Who We Are
Susquehanna National Heritage Area is a regional non-profit organization and Congressionally-designated coordinating entity for America’s 55th National Heritage Area. We collaborate with local, state and national partners to connect people to the nationally important places and stories of Lancaster and York Counties in South Central Pennsylvania. Our work focuses on the cultural and natural resources of the Susquehanna River and the ribbon of scenic and historic landscapes and communities along its shores.
Susquehanna National Heritage Area is based at the Zimmerman Center for Heritage, an historic home on the river near Wrightsville. We also manage the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center, a visitor education center on the waterfront in Columbia. We are part of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas and HeritagePA, the statewide network of officially designated Pennsylvania Heritage Areas.
Since our original designation as a Pennsylvania Heritage Area in 2001, Susquehanna Heritage has helped secure over $3 million in local public support, $12 million in state and federal grants, and $4 million in private giving for heritage, conservation, and tourism development efforts in Lancaster and York Counties.
Our Vision & Mission
Vision – We envision the Susquehanna Riverlands as a nationally recognized destination for outdoor fun and cultural discovery.
Mission – We work to enhance quality of life and economic vitality by promoting the preservation, conservation and interpretation of the river’s cultural and natural heritage.
Our Strategic Focus
Our programs and projects focus on Tourism Development that increases the visibility and readiness of the river as a visitor destination and Placemaking that enhances the quality and appeal of the river’s special places and landscapes. Read our Strategic Plan to learn more about our focus and priorities.
As a 501(c)3 non-profit group, Susquehanna National Heritage Area operates according to an annual budget, financial plan and auditing process. We fund our work through cooperative agreements and grants from public agencies and foundations, along with private contributions from generous Friends of the River who value the historic and natural wonders of the Susquehanna.
Susquehanna National Heritage Area was founded as a non-profit organization with a two-county Board of Directors in 2002 after state designation of Lancaster and York Counties as a Pennsylvania Heritage Area in 2001. Staff were hired and programs and projects launched in 2003. State designation resulted from an extensive, locally driven community involvement process that documented our region’s historical significance and community capacity to effectively support and manage Heritage Area activities. Originally known as the Lancaster-York Heritage Region, we refocused our identity on the Susquehanna River beginning in 2009. With designation as America’s 55th National Heritage Area in early 2019, we are now known as the Susquehanna National Heritage Area.