Florida Panhandle National Heritage Area

Welcome to Florida Panhandle Area, where unique natural and cultural resources come together, contributing to significant innovations in industry and the building of North America.

Coastal Dune Lake
Walton County is home to 15 named globally unique coastal dune lakes

The Florida Panhandle Area is home to many historical firsts as well as some unique remaining resources left in the United States. We would like to appreciate these resources and tell their story to the nation and world by designating the area as a National Heritage Area (NHA). These areas are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape.

With the long-term goal of heritage tourism promotion and sustainable preservation of cultural and natural heritage in Florida, the project of “Heritage Tourism Research, Assessment of Heritage Tourism in Northwest Florida” started in Aug. 2016 at Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN). The study revealed significant cultural and natural resources in the Panhandle Area, including unique resources that highlight major historical events, outstanding archaeological remains, innovation and progress, as well as exceptional natural resources in this area.

SEALAB I, the first fixed seafloor habitat underwater, Man in the Sea Museum, in Panama City Beach, Florida

Aiming to promote heritage tourism, highlight the unique American history and diversity of heritage, promote historic preservation, and sustainable development, we looked for a way to brand the area with a national title, to develop the economy and to promote communities’ sense of belonging and identity. Designation as a National Heritage Area is the key to achieving these goals.

The first step to NHA designation is to conduct a Feasibility Study, which includes steps such as Defining the Study Area, assessing Public Involvement, Compiling an Inventory of assets, and an Assessment and Evaluation of resources in the area. The study is sponsored by Reubin O’D. Askew Center for Multidisciplinary Center in collaboration with FPAN. We are calling for all stakeholders to support and contribute to this project.

We welcome your ideas, stories and information about the unique natural, cultural and historical resources in the Panhandle Area. Please, contact Dr. Sorna Khakzad and join our forum and discussion through this page and our Facebook page.

For more information about NHA, please visit the National Park Service.

Area Boundary

Following the participants' feedback after the meeting on September 5, 2018, the following three maps show three scenarios that are now open for comments:

fpnha map Scenario A Aucilla

Scenario A: Aucilla

Covers from Perdido River in the west to Aucilla River in the east, Florida State line in the north and coast in the south.

FPNHA Scenario B Ochlockonee

Scenario B: Ochlockonee

Covers from Perdido River in the west to Ochlockonee River in the east, Florida State line in the north and coast in the south.

FPNHA Scenario C Apalachicola

Scenario C: Apalachicola

Covers from Perdido River in the west to Apalachicola River Basin in the east, Florida State line in the north and coast in the south.

John Gorrie Museum
Gorrie Museum State Park Features the first mechanical refrigeration. © Gorrie Museum State Park


If you would like to get involved, please attend one of our public meetings for more information!


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