Draft plans for the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area are available for review following 18 months of input and collaboration from across the region.
The draft plan is intended to chart the course ahead for this new program, which aims to celebrate, maintain, and share Washington’s maritime heritage.
To help make this draft plan stronger, the Washington Trust invites feedback from the public.
The Maritime Washington National Heritage Area (“Maritime Washington”) was designated in 2019 to help share and preserve our state’s unique maritime heritage, resources, and stories. It spans 3,000 miles of Washington State’s saltwater coastline from Grays Harbor County through Puget Sound to the Canadian border.
Pacific County is not included in the proposed National Maritime Heritage Area. In 2014, Representative Derek Kilmer told KXRO that Pacific County was instead part of a separate area being considered for designation as a different National Heritage Area that would focus on the region at the mouth of the Columbia River.
National Heritage Areas are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a nationally important landscape. Although supported by the National Park Service, National Heritage Areas are unique in that they are locally run and completely non-regulatory.
For nearly two years, a Steering Committee representing perspectives and interests from across the region have collaborated with five working groups (including a Tribal Working Group) to determine the best path forward for this new program. Members of the public also contributed to the vision for Maritime Washington through surveys, mapping activities, individual interviews, and 15 public workshops, focus groups, and summits.
The recently released draft plans for Maritime Washington include goals, strategies, and policies for the future of this new National Heritage Area.
Residents are encouraged to provide input by reviewing and contributing to this plan.
Opportunities to get involved can be found at www.preservewa.org/ahoy and include:
- Taking a 15-minute survey that outlines the plan’s key points and provides opportunities to comment.
- Reviewing the full Management Plan and submitting comments by email. For those who prefer to review a paper version of this document, copies of the draft will be sent to libraries throughout the region.
- Joining virtual office hours, where members of the planning team will walk through major points, answer questions, and request input. Virtual sessions will be held on Tuesday, February 22 from 12:00-1:00 pm and Tuesday, March 1 from 5:00-6:00 pm. Both sessions are open to all, but pre-registration is required.
The survey and draft plan will be open for comment from February 1 through March 4, 2022. In March, the Maritime Washington planning team will review public input and create a final draft of the Management Plan for submittal to the National Park Service.
“No matter how you prefer to get involved, we hope that you’ll help us refine this navigational plan and lay the foundation for a National Heritage Area that can serve the organizations, communities, Tribes, and individuals of our state’s saltwater shores,” says Executive Director Chris Moore.