Frequently Asked Questions

What is a National Heritage Area (NHA)?

A National Heritage Area is a large area of land/water which operates with the permission and guidance of the National Park Service (no friend to private property). The National Park Service description is "National Heritage Areas are places where historic, cultural, and natural resources combine to form cohesive, nationally important landscapes. Unlike national parks, National Heritage Areas are large lived-in landscapes." This means anything within the NHA boundary which can be labeled historic, cultural, or natural is to be controlled.

How does a NHA start?

A foundation, university, or other entity funds a feasibility study. In our case, the UWF Askew Center for Multidisciplinary Studies has funded a feasibility study by the archeology department which has been ongoing since 2016. In 2018, they began to make the rounds to friendly meetings of Tourist Development Councils, Chambers of Commerce, cities, and counties in northwest Florida asking for letters of support. To date, they have 127 letters which they claim to represent 35,000 citizens.

What is the next step to create a NHA?

In January 2021 a 501(c)3 organization called Northwest Florida Maritime Landscape Alliance for Preservation (MLAP) was formed. MLAP will submit the feasibility study and support letters to the National Park Service (NPS). Once both are accepted by the NPS, the next step will be a bill submitted to Congress. If the bill passes Congress the NHA will receive an initial $700,000 (2016 figure). The annual funding will continue for 15 years, at which time the NHA is expected to be self-sufficient; but that has never happened with any other NHA, and why should this one be the exception? Our tax money will continue funding the restriction of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for decades. Congress always renews the funding. These are your tax dollars.

How do NHAs use the taxpayer and other funds?

After establishment as an NHA, within 3 years the nonprofit sets up a "managing entity" (unelected) to spend money according to the guidance of the National Park Service. The NHA may take money from any source. The flood of grants from environmental groups will be used to influence local elected officials to clamp down on zoning and other land use to fit the plan that the "managing entity" and the NPS agreed upon.

Do NHAs alert the public?

No. Clearly, each and every property owner within the NHA boundary could be notified by mail, but they are not. First the UWF Archeology Department, and now the NWF Maritime Landscape Alliance for Preservation (MLAP) are appearing on the agenda of groups with little public notice. They call this "public outreach." It is clear from the language on their website that no widespread public notice will be given until it is a done deal. Then they will shout from the rooftops for the public to join in their "vision" through public workshops. Any vote will be for the already cemented plan. Remember, if you are invited to a "visioning" meeting it is NOT your vision, and you are NOT a "stakeholder."

How can we stop the NHA in our area?

Get engaged and help by contacting leaders in your city, county, state, and the U.S. Congress to tell them "No" support. 
* Hearing from the public makes the difference! Contact all elected officials.
Congressman Matt Gaetz 850.479.1183
Congressman Neal Dunn  850-785-0812
Senator Rick Scott 202-224-5274
Senator Marco Rubio 202-224-3041
and your local commissioners and city councils

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