Heritage Sites

Heritage Map
National Park Service
In partnership with the National Park Service

About Us/Directions: Management Plan

Current Status and Relevent Documents

Required by Congress as a stipulation for achieving Federal funding goals and for the purposes of effectively fulfilling our mission, our target is to have a final management plan (with Environmental Assessment) submitted to the Dept. of Interior (via the National Park Service) by mid-April.

Why are we preparing the management plan (and why do we need the expected outcome of this process)?  

National Heritage Areas usually involve partnerships among the National Park Service, states, and local interests. In establishing heritage areas, Congress typically designates a management entity to coordinate the work of the partners. Management entities could include state or local government agencies, nonprofit corporations, and independent federal commissions.

The management entity usually develops and implements a plan for managing the NHA, in collaboration with partners and other interested parties. While the components of the plans vary, in accordance with the authorizing legislation and local needs, they often:

  • identify resources and themes;
  • lay out policies and implementation strategies for protection, use, and public education;
  • describe needed restoration of physical sites;
  • discuss recreational opportunities;
  • outline funding goals and possibilities;
  • and define the roles and responsibilities of partners.

Once the Secretary of the Interior approves a plan, it essentially becomes the blueprint for managing the heritage area and is implemented as funding and resources are available. Implementation of management plans is accomplished primarily through voluntary actions.

The management entity generally receives any federal appropriations for the area. Federal funds might be used to help rehabilitate an important site, develop tours, establish interpretive exhibits and programs, increase public awareness, and sponsor special events to showcase an area’s natural and cultural heritage.

In the Upper Housatonic Valley we’re currently narrowing the scope of our future actions as a heritage area, and are settling on a few distinct areas of actions –

  • Celebration of our heritage (VERY broad area), ideas includes thematic trails, heritage walks, heritage events, heritage tourism, recreational access to heritage sites and the river, providing "heritage content" such as signage, brochures and directions to heritage sites for existing trails and roadways, working with regional tourism marketing entities to promote our heritage, assisting heritage organizations to effectively tell their story and to attract a broader audience, and more.  “Celebration” will be expanded to include all of our themes and all of the ways that they can be explored, researched, interpreted and appreciated.
  • Support for Heritage Institutions (very broad, and currently mostly focused in history organizations), ideas include capacity building, providing operational support, professional basics training, collections cataloguing and storage, promotion, developing a presence for, and audience for, circuit rider assistance, acquisitioning and de-acquisitioning, technology, Twitter, etc, genealogy program development, commercial partnerships and more.  This may also manifest itself by thrusting the heritage area into a leadership role where we convene public meetings (mostly attended by people at the “wholesale” or “institutional level and probably not the general public) on a variety of topics (each meeting would be focused on a particular heritage theme) in order to set regional priorities and determine a useful course of action.  This may also mean the heritage area will catalyze the collection and dissemination of pertinent heritage data (resource lists, grant opportunities, economic impact date, attendance at heritage sites, data to support grant applications, more) that would be readily accessible for other heritage organizations.  Heritage organizations (other than history organizations) should be included in this heading, as we’ll eventually work to support cultural, natural resource and other heritage-related groups in the future (such as Native American).
  • Leadership in Heritage Education (ideas include expanding the teachers course, implementing additional course offerings, developing an independent study course to help us develop research at a faster pace, expanding support for classroom curricula and teaching materials, expanded support for field trips for students, hospitality institute, sustainable tourism laboratory, more).  ** This item is more likely to be a subset of the heritage actions proposed, since heritage education may be viewed as a method to achieve the desired results of “Catalyst for Celebration” and “Support for Heritage Institutions”.

Current discussions with our heritage partners and within our Management Planning Committee have helped us to clarify that in most cases we will work with other institutions to foster economic development in the region (for example, heritage tourism) and programs to preserve our heritage.  These partner organizations will, in turn, provide the “end user” or consumer-level “heritage product”. 

** And of course – we need to develop an Environmental Assessment report (in concert with the management plan) that will describe the potential impacts of the actions that we’ve proposed. **  While our Management Plan won’t specifically exclude future actions, this document, when completed, will provide the NPS with a clear path of our future actions along with the accompanying assessment of environmental impact.

At the public meeting (Red Lion Inn, December 2, 2009) we talked about these important topics:

1. Provide an update on the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area’s activities, including preparing a Management Action Plan
2. Consult partners and the public on alternative approaches to implementing Housatonic Heritage’s mission, thereby fulfilling its goals and achieving its vision (see handout).
3. Identify programs, services and other activities that would be considered both desirable and consistent with the UHVNHA’s purpose. In short:

- How can the heritage area help your community, your organization, your site or your project be successful and grow?
- What audiences do you want to serve, what stories do you want to tell?
- What commitments can you bring to the table?
- What partnerships will work best in the long run?

At the most recent public meeting on March 9, 2010 (Red Lion Inn) we engaged the public in two mportant sessions:

AM session - The Environmental Assessment regarding Housatonic Heritage’s future actions.

At the morning session (9:30-11:30 am) we explored these topics:
1. Ensure that our preliminary inventory of the region’s environmental assets is comprehensive;
2. Provide an opportunity to comment on the maps depicting the resources that might be affected by UHVNHA’s future activities under each alternative;
3. Offer interested parties a chance to review the draft Purpose and Need chapters

The meeting’s agenda included:

1. A very quick PowerPoint show describing the 5 alternatives and major implementation ideas, which will reference the handout, followed by a brief discussion.
2. Dot Exercise One – For each alternative, the implementation ideas (first column) in the matrix above will be revealed. People will be given a number (TBD) of dots in color A to use to indicate their favorite implementation ideas. If the same idea appears in two or more alternatives, they will need to use more than one dot if they like it under each alternative.
3. Discussion on Most Favorited Ideas – For each alternative, the rightmost “Implications” columns in the matrix will be revealed and adjusted per the group conversation. Note: This is the meat of the meeting because it goes to feasibility and, ultimately, the operations aspects of the MAP/EA (Chapter 4).
4. Dot Exercise Two – Using the Color B dots, participants can indicate their favorite implementation ideas, reaffirming their Dot Exercise One vote (or not) in light of the discussion. Participants will be invited to explain their decisions.
5. Dot Exercise Three – Using the Color C dots, participants can indicate their favorite alternative based on the totality of UHVNHA and MAP/EA materials and meetings to date.

PM Session - What Housatonic Heritage will do in the years ahead.

This was the focus of the meeting on Tuesday Afternoon - March 9th at 1:00 PM – Red Lion Inn

1. Seek brief comments on the detailed management alternatives which they will have received in advance
2. Receive input on how to prioritize the implementation agenda via a dot exercise
3. Explore the implications of implementation
- Affirming the partnerships implementation entails and providing Dan with the backing to approach the potential partners with a formal request for mention in the MAP/EA;
- Establishing whether implementation is possible and, if so, under what circumstances if the partnerships fail to materialize and HH will be acting alone
4. Revisiting the prioritizations if necessary via a dot exercise
5. Understand stakeholder preferences vis-à-vis the alternatives after first ensuring that they appreciate three caveats:
- their choice(s) may not emerge as the environmentally preferred alternative;
- the Trustees’ perspective may be different;
- the feasibility of necessary partnerships may preclude one or more implementation options

 Relevant documents that you may be interested in:

Current Management Plan schedule (revised 11/23/09)

Minutes (notes and public comments) from the Public Meeting 12/2/09
Handout that was used to elicit comments at the public meeting 12/2/09

Current Management Plan Documents:

Management Plan - complete draft - March 2011 version

Management Plan - Draft Chapter 1
Management Plan - Draft Chapter 2 - summary document
Management Plan - Draft Chapter 3
Management Plan - Draft Chapter 4
Management Plan - Draft Appendices

Management Plan draft Technical Memos:

Draft Technical Memos 1 through 12 (composite PDF - 1.2 Mb)
Draft Technical Memo 8 (revised PDF 75 Kb)
Draft Technical Memo 11 (revised 2A PDF 49 Kb)
Draft Thematic History

National Park Service - Components of a Successful Management Plan

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