The National Heritage Areas Program is administered by National Park Service staff in Washington D.C.. and six of regional offices – Anchorage, San Francisco, Denver, Omaha, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. Staff provide guidance on national heritage area feasibility studies, and funding and technical assistance to designated National Heritage Area coordinating entities.
Prior to introducing authorizing legislation for a new National Heritage Area, a feasibility study is undertaken to determine if the region meets the 10 NPS National Heritage Area evaluation criteria. Feasibility Studies are review by NPS subject matter experts, and the review findings inform NPS testimony on National Heritage Area authorizing legislation.
Designated National Heritage Areas receive funding and technical assistance for capacity building, planning, and implementing programs and projects. Through annual Congressional appropriations, NPS administers funds to National Heritage Area coordinating entities. Annual appropriations for new National Heritage Areas range from $150,000 – $300,000.
With NPS assistance, National Heritage Area coordinating entities develop long range management plans that establish policies, goals, strategies, and actions. Some management plans also include implementation plans, business plans, and interpretive plans.
National Heritage Area coordinating entities undergo an evaluation of their accomplishments in regards to the fulfillment of their legislation and implementation of their management plan. These evaluations occur 10 – 15 years after designation and are funded and overseen by the NPS.