In the early 1980s there were thousands of commissions who were dealing with development pressures in historic areas, and new amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act in 1980 created the Certified Local Government program to help commissions receive federal financial assistance to advanced local preservation efforts. What was clearly absent was a forum for the discussion of mutual problems and a national voice representing the particular needs of commissions. NAPC was founded in 1983 to meet these goals. Commission interests were soon represented at countless meetings of the National Park Service (NPS), the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP), and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), as well as on Capitol Hill at budget and other Congressional hearings and meetings about the national preservation programs. NAPC also had an active role in various lawsuits and legislation regarding preservation issues.
Today NAPC remains a strong advocate for local historic preservation commissions, relying on its established relationships with our national partners to help local preservation programs succeed and thrive. NAPC holds a Board of Directors meeting each March in Washington, D.C. as part of Preservation Advocacy Day, a two-day program consisting of annual meetings, legislative briefings, advocacy training, and coordinated visits to the the “Hill.” When applicable, NAPC can also provide letters of support for our member commissions when faced with challenging issues.