WHAT IS A NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA?
National Heritage Areas are places where natural, cultural, historic, and scenic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape. Committed to protecting and promoting the cultural, historical and natural assets of a region, National Heritage Areas play a vital role in maintaining both the physical character and the cultural legacy of the United States. Learn more about this national program and its sites and accomplishments at the National Park Service National Heritage Areas website.
WHAT ABOUT THE KENAI MOUNTAINS-TURNAGAIN ARM NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA?
In March 2009 President Obama signed into law a bill that designated the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm as a National Heritage Area. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Mark Begich, and Rep. Don Young. The Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area is one of 55 Heritage Areas across the nation and Alaska’s first.
WHAT DOES DESIGNATION AS A NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA MEAN?
National Heritage Areas are designated by Congress and administered by the National Park Service. The purpose of the designation is to support community-centered initiatives that enhance and preserve local historic, scenic, and outdoor recreational resources.
WHAT IS THE KMTA CORRIDOR COMMUNITIES ASSOCIATION?
The KMTA Corridor Communities Association was incorporated in 2000 and the KMTA National Heritage Area was established in 2009 to recognize, preserve, and interpret the historic resources and cultural landscapes of the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm transportation corridor. The Association fosters planning and partnerships among the communities within the Corridor, as well as among individuals, businesses, borough, state, and federal agencies, to promote the public enjoyment of these resources. The association also receives and administers funds, appropriated by Congress and other sources, to support communities in developing projects that recognize, preserve, and interpret the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm’s rich and scenic heritage.
WHO WILL MANAGE THE PROGRAM?
The Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm Corridor Communities Association (KMTA-CCA) will manage federal grant funding to interpret the unique natural, cultural and historic resources of the area. With input from communities, businesses, governments, non-profit organizations and local residents, the KMTA-CCA will develop a management plan to allocate grant funds for various community-supported projects such as:
• Restoration of historic structures
• Rebuilding of historic trails
• Development of interpretive signs and displays
• Creating handbooks on the geology, history, and wildlife of the area
• Recording the stories of living Alaska pioneers
Participation in projects and programs is voluntary with zoning and land-use decisions remaining under existing governmental jurisdictions. No land enters federal control as a result of Heritage Area designation. Private property rights are not affected.