Goal: Celebrate cultural assets

Support the development of the Florida Panhandle National Heritage Area designation.
Promote North Star Black Heritage Region’s Legacy Communities Trail System by supporting Legacy Community sites and trail connections across Northwest Florida.

Florida Panhandle National Heritage Area

National Heritage Areas (NHAs) are regions designated by Congress as nationally important landscapes because of their “distinctive natural, cultural, and historic resources that, when linked together, tell a unique story about our country.”
The Northwest Florida Maritime Landscape Alliance for Preservation is undergoing a process to potentially for National Park Service evaluation to designate the Florida Panhandle as a NHA. Regions may be designated as a NHA through a two-step process. Following designation, a public-private partnership of citizens, community organizations, local/state/federal government, non-profits and businesses manages the NHA. Together, this public-private partnership leverages funds and long-term support for projects. NHAs receive funding and technical assistance from NPS towards capacity building, planning, and project implementation. NHAs can receive up to $700,000 from annual Congressional appropriations.

North Star Black Heritage Region’s Legacy Communities Trail System

Legacy Communities are African American communities that formed on plantations in Jackson, Gadsden, Leon, Jefferson and Madison counties and expanded shortly after emancipation. After emancipation, previously enslaved African Americans and freedmen formalized these tight-knit, self-sufficient communities, which acted as hubs of economic activity and social support in a region and nation that actively sought to dismantle their prosperity. Today, Legacy Communities still serve as important social and economic hubs. However, faced with enduring disinvestment and out-migration, Legacy Communities are at risk to be lost forever.

Beginning in Jackson County, the North Star Legacy Communities Initiative seeks to recognize, preserve, and spur economic resiliency through tourism. The North Star Legacy Communities Initiative builds infrastructure to position Legacy Communities as visitor destinations by connecting community cultural and historic assets to existing trails and attractions.

Additional Resources

North Star Legacy Communities Website 

North Star Legacy Communities Story Map