Boundary Expansion Feasibility Study

Starting in 2019, ATHA, Inc. undertook a study, with funding support from MHAA, to consider a potential boundary amendment in southern Prince George’s County.

As part of the survey, tours were conducted of historic, cultural, and natural resources sites throughout the area to meet with staff and to determine opportunities for connections to the heritage area’s stories and programming. With ATHA staff, the consultant group conducted interviews, site visits, and public meetings – meeting with hundreds of stakeholders.

Four cluster areas were identified as shown on the map below:

  • Upper Marlboro, Clinton, Brandywine
  • Aquasco, Eagle Harbor, Cedar Haven
  • Accokeek, Fort Washington, Oxon Hill
  • Fairmount Heights, Seat Pleasant, Suitland

What Happens Next?

The process for amending a boundary involves many steps before pursuing an official request to the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA). Steps include:

Outreach to Potential Partners

ATHA, Inc. is conducting outreach with elected officials of incorporated municipalities, representatives for unincorporated communities, Prince George’s County Schools officials, Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning staff, National Park Service staff and others representing natural, historic, and cultural resources.

Consider Administrative Impacts

ATHA, Inc. will evaluate how an expanded boundary could impact the organization’s staff, budget, and governing structure. These considerations will determine a funding structure to include financial contributions from partners in the expanded boundary area, additions to the board of directors, and potential staff additions.

Determine Final Proposed Boundary

ATHA, Inc. will determine the most appropriate boundary amendment based upon outcomes from potential partner meetings and consideration of administrative impacts.

Add to Comprehensive Plans

MHAA requires local jurisdictions to amend their local comprehensive plan to incorporate those portions of the Certified Heritage Area management plan that apply to the affected jurisdiction.

Official Request to MHAA

ATHA, Inc. will submit an official request to MHAA for a Management Plan Update (Estimated 2023). MHAA staff will tour the area and host a public meeting to confirm a desire to join the heritage area. MHAA will then review the application and notify ATHA, Inc. of the decision.

This project has been financed in part with state funds from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, an instrumentality of the State of Maryland. However, the contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

About ATHA, Inc.

Certified in 2001 by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA), Anacostia Trails Heritage Area, Inc. (ATHA, Inc.) covers about 100 square miles in northern Prince George’s County near U.S. Route 1 and the Anacostia Tributary Trail System. The heritage area thematically links unique historical innovations, major community moments, and local tourism resources. ATHA, Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization with offices in Hyattsville.

A managing board oversees day-to-day operations, and a governing board serves in an advisory capacity. The heritage area is funded through the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, Prince George’s County government, Prince George’s County Conference and Visitors Bureau, partner municipalities, and other organizations and individuals.


ATHA has led or participated in many partnerships to extend the impact of programs. Partnerships include:

  • Federal | Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, NASA Goddard, Greenbelt National Park, and the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge
  • State | Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Maryland Office of Tourism
  • Regional | Prince George’s Conference and Visitors Bureau, Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, Prince George’s County, Prince George’s County History Consortium, Capital Trail Coalition, and the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail
  • Municipalities | Bladensburg, Colmar Manor, Cottage City, Edmonston, Berwyn Heights, Greenbelt, College Park, Mt. Rainier, Hyattsville, Brentwood, North Brentwood, Riverdale Park, University Park, the Beltsville area, Bowie, Cheverly, and unincorporated areas around Glenn Dale
  • Sites and Organizations | Numerous historic, cultural, and natural resource sites and organizations which preserve, document, commemorate, and celebrate the heritage area’s history and culture

Examples of successful partnerships include:

  • The creation of a Dueling Creek Heritage Trail Concept Plan with the Town of Colmar Manor with assistance from the National Park Service.
  • Supporting the research and design of a Civil Rights Trail in partnership with the County’s Black History Program as well as a team of consultants with expertise in historical research, graphic design, and interpretation.
  • Working with the Anacostia Watershed Society to promote opportunities for residents to become engaged in waterway restoration and the opening of a trail system.
  • Joining with history groups to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and the Battle of Bladensburg.
  • Supporting the “Art Lives Here” program which highlighted the Gateway Arts District in Mount Rainier, Brentwood, North Brentwood, and Hyattsville.