ESVA Tourism Commission to hold joint informational meeting on National Parks Service National Heritage Area

May 27, 2024
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NHA-at-Stratford

Image attached:  The Northern Neck community recently celebrated becoming a National Park Service Heritage Area, one of 62 in the nation.  They now get federal funding to support heritage sites like Stratford Hall and promote local heritage tourism.

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission will hold a joint Accomack and Northampton counties regional meeting with a National Park Service National Heritage Area Coordinator.  The Park Service staff will give an overview of the viability of the Shore participating in this system on Wednesday, May 29, at 10:00.  The public can join the meeting virtually using the Zoom link.  ESVA stakeholders involved in preservation, conservation, local and state government, and the federal agencies with a presence on the Shore will be attending.  

The goal of National Heritage Areas is to create a community driven management plan that defines the assets and sets priorities for what the community wants to preserve for future generations and leverage for economic development.  The Shore is undergoing change and this plan enables the community to manage change in a responsible, strategic way.  Heritage Areas do not involve the government acquiring land or setting any land use regulations.  A Heritage Area creates its own local priorities to manage heritage resources.  Heritage Areas receive annual federal Congressional allocations to support the locally planned activities.  Northern Neck is one of the most recently approved Heritage Areas.

At recent ESVA Tourism Commission strategic planning sessions, protecting our heritage was ranked as one of the highest priorities.  Thereafter, National Park Service (NPS) staff were contacted about the viability of a Heritage Area for the Shore.  To learn more about National Heritage Areas, visit https://www.nps.gov/subjects/heritageareas/index.htm

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