Blue Ridge National Heritage Area

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An environmental summary by the ENVS 560/L Watershed Systems class at CSUMB.


The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (BRNHA) was designated by Congress in November 2003 in recognition of the unique character, culture, and natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and foothills in Western North Carolina. The legislation also created a nine-member board of directors which formed a non-profit organization, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership, to steward the federal funds that support the designation, build partnerships in the region, attract matching funds, and implement projects [1].

The Blue Mountains of North Carolina are some of the oldest mountains on Earth, and the landscape also includes the highest mountain (Mount Mitchell), the deepest gorge (Linville Gorge), the oldest river in North America (the New River), and two of the most visited National Parks in the country, Blue Ridge National Park and Smokey Mountain National Park. The BRNHA region is also the birthplace of the Cherokee culture and is still home to the Eastern Band of Cherokee natives [1].


"Serve as the steward of the living traditions of the region, protecting and promoting the unique music, crafts, outdoors, foodways, and Cherokee culture unique to Western North Carolina." [1]


The BRNHA Partnership offers matching grants to provide and leverage funding for new projects across the region [2].


The BRNHA is partnered with Blue Ridge Craft Trails to share local, cultural crafts and art with visitors.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. [Cited March 2021]
  2. Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partners. [Cited March 2021]


This page may contain student work completed as part of assigned coursework. It may not be accurate. It does not necessary reflect the opinion or policy of CSUMB, its staff, or students.