Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm “Discover the Story” sign was installed recently at MP 12.3 at the Snow River pull-out on the Seward Highway just in time to welcome directors of other National Heritage Areas from around the nation who visited Seward during a regional conference.
The Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area is becoming more widely known and a source of pride to the eight communities that are part of the NHA. “Discover the Story” is the theme of the new sign and of the heritage area itself.
“We’re inviting people to linger and learn the fascinating stories of a place rich in geologic, cultural and natural history,” said KMTA Executive Director Kaylene Johnson-Sullivan.
The communities that are part of the KMTA National Heritage Area include Seward, Moose Pass, Cooper Landing, Hope, Girdwood, Whittier, Bird and Indian. KMTA supports these communities through matching grants. Seward’s Mariner’s Memorial and Iditarod Monument were both funded in part by KMTA grants. Other projects have included grants for construction of a boardwalk and interpretive signs at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center; signs for a walking tour of Whittier; award-winning curriculum for elementary and secondary students; and grants to support local museums and libraries throughout the heritage area.
National Heritage Areas are designated by Congress and administered by a local non-profit through the National Park Service. The purpose of the designation is to support community-centered initiatives that enhance and preserve local historic, scenic, and outdoor recreational resources. Participation in projects and programs is voluntary, with zoning and land-use decisions remaining under existing governmental jurisdictions. The Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area was designated in 2009.