For centuries, the forests of the Appalachian Mountains have sustained local settlers, provided raw materials for America's economic expansion, and inspired visitors. The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area (AFHA) tells the story of this forest legacy and the mountain people who forged it.
The AFHA attracts visitors to discover the rich forest heritage of the highlands of West Virginia and western Maryland. Visitors explore thematic trails leading them to recreation, learning, entertainment, and appreciation experiences targeted to their own interests.
Communities benefit from the AFHA in several ways. Economic markets increase for local events and attractions, tourist services, forest industry products and the arts. Communities grow stronger through local participation and regional networking. The entire region works with a shared approach to use, conservation, and appreciation of our multi-faceted forest.
Mission and Goals
The AFHA mission is to work locally to conserve, develop, interpret, and promote a regional network of forest-based resources and experiences in the highlands of West Virginia and Maryland for the enjoyment and appreciation of residents and visitors in order to enhance economic and community development.
The four primary goals are to:
Develop a regional Heritage Area based on forest heritage, including National Heritage Area designation.
Develop and promote a cohesive regional network of forest heritage tourism destinations.
Strengthen small businesses, communities, and grassroots organizations; foster local economic development; and build regional partnerships.
Provide interpretation of a broad range of forest themes.