Alliance of National Heritage Areas Campaigns to Restore Funding

Strategy: Make Your Case

Type of attraction: Heritage Area/Scenic Byway/Heritage Trail

Summary: When the National Heritage Areas program was targeted for a 50 percent budget cut in President Obama’s FY11 budget, the Alliance of National Heritage Areas sprang into action.

When the National Heritage Areas program was targeted for a 50 percent budget cut in President Obama’s FY11 budget, the Alliance of National Heritage Areas sprang into action. The Alliance, a membership organization representing the 49 Congressionally designated National Heritage Areas, created a campaign titled “National Heritage Areas: Smart Green and Working” to raise awareness of the effectiveness of National Heritage Areas and to encourage restoration of full funding for the program.

Organizers developed resources for supporters including a logo and graphics guide, suggested talking points, a list of action ideas, and press release templates. Supporters of program within the 49 heritage areas hosted special events to build support.

The campaign culminated with a rally and press conference in Washington, D.C. on June 15, 2010. At the press conference, U.S. Reps. Charles Dent (R-PA) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) announced the creation of a National Heritage Areas Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives that will pursue legislation to formally create a National Heritage Areas Program within the National Park Service. Currently the management of the individual heritage areas is coordinated by a heritage areas office within the agency. The legislation would foster a permanent base funding stream for the program.

The campaign slogan “Smart Green and Working” provides an excellent synopsis of the National Heritage Area movement, says ANHA Chairman Michelle McCollum. "Not only do we engage in smart growth practices but we also are a smart model for public private partnerships that leverage diverse investment into locally driven initiatives. Heritage areas are also 'green' through our efforts to preserve and adaptively reuse our built environment and to build stewards of natural resources while also utilizing those resources as venues for economic growth and vitality. And we’re working successfully to build coalitions, provide education and training on best practices and to ultimately create jobs.”

For more information, visit www.nationalheritageareas.com.