Image: Canoe Journey landing at Swinomish in 2019. Photo by Swinomish Police Department, courtesy of Swinomish Tribal Archive.

Refining plans for the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area

This spring, the Maritime Washington planning team has continued to refine the vision for the new National Heritage Area which spans 3,000 miles of our state’s saltwater shoreline. In February, we shared our preliminary plans with the public, outlining our vision for how Maritime Washington will build a network that strengthens the maritime community and connects people with our state’s water-based stories, experiences, sites, and cultures. 

In addition to detailed interpretive, business, and marketing strategies, this draft Management Plan included short- and long-term goals and activities for the heritage area—ranging from best practice workshops and grant programs to statewide advocacy strategies and the creation of a centralized website for maritime sites and stories. Through many survey responses, conversations with key partners, and virtual office hour sessions, we received fantastic suggestions as to how we could improve the plan to better address local needs. 

Now we’re working with the planning team, the National Park Service, and other partners to incorporate public feedback, confirm collaborative projects (see below for one example!), and finalize the Management Plan. This summer, the National Park Service and the Secretary of the Interior will review the Management Plan, with the goal of officially launching the program in late 2022. In the meantime, we’ll continue to work with local partners to identify stories and early projects that fit within the plan’s framework. 

We hope you continue to follow along by signing up for maritime news here!

Image: Ebony Welborn and Savannah Smith, co-founders of Sea Potential LLC, photo by High Country News.

Telling the full maritime story: New partnership with Sea Potential exploring diverse stories along our shores

One of Maritime Washington’s primary goals is to share diverse stories and increase visibility of Washington’s maritime heritage, past and present. To help achieve this goal, we’ll be partnering with organizations and individuals from throughout the region to amplify existing storytellers and enable new voices to share their own maritime heritage. Thanks to a generous grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, we’re thrilled to embark on our first collaborative storytelling project in support of that: exploring BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) stories within Washington State’s maritime community.

Project funding comes from the National Trust’s Telling the Full History Preservation Fund, which aims to interpret and preserve historic places of importance to underrepresented communities across the nation. More than 450 Telling the Full History grant applications were received; approximately 80 were funded. We at the Washington Trust are proud to be one of the grant recipients.

This grant has enabled a new collaborative project between the heritage area and Sea Potential, a Seattle-based environmental justice LLC co-founded by Ebony Welborn and Savannah Smith to elevate BIPOC representation in the maritime sector. As part of the project, BIPOC youth will collect and record interviews about their communities’ relationships to their local waters, maritime heritage, and sites within the Maritime Washington National Heritage Area. These interviews will then be edited into videos and shared widely.

We can’t wait to work with Ebony, Savannah, and other local experts to uncover and share new maritime stories. Stay tuned for more in the months to come!