The term cultural landscape encompasses a broad range of resources from designed landscapes, to large naturalistic parks, to living landscapes, and to landscapes that represent intangible values. These landscapes may be valued for the interaction of humans and their environment, for traditional cultural importance, for the traces of the past, and for the benefits that place may provide for the people of today. Since the category of cultural landscapes reflects a diverse array of values, the management strategies often require elements of natural resource conservation, historic preservation and community development.
The Indigenous Cultural Landscape of the Eastern Woodlands – This approach to describing a cultural landscape was pioneered in the Chesapeake Bay. It is a lens to view the landscape from the perspective of indigenous people who lived there at the time of Captain John Smith’s explorations. For generations, Indian people of the Eastern Woodlands hunted and fished, practiced agriculture and traveled throughout the region’s lands and waterways. Their world was not just the dots on a map that denote known archaeological sites, but encompassed a whole lived-in landscape. Some of reasons to make this indigenous cultural landscape visible include better interpretation of American Indian lifeways and strengthening of conservation values around importance of place by adding a cultural dimension to lands already desirable for the richness of their ecological resources and for their capacity to protect water quality. This approach provides an important tool to raise the visibility of descendant communities who still live in the Chesapeake region and should be part of the conservation economy and heritage tourism efforts that are directed toward its cultural, historical and natural assets.
Green Springs National Historic Landmark District – Designated in 1974, this National Historic Landmark District encompasses over 14,000 acres of rural landscape in the Piedmont of central Virginia. The region features vernacular homes and farms set in an almost park like environment. The district is significant for the quality of the early architecture, the link to the Revolutionary War and Civil War, and the preservation of the fertile agricultural landscape. While the properties in the district are in private ownership, more than half of the acreage is protected by scenic easements held by the National Park Service. Other private land trust organizations hold many more easements providing long term protectio. Learn more here.
Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor – The Corridor was authorized in 2006 and extends from Wilmington, North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida. It includes roughly 80 barrier islands and continues inland to adjacent coastal counties, defining a region 30-miles inland known as the Low Country. The Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor is home to the Gullah people in the Carolinas, and the Geechee in Georgia and Florida – cultural groups descended from enslaved peoples from West and Central Africa. The Gullah and Geechee share similar linguistic, artistic and societal traits that have remained relatively intact for several centuries due to the geographic isolation of the region. The cultures represent the many ways that Africans in the Americas maintained their homeland roots while simultaneously assimilating aspects of new cultures they encountered during and after enslavement. A federal commission made up of local representatives who collaborate with the National Park Service, and state, and community partners manages the corridor.