Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Partners,
I am very pleased to post the comments received during the Public Review Period (July 18 – August 17, 2012), which followed the completion of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Management Plan is completed. The public comment report is available by clicking the "Document List" page on the left side of the screen. The plan represents an almost four-year-planning effort on the part of the Gullah Geechee Commission, with input from the public, stakeholders, prospective partners, and Gullah Geechee community and grassroots organizations. Its development, as directed by federal legislation, was fueled through a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service. The planning effort included a great deal of involvement and input from the public, agencies, and organizations, including 21 public scoping meetings, feedback on two newsletters, formal partner meetings in each of the four states in the Corridor, and the Commission's quarterly business meetings.
The plan outlines the foundation for planning and management, including the Corridor's purpose and significance, as well as its vision, mission, goals and primary interpretive themes. It also provides a description of Gullah Geechee people and culture and a brief historical overview. In addition, the plan highlights examples of important cultural resources throughout the Corridor, summarizes the natural resources of the Corridor, discusses land ownership and land cover, and briefly touches on the socioeconomic conditions within the Corridor. This plan provides readers with a basic level of information about the Corridor to facilitate a better understanding of the direction for future implementation that is outlined in the management approach.
The management approach, titled "Enlighten and Empower Gullah Geechee People to Sustain the Culture," focuses the Commission's implementation efforts on the following three interdependent pillars:
1. Education: Increasing understanding and awareness of Gullah Geechee people, culture and history.
2. Economic Development: Supporting heritage-related businesses and promoting the preservation of the land and natural resources needed to sustain the culture.
3. Documentation and Preservation: Preserving Gullah Geechee resources, primarily through documentation.
Moreover, the management plan includes an interpretation framework to raise awareness, understanding, and appreciation for the history of Gullah Geechee people, their contributions to the development of the United States, and connection to the African diaspora and other international cultures. The plan also outlines how the Commission would monitor and track success over time. Finally, the plan includes numerous appendices with further information and documentation.
The Gullah Geechee Commission thanks you for your involvement throughout the planning process. The management plan is being submitted to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior for approval. If granted: 1) recommendations received during the Public Review Period will be reviewed to strengthen implementation and correctly identify resources and 2) a press release will announce when the Commission will begin receiving and reviewing applications for Partnerships, Partner Sites, and Stakeholders. The management plan and additional information about the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor is available on the Commission's website: http://www.gullahgeecheecorridor.org
Thank you for your continued interest in the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. "We gwine try fa do all wa oona done trus we fa do!"
Ronald Daise, Chairman
Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission
Charles Pinckney NHS
843-881-5516, Ext. 12