A 2013 report summarizing the evaluations of twelve National Heritage Areas (NHA) found very positive outcomes. The evaluators gave the NHAs thumbs up for following their legislative purpose, for accomplishing their management goals, and for creating effective locally driven management structure. The evaluations concluded that every NHA followed responsible financial practices, routinely leveraging the National Park Service funding four-fold for projects and programs in their region.
In 2008, Congress requested that the National Park Service (NPS) undertake an evaluations of the accomplishments of the nine National Heritage Areas (NHAs) that were reaching the end of areas funding authorization. The studies were done by an outside evaluator, but informed by three earlier research and evaluations by the NPS’s Conservation Study Institute. Taken together, these twelve evaluations are the largest body of research on how landscape scale initiatives can build partnerships and implement their stewardship missions over a big space and over a long time. The reports are hundreds of pages long and are packed with information and recommendations. This is a great resource for anyone who wants to understand how much we all have to learn from the NHAs program and how much we all have to lose if these twelve areas are not reauthorized.
Read the high level findings from the evaluations in the five-page overview report: An Evaluation of Twelve Heritage Areas here.