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Partnering to Promote Heritage Tourism in Local Communities: Guidance for Federal AgenciesarrowRecommendations for Federal Land Managers

Recommendations for Federal Land Managers

The following recommendations are designed to help you improve the effectiveness or your efforts to partner with non-Federal parties to promote local heritage tourism initiatives. For examples of these recommendations in action, see Links to Innovative Initiatives and Success Stories.

Talk to the right people. As a Federal land-manager, you no doubt are already in contact with government officials and important organizations in the area of your facility. But the people with whom you routinely interact may not be the same people promoting heritage tourism. Obviously, you can ask your existing contacts who else you should be talking to regarding heritage tourism. Also, consult these links in identifying State, tribal, regional, and local organizations that are developing and promoting heritage tourism.

Federal Agency Memorandum of Understanding with WSTPC

Participate in coalitions. At all levels – local, state, and national – coalitions are being created to plan for heritage tourism development and implement heritage tourism initiatives. This can be particularly important for small communities, where marketing historic resources regionally can be much more effective than if each individual community attempted its own marketing. Be an active participant in such coalitions.

DoD’s Heritage Tourism Guidebook to Military Properties

Share information on your historic properties. Some Federal historic properties are significant enough to be “stand alone” destinations for tourists. But whether this is case or not, the context that makes your historic properties significant is probably mirrored in the history of the local community/ies. Presumably, nearby non-Federal historic properties are linked thematically to your properties, and this provides a rich opportunity for packaging related properties through walking or driving trails, guidebooks, etc. Tell local contacts about the full range of historic properties you manage and seek to learn about their historic resources

Jemez Pueblo Walatowa Visitor Center–A USDA Forest Service Partnership

Locate or co-locate visitor centers in local communities. In addition to any visitor centers located on Federal land, there may also be utility in developing visitor interpretation centers in nearby communities. While community-based visitor centers obviously benefit the agency in terms of managing visitation to Federal properties, they also provide an opportunity to encourage tourists to visit local heritage assets. Co-location with a local Chamber of Commerce or other entity can leverage funding and build the success of the partnership to encourage heritage tourism.

NPS helped Canal Fulton Main Street create a heritage tourism brochure & Web site

Help communities interpret and market historic resources. In addition to locating or co-locating visitor centers in local communities, look for other opportunities to help communities get the word out about their historic properties. Provide links from your Web sites to local history and tourism sites. When possible, provide funding assistance for brochures, exhibits, and heritage-themed events in local communities that tie in with the heritage assets you administer.

NOAA is funding interpretation at the St. George Sealing Plant, Alaska

Use your funding and technical assistance programs.  If your agency also administers any grant or technical assistance programs, look for opportunities to channel funds or expertise to local heritage tourism initiatives. When funding community historic preservation efforts, promote (where appropriate) inclusion of a heritage tourism component.  

GSA’s General Post Office in Washington, DC, now a hotel

Facilitate the development of local heritage tourism based businesses and attractions. Explore how underutilized Federal property might be made available for heritage tourism uses. Buildings potentially can be leased for use as heritage tourism attractions, such as museums, or for development as tourism support services, such as lodging.

Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, TVA mitigation for reservoir construction

Remember heritage tourism during consultation under Section 106. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires that agencies consult with other parties to seek to avoid or mitigate adverse effects of Federal undertakings on historic properties. Agreeing to specific actions to assist local heritage tourism efforts might be an acceptable mitigation measure in some cases. For instance, mitigation for changes to a Federal building that will adversely impact a surrounding historic district could include funding the establishment of an interpretive walking trail of the district. Think outside the box and include heritage tourism options in Section 106 consultation.

Help communities participate in Federal programs promoting heritage tourism. If your agency has a major presence within or near a community, consider helping that community to take advantage of Federal programs that can assist them in their heritage tourism efforts. For example, if you help a community apply for and become a Preserve America Community, it will be eligible for Preserve America Grants for heritage tourism projects.

Updated March 13, 2006

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