Baltimore National Heritage Area
The Baltimore National Heritage Area is one of six National Heritage Areas (NHAs) that were evaluated in 2012 during an economic impact study sponsored by the Northeast Region’s heritage area program. According to the final report, the Baltimore NHA provides over $313 million in economic benefit to the region, including almost $32 million in tax revenue and over 4,000 jobs.
With a boundary that coincides with the city of Baltimore, the NHA has served as a resource for heritage travelers, civic and nonprofit organizations, and local residents since its Congressional designation in 2009, and before that as a Maryland State Heritage Area. The mission of the heritage area – to promote, preserve and enhance the cultural, natural and historic resources – is key to its economic impact. Events such as the 2012 Star-Spangled Sailabration, a city-wide partnership with Fort McHenry National Monument and others celebrating 200 years of the Star-Spangled Banner, are one of many strategic investments made by the NHA in city-wide heritage tourism last year. The NHA also works closely with a variety of partners to find funding and complete grant applications.
“It’s really all about heritage tourism development and preservation – creating engaging products for our visitors and residents,” says Jeffrey Buchheit, Executive Director of the Baltimore Heritage Area Association, management entity for the NHA. “If we don’t preserve these wonderful sites and treasures, we lose the basis for our heritage tourism and the powerful economic impact it provides.” Supports Call to Action items #14 “Value Added” and #25 “What’s Old is New.”
Cane River National Heritage Area
On April 30, 2013, the fifth graders from Cloutierville Elementary school participated in the “Rollin on the River” photo scavenger hunt. This all day field trip took the students to various sites within Cane River National Heritage Area including Magnolia Plantation, Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Grand Ecore Visitor Center.
The students were issued disposable cameras and tasked with taking pictures of items representing each letter of the alphabet. Along the way, the kids learned about plantation culture, colonial history, and the importance of the Red River. Prizes are awarded to the best photo displays. This program was made possible by the National Park Foundation “Ticket to Ride” grant program. Supports Call to Action items #18 “Ticket to Ride” and #15 “A Class Act.”
Schuylkill River National Heritage Area
The Schuylkill River NHA hosted its 15th Annual Schuylkill with a focus on the theme, “A Civil War Odyssey.” The event, which drew over 100 paddlers of all ages and abilities, is a week-long journey down much of the 128-mile river from Schuylkill Haven to Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row. Paddlers not only experienced being up close to the river resources, but also had the opportunity to reflect on programming that highlighted the role the Schuylkill Valley played during the Civil War.
The Civil War programs help the heritage area advance its mission of educating the public about the region’s history. The Schuylkill connects three National Park units: Hopewell Furnace NHS, Valley Forge NHP, and Independence NHP. U.S. Congressman Charlie Dent (R, PA-15), joined the group on the river for a day and expressed his support for the efforts of the NHA over the years.
Being on the river also instills a strong sense of environmental stewardship in participants, says Allan Quant, Lead Guide at Canoe Susquehanna, who has led the Schuylkill Sojourn since its beginning: “People experience the river once and by the following year they’ve become ambassadors and bring a friend; then these people start to lead their own trips on the river and develop their own watershed protection groups. Folks get recharged on these trips and are transformed into advocates for keeping our waterways clean and safe for future generations.” Call to Action Items: “Parks for People” and “History Lesson”