The Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area is a partnership of communities, businesses, governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and individuals who value the region's rich cultural and environmental diversity, history, natural beauty, and traditions. This partnership presents the Mississippi Gulf Coast's distinctive story in terms of its national significance. Visitors experience the Heritage Area through a set of integrated themes that forefronts the Coast's unique qualities and emphasizes the important role the region has played in the history of the United States.
On December 8, 2004, President George W. Bush signed into Public Law 108-447 establishing the Mississippi Gulf Coast as a National Heritage Area. This enabling legislation designated the six coastal counties of Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, Stone and George County as a National Heritage Area.
The enabling legislation designated the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources as the coordinating entity for the Heritage Area, in consultation with the Mississippi Department of Archive and History. MDMR is responsible for the coordination of development and implementation of the Management Plan.
Authorization of Appropriations to carry out this Act is $10,000,000, of which not more than $1,000,000 may be made available for any fiscal year.
The mission of the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area is to promote understanding of and to conserve and enhance the heritage resources of the six counties of the Mississippi Gulf Coast by telling the area's nationally significant story to residents and visitors through activities and partnerships that celebrate the area's unique history, people, traditions, and landscapes. It also provides connectivity among the Mississippi Gulf Coast's many heritage resources, serving as a source of pride and identity for residents who are stakeholders in this conservation effort. These resources provide heritage tourists with authentic experiences reflective of the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area. The residents benefit from increased awareness and appreciation of their environment, history, culture, traditions, and lifestyles. The economic effects of heritage tourism benefit the entire region and support the long-term enhancement and conservation of those qualities that make the Mississippi Gulf Coast unique.
The heritage area concept offers an innovative method for citizens, in partnership with local, state, and Federal government, and nonprofit and private sector interests, to shape the long-term future of their communities. The partnership approach creates the opportunity for a diverse range of constituents to come together to voice a range of visions and perspectives. Partners collaborate to shape a plan and implement a strategy that focuses on the distinct qualities that make their region special.
Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area
Counties Served: Jackson, Harrison, Hancock, Pearl River, Stone, George County
Rhonda Price, MGCNHA Director
Mississippi Department of Marine Resources
Office of Coastal Restoration and Resiliency
1141 Bayview Avenue, Suite 101
Biloxi, MS 39530
We recognize and thank our partners who join the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area in celebrating the region’s rich cultural and environmental diversity, history, natural beauty, and traditions.
Through an annual grant program, the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area has awarded forty-four (44) grants totaling $690,314.00 and leveraging another $972,240.07 in matching contributions from local governments and the private sector with a total investment of $1,502,840.07. These grants have funded projects in all six (6) counties of South Mississippi and over the last four (4) grant cycles the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area received a total sixty-eight (68) applications. Funding for the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area matching grant program is provided by the federal government through the National Park Service. Anticipated typical awards will range from $500 to $50,000 with a total anticipated funding for all awards is up to $150,000, and is subject to the availability of funds.
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