Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area
Garrett County’s unique heritage resources reflect Maryland’s pioneering spirit as western frontier lands were opened for settlement in the 18th and 19th centuries. As the county was settled, its abundance of natural resources provided for both industry and recreation. Even now in the 21st century, man and nature are still the driving force for the modern economy.
The Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area (MMGWHA) has four major themes: Transportation, including Braddock’s Trail and the National Road; Man and Nature, highlighting the county’s unique natural resources; Historic Recreation as Garrett County’s natural beauty has inspired travelers from all walks of life to visit and locate to the area; and Cultural Uniqueness, recounting the lives of various cultural groups that settled and have remained in the area. These key heritage topics best describe the local historical, cultural, archeological, natural resource and transportation systems which depict the story of how Garrett County came to be.
The geographic boundaries of the Garrett County Heritage Area are delineated in areas containing high concentrations of significant heritage resources. These areas encompass the towns of Accident, Deer Park, Friendsville, Grantsville, Kitzmiller, Loch Lynn Heights, Mountain Lake Park and Oakland, as well as the unincorporated communities of McHenry and Bloomington. In addition, the numerous Scenic Byways and the county-wide trail system provide alternative connections to even more heritage sites within the county. The heritage area also offers a link to a network of heritage systems and scenic byways in neighboring Allegany County, Maryland with Coal Heritage, connects to Pennsylvania with the Great Allegheny Passage and to West Virginia with the National Coal Heritage/Appalachian National Forest Heritage Area.
The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce is the official Management Entity for the Heritage Area and also serves as the Destination Marketing Organization for the county. The Garrett County Heritage Manager administers the Heritage Area Program and oversees a 15 member Heritage Area Advisory Board (HAAB) that assists with the administration of the Heritage Area Management Plan. The Chamber, in cooperation with the HAAB, strives to ensure that stakeholders and partners are represented in the county with the main goal being to implement the Heritage Plan and achieve the mission of the Heritage Area. As the plan is executed, the Chamber and county visualize a successful Heritage Area that links public and private sectors in a strong and effective relationship. These interactions support the promotion of heritage preservation, enhance tourism, and encourage economic development consistent with heritage program ideals.
Preparation of a management plan approved by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority is a requirement for becoming a Maryland “Certified” Heritage Area. The approved Management Plan includes information on the boundaries of the Certified Heritage Area and “Target Investment Zones,” and presents the heritage area’s vision and goals and the strategies, projects, programs, actions, and partnerships that are being implemented to accomplish them.
The Garrett County Heritage Area Management Plan was created to provide guidance for implementing Heritage efforts in the county and for building a Heritage Program that will enhance preservation and tourism related efforts in the county.
Click here to view the management plan.
Dawn M. Hein, Heritage Manager
Garrett County Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area
15 Visitors Center Drive
McHenry, MD 21541
This page updated: September 19, 2012
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- Baltimore City Heritage Area
- Canal Place Heritage Area
- Four Rivers Heritage Area
- Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area
- Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area
- Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Area
- Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway
- Montgomery County Heritage Area
- Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area
- Southern Maryland Heritage Area
- Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area
- Maryland Office of Tourism Development
- Maryland Department of Natural Resources
- National Heritage Areas Program (NPS)
- National Alliance of Heritage Areas