Image: Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, 2017. Photo by E.T. Becker.

Earlier this month, the Management Plan for the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area was formally submitted to the National Park Service and Secretary of the Interior for review, following approvals from the Maritime Washington Steering Committee and the Washington Trust Board of Directors.

What is the Management Plan?

This Management Plan is the culmination of a long, collaborative planning process and outlines the goals, strategies, policies, and plans for the future of the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area. It is the “navigation plan,” outlining what this new program will look like, what it will do, and how it will do it. This plan will serve as a useful and living document to guide staff, leadership, and partners in working together to launch this new National Heritage Area. This Management Plan includes seven chapters: 

  • Chapter One: Introduction: Provides background on the purpose of Maritime Washington, the creation of the Management Plan, and the geography of the region.
  • Chapter Two: Directional Guidance: Outlines the mission and goals of the heritage area, as well as its key functions and partnership structures.
  • Chapter Three: Interpretive Plan: Presents a framework for interpreting and sharing the narratives and resources of the area, including a historical overview, a framework of interpretive themes, and an overview of interpretive strategies. 
  • Chapter Four: Key Sites from Resource Inventory: Features a selection of resources from the Resource Inventory, including descriptions of each site and its relationship to the heritage area’s interpretive themes. .
  • Chapter Five: Branding and Marketing Plan: Outlines communication tactics and channels for Maritime Washington, as well as the heritage area’s brand identity.
  • Chapter Six: Business Plan: Describes the organizational structures, policies, and strategies for governing, staffing, managing, and funding the heritage area.  
  • Chapter Seven: Implementation Plan: Identifies short- and long-range actions and performance goals for the heritage area, as well as guiding principles for implementation.
  • Appendices, including a copy of Maritime Washington’s designation legislation, an inventory of resources located in the heritage area, a detailed overview of the management planning process, detailed marketing plans, and letters of support.

Who made this plan?

Throughout the three-year planning period, Washington’s maritime community rallied around the planning for this new National Heritage Area, working across industries and geographies to craft a vision for Maritime Washington. Led by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation (the local coordinating entity for the heritage area) and a region-wide Steering Committee, Maritime Washington:

  • Hosted 17 regional workshops, focus groups, summits, and other virtual sessions.
  • Met with more than 150 local organizations, community leaders, and government officials.
  • Presented about the heritage area to more than 1,000 individuals
  • Conducted a comprehensive virtual public review of the Management Plan.

While this Management Plan is the end-product of those efforts, the more valuable result of this collaborative process is a foundation of partnerships that will serve Maritime Washington and the broader community moving forward. 

Image: Screenshot of virtual public workshop for Jefferson, Clallam, and Grays Harbor counties, May 2021. 

There are many people to thank for their great contributions to this plan—too many to list here!—but the Washington Trust staff would like to offer particular thanks to the members of the Steering Committee as well as the Tribal, Business, Marketing, Implementation, and Interpretation Working Groups. We would also like to thank our liaisons with the National Park Service: Linda Stonier, Katie Durcan, and Elizabeth Vehmeyer. Most importantly, we would like to thank the hundreds of individuals who contributed their time, energy, and expertise to the creation of this plan through meetings, written comments, focus groups, virtual reviews, and surveys. This has truly been an “all hands on deck” scenario, and we’re incredibly grateful to Washington State’s incredible maritime community.

What’s next for Maritime Washington?

The Management Plan is now being reviewed by the National Park Service and Secretary of the Interior. Once the Management Plan is approved, Maritime Washington will officially “launch,” beginning implementation of this exciting new program.

We anticipate approval of the plan in Fall 2022 and are looking forward to a full public launch of Maritime Washington in early 2023! In the meantime, we’ll continue to work with local partners to identify stories and early projects, meet with stakeholders in the maritime community to stay up to date on current happenings and needs, and launch several storytelling projects. We can’t wait to hit the ground running (the sea sailing?) with Maritime Washington.