niagara Falls City Council. 
Teachers also nominated students who exemplified character values of commitment, perseverance, courage, and innovation. Dinke Moir, a student from Niagara Catholic was nominated for exemplifying courage. Following the death of her parents in Ethiopia, Dinke was adopted by an American family. Since her arrival in the United States, she overcome language barriers and is working hard to find ways to bring her siblings to the U.S., including her twin sister.
Grants Boost Erie Canal Education and Preservation 
Congressman Paul Tonko (center) and Bob Radliff joined representatives from Erie Canalway and grant recipients.


Ten innovative education and preservation projects will get off the ground this year with funding support from Erie Canalway Grants. Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is investing $65,530 in grants, which will be matched by an additional $478,000 in private and public project funding raised by grant recipients. The grants are aimed at inspiring people to learn more about New York's legendary canals and further explore the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

South Carolina Gets Dirty


The newest project for the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor (SCNHC) is making sure people get outside and "get a little dirty" while enjoying outdoor adventures. From fishing in the charming seaside towns to kayaking in a black water river and zip-lining through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, they do not lack opportunity or landscape variety. The SCNHC staff is working with communities to promote unique outdoor assets through marketing research and campaigns, environmental education training, resource inventory, and signage.   


SCNHC will launch an outdoor feature online during National Great Outdoors Month in June. It will be a one-stop-shop for a visitors and locals to find everything they need to know about experiencing the outdoors in South Carolina. Did you know:

  • South Carolina's Edisto River is the longest free-flowing black water river in North America.
  • South Carolina's four National Scenic Byways feature major outdoor recreation hot-spots.
  • South Carolina has the highest waterfalls in the southeast.
  • Some of the rarest plants and birds are found at Lake Jocassee and the gorges were named a destination of a lifetime by National Geographic. 
Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm Projects 
Seward High School students work on a mural of native plants for the school entrance as part of a partnership with KMTA and the Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance.
The Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area in Alaska is gearing to launch several projects including elementary education video curriculum featuring narration by students and colorful stories of some of the KMTA's most notable characters and historic events. 

KMTA is also embarking in publication of new titles and the re-publication of old classics that expound on the heritage of the area. The launch of Memories of Old Sunrise, by Albert Morgan will take place in May. The great- grandchildren of Morgan, who was a gold prospector in the late 1800s, will be on hand for the celebration. 
Other projects include restoration of Old 557, a steam engine locomotive; commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake; dedication of a student-created painted mural for the entrance to Seward High School; the construction and installation of highway signs; and the development of several new museum, and visitor center exhibits. 
RiverSweep: 25 Years of Volunteer Spirit 


Ohio Canal Corridor, an Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area founding organization, is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of River Sweep - Ohio's largest done-in-a-day cleanup event. Over 25 years, 16,458 RiverSweep volunteers have recycled 22,880 illegally dumped tires and clear 419 tons of rubbish.


Before: Volunteers at Scranton Flats
RiverSweep is done with purpose - areas are cleared where future trails and parks are planned. Within a few years, volunteers can see their efforts result in new green spaces and Canalway trails, cementing the worth of the effort and keeping volunteers coming back.



RiverSweep sites with new parks and trails include: Cleveland's Flats (future home to Canal Basin Park - a nationally significant park for the historic northern terminus of the Towpath Trail)

After:  The newest RiverSweep site to become a park is Scranton Flats, a $9M Towpath and riverfront restoration project. 
Cleveland Metroparks Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation, Washington Reservation, and West Creek Reservation as well as Hart Crane Park, Mill Creek Falls, and the Morgana Run Trail.


2013 River Sweep Promo Vid
See them in Action

Executive Director Tim Donovan invites you to come to one of the nine clean-up areas on May 10th in Cleveland's Cuyahoga River Valley and join 800 high school students, businesses, and civic groups. "We're especially proud of the event's educational outreach," added Donovan.

Approximately 150  volunteers planted trees at Byron Memorial Park. 

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership collaborated with the Town of Williamsport and the Maryland Forest Service to plant 120 trees as part of the organization's Living Legacy Tree Project. This project was created to commemorate the Civil War Sesquicentennial by planting or dedicating one tree for each of the 620,000 soldiers who died, as a living memorial for their individual and combined sacrifices. 


Through this collaboration, soldiers who died in Williamsport and soldiers who were from Williamsport and died during the Civil War will be included in the tree dedications.


Upon completion, the Living Legacy Project will be the first 180-mile landscaped allée in the world dedicated to honoring the most defining moment in American history.  The project will create a unified color palette that reminds visitors that they are, indeed, on hallowed ground, where many soldiers died during the American Civil War.

Freedom's Frontier Grant Brings Recognition 


Wayside Rest Plantation, in Freedom Frontier National Heritage Area (FFNHA), was named a NPS Network to Freedom Site based research conducted for grant projects with FFNHA. The plantation was awarded a Network to Freedom grant to stabilize and restore slave cabins. Former FFNHA Advisory Committee member Carol Bohl also completed a second successful Network to Freedom nomination for the programming of the African American Quilt Museum and Textile Academy in Lawrence, Kansas.


The Textile Academy received grants from Freedom Frontier towards two story quilts: Still We Rise and Turkey Red. Through research for Still We Rise, they learned about Maria Martin, an African American woman enslaved at Wayside Rest Plantation in Missouri, who was brought to Kansas with her children as contraband during a Union raid on the plantation. The quilt tells the story of the 1863 raid by William Clarke Quantrill when 400 pro-slavery raiders killed nearly 200 men and burned Lawrence, KS. Maria Martin, also a quilter, was the basis for the Textile Academy's second project: Turkey Red.


Marla Jackson, the Academy's owner, partners with teachers, social service agencies and historic sites to create curriculum for at-risk students. Students learn how to do research, textile dyeing, sewing, and quilt design to showcase African-American stories through quilts. Jackson is nationally known for story quilts depicting slavery and freedom. She has been a Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site artist-in-residence. One of her quilts is in permanent collection at the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum.

Yuma Featured by NPCA
Situated in the corner of the Southwest where Arizona, California, and Mexico converge, the Yuma Crossing NHA has literally been shaped by the Colorado River.


National Park Conservation Association's monthly NHA feature highlighted the work of Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area including:

  • Restoring the 350-acre Yuma East Wetlands, replacing non-native vegetation with more than 200,000 native cottonwood, willow, and mesquite trees. The restoration has attracted hundreds of bird species and migratory waterfowl- and along with it, an eco-tourism boom.
  • Transforming the Yuma West Wetlands from a dump to a beautiful 110-acre riverfront park, including a gigantic creative playground, lake, picnic areas, boat ramp, and beach.
  • Creating Gateway Park, a 40-acre downtown riverfront recreation area which includes Pivot Point Interpretive Plaza featuring a restored 1907 Baldwin Locomotive.
  • Designing and building the Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center, a riverfront hotel in keeping with its location within a National Historic Landmark, features photos and artifacts of Yuma's history on the river. 

Read the article:

Exhibit Features Illustrations that Brought the Revolutionary War to Life in the 19th Century
Kurt Zwikl holds one of the illustrations from his collection.


In February, the Schuylkill River Heritage Area opened a unique exhibit at Valley Forge National Historical Park, entitled Bringing the War of Independence to Life: 19th Century Illustrations of the American Revolution


The exhibit is the result of a partnership between the Schuylkill River Heritage Area and Valley Forge National Historical Park, as well as Morristown National Historical Park, and Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area, in New Jersey. This partnership enabled the Schuylkill River Heritage Area to reach a wider audience and tell a broader story of the American Revolution.


The exhibit features 42 illustrations of the Revolutionary War by 16 artists whose work originally appeared in 19th century publications. All the works were culled from the personal collection of Schuylkill River Heritage Area Executive Director Kurt Zwikl. They will be on display in Valley Forge Visitor Center through April 28. The exhibit will be on display from June 23- August 26 in Washington Headquarters Museum at Morristown National Historical Park.


"We are pleased to be able to tell the story of the war through these fascinating illustrations, and through a partnership that allows us to emphasize the Revolutionary War connections between two national parks in Valley Forge and Morristown, and between two National Heritage Areas: the Schuylkill River Heritage Area and Crossroads of the American Revolution," said Zwikl.

Native American Ceremony in Lackawanna Blesses Trail

A special Native American ceremony was held on the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail to bless the trail and the participants in the Inaugural Scranton Half Marathon. Chief Jake Edwards and others from the Seneca Nation traveled from Onondaga, NY, to consecrate the trail at the site of a Native American Chief sculpture. The race course included the sculpture and other carvings and artifacts created by artist Tom Austin in 2013 to showcase the region's Native American heritage. 


This was kickoff of a new annual event that attracted 2,800 participants. The Half Marathon traveled through several Scranton neighborhoods, the downtown business district, and the Heritage Trail. A growing number of people are using the Heritage Trail for health, fitness, recreation. People who use the trail also bring business to local establishments. Learn more:

Poudre Heritage Alliance Working to Enhance Region
Arthur Ditch diversion dam on the Cache la Poudre River.

In February, the Department of Interior approved the Cache la Poudre National Heritage Area management plan. The Poudre Heritage Alliance, the governing nonprofit of the area, is working with partner organizations and municipalities to develop the historic resources and potential of this amazing cultural and natural treasure. 


The Cache la Poudre River NHA, created in 2009, includes many sites of historic significance that with the approval of this plan may become important heritage tourism sites and boost the regional economy. Whether celebrating the irrigation ditches that connect water to agriculture and breathe life into the dry plains, partnerships with museums with exhibits about the history of water law, or using new technologies to inform trail users of the river's natural history, the Cache la Poudre River NHA has much to offer.


The Alliance's plan will help coordinate stakeholders' efforts to achieve goals such as developing maps and brochures, establish signage, create educational program to nurture public appreciation for the diverse communities, cultures and environments in the Poudre region and offer authentic regional heritage opportunities. They aim to enhance visitor experience by identifying and creating outdoor activities and programs, recreational and eco-tourism opportunities and facilities. They plan to engage area youth to establish a larger sense of community and recognition of the history and resources in the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area.

Stewards & Storytellers


National Parks journalist Kevin Grange, and photographer Jason Varney, visited the Essex National Heritage Area in August 2013 to learn about the special places and faces of Essex National Heritage Area. In their article, Stewards & Storytellers, readers can meet the people they met, journey to the place they visited, and discover how the "Essex National Heritage Area in Massachusetts is one of dozens of heritage areas making America's best idea even better."


Stewards & Storytellers is featured in the Spring 2014 edition of National Parks, the award-winning quarterly magazine by the National Parks Conservation Association. 

Ohio Budget Includes Funds for Wright Brothers Factory
Artist rendering of Wright Company factory once restored. Courtesy of NAHA.


The state of Ohio has bolstered efforts to restore the historic Wright brothers' airplane factory in Dayton by including $250,000 in funding in its 2015-2016 capital budget bill.


"The funding is an important recognition of the importance of the Wright Company Factory Project," said Tony Sculimbrene, executive director of the National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA).


It comes as NAHA prepares to launch a feasibility study for a major fundraising campaign to acquire, preserve and restore the buildings. NAHA estimates it needs to raise between $3 million and $5 million to carry out this work.


Inventors Wilbur and Orville Wright formed the Wright Company in 1909 and built its first factory building in 1910 about two miles from their bicycle shop. It was the first American factory built for the purpose of producing airplanes. They added the second building in 1911. Three buildings of similar style were added in later years. 


The factory became the nucleus of a General Motors auto parts plant until it closed in 2008. In 2009, Congress added the factory to the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. The site is now in the hands of a redevelopment company that is working with NAHA, the NPS and others to restore the historic factory buildings while preparing areas of the site for commercial redevelopment. 

New Branding, Signs for Augusta Canal NHA


Augusta Canal's identity as a National Heritage Area is getting a boost from a comprehensives signage and re-branding  effort. The first phase of the program rolled out in early 2014. 


"A well-developed sign system is a vital management tool in 21st Century land management, especially within the context of an easily accessible, urban trail experience such as the Augusta Canal NHA," explained  Rebecca Rogers, ACNHA Director of Marketing, who organized the project. 


Consisting of directional, regulatory, informational and interpretive panels, the sign program features an updated Augusta Canal logo and color scheme in brown, tan and gold tones.  "We also felt it was important to reflect our partnership with the National Park Service," Rogers stated, so the signs feature the well-known NPS arrowhead logo at the bottom of each panel. The custom-designed powder-coated aluminum signs replace signs installed by various entities over the past 25 years.


The signage will encourage appropriate trial use and dissuade visitors from creating unauthorized access routes. Signage will support access to the Canal, appreciation and understanding of the resources, make rules better understood and adhered-to, thus mitigating damage, abuse and vandalism.

Spring 2014
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In This Issue
Journey to Greatness: Character Lessons
NHA Collaboration: Best Practices
Blue Ridge Music Trail Site
Discover Niagara
Grants Boost Erie Canal Education and Preservation
South Carolina Gets Dirty
New Projects in Kenai Mt. Turnagain Arm
RiverSweep: 25 years of Volunteer Spirit
Living Legacy Tree Planting
Network to Freedom Recognition in Freedom's Frontier
Yuma Featured by NPCA
Bringing the Revolutionary War to Life
Native American Ceremony in Lackawanna
Poudre Heritage Alliance Working to Enhance Region
Stewards & Storytellers
Ohio Budget includes Wright Brothers' Factory
New Branding in Augusta Canal NHA
2013 National Heritage Area Accomplishments

* NHAs leveraged approximately $48 million to carry out diverse preservation, conservation, recreation and education projects. 
 * Engaged over 60,000 volunteers (at approximately 900,000 volunteer hours) in heritage area projects and programs
* Over 600 grants: distributing $5 Million approximately $2 million for educational programs, $1 million toward historic preservation, and $1 million for recreation projects 

Preservation: Preserved approximately 50 historic properties and maintained approximately 100 historic properties 

Recreation: Developed over 1,000 new miles of on and off road trails

Education: Supported over 400 educational programs 

ANHA Spring Meeting


Hosted by the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area

April 22-24, 2014


JTHG 8th Annual Conference 


May 20-21 

The University of Virginia, 

UNESCO World Heritage Site 


Journey Through Hallowed Ground conference is co-presented with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), and the National Park Service. 


It provides educational workshops on engaging youth/students in our collective national history, economic trends in heritage tourism, grant writing and fundraising, African-American and other minority heritage, and sustainable agriculture: 


Where Canal Meets Commercial Corridor: 

Unlocking Entrepreneurial Opportunities in your Downtown


June 18, 2014 

Hotel @ The Lafayette

Buffalo, NY


A spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship built the Erie Canal and spurred growth in New York State and the nation. 


Attend this one-day session to learn about the today's "Maker Movement" and opportunities for downtown revitalization in the 21st century.


Representatives from First Batch and the Urban Manufacturing Alliance will join Main Street expert Kennedy Smith of The CLUE Group, LLC to offer new strategies and to help facilitate a solution-oriented dialogue for downtown investment opportunities. Join us for an exciting day of presentations, conversation and networking! Register:



Essex Heritage Area's Economic & Community Impact


National Heritage Areas provide essential services to the residents of Massachusetts. A recently released independent evaluation by the nationally recognized consulting firm of TrippUmbach found that the Essex National Heritage Area sustains and supports 1,832 jobs and generates $153.8 million in economic impact in the Essex County region. 


Learn more about the study:

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Cache La Poudre River National Heritage Area


Cane River National Heritage Area


Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership


Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area


Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor


Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor 


Essex National Heritage Area


Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area


Freedom's Way National Heritage Area


Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor


Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area


Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor



Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area


Kenai Mountains - Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area


Lackawanna Heritage Valley National Heritage Area


Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area


Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area   


Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area


MotorCities National Heritage Area


Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area


National Aviation Heritage Area


National Coal Heritage Area  


Niagara Falls National Heritage Area


Northern Plains National Heritage Area


Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area


Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area


Oil Region National Heritage Area


Last Green Valley: Quinebaug & Shetucket Rivers Valley NHC


Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area


Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area


Schuylkill River National Heritage Area


Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District


Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area


South Carolina National Heritage Corridor


South Park National Heritage Area


Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area


Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area


Wheeling National Heritage Area


Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area 

National Park Service contacts:

Martha Raymond

National Coordinator, Washington Office


Katie Durcan

Assistant Coordinator, Washington Office 

Heather Scotten
Assistant Coordinator, Washington Office 


Peter Samuel, Northeast Region 

K. Lynn Berry, Southeast Region 

Sue Pridemore, Midwest Region

Shirl Kasper, Intermountain Region
Linda Stonier, Pacific West Region


John Quinley, Alaska Region

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Articles written and submitted by National Heritage Area staff
edited by Katie Callahan Durcan
National Heritage Area Program, The National Park Service