On Friday, June 7, 2019, Susquehanna National Heritage Area (SNHA) will celebrate the recent designation by Congress of Lancaster and York Counties as America’s 55th National Heritage Area. National, state, and local elected officials, agencies, and business leaders will come together on the riverfront in Columbia to honor our area’s significant role in shaping American history and recognize those partners who helped bring this important national designation to our communities.

Featured speakers for the celebration are U.S. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Congressman Lloyd Smucker (PA-11), who both championed National Heritage Area designation for our region in Congress.

Remarks will also be offered by Kate MacGregor, Deputy Chief of Staff exercising the authority of the Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior; Cindy Dunn, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources; Josh Parsons, Chair, Lancaster County Board of Commissioners; Susan Byrnes, President, York County Board of Commissioners; Columbia Mayor Leo Lutz; Lancaster Chamber President Tom Baldrige; and Kevin Schreiber, President & CEO of the York County Economic Alliance. Representatives of the National Park Service will also be in attendance.

Weather and water permitting, a small group of invited participants will arrive for the celebration in Columbia by boat after a cruise from SNHA’s Zimmerman Center for Heritage at Long Level, York County. In 2016, the National Park Service designated the Zimmerman Center as Pennsylvania’s official Visitor Contact & Passport Station for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake Trail—America’s first water-based National Historic Trail. National Heritage Area designation builds on this existing trail partnership with the National Park Service by expanding collaboration to the regional level.

Designation of York and Lancaster Counties as the Susquehanna National Heritage Area caps an eleven-year community campaign to achieve this national recognition for our region. After completion of a Feasibility Study Report in 2008, the National Park Service found our region meets the National Heritage Area Feasibility Study Guidelines for Congressional designation. With this determination, Senator Casey sponsored legislation to designate the Susquehanna National Heritage Area in every session of Congress since 2008 and Congressman Lloyd Smucker (PA-11) joined the effort in 2017. In early 2019, the Susquehanna National Heritage Area was included in S.47, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which was approved by Congress in February 2019 and signed by President Trump in March 2019. The Act named Susquehanna Heritage Corporation as the Local Coordinating Entity for the new National Heritage Area and authorized fifteen years of federal funding to carry out heritage and conservation activities. Next steps will include development of a Cooperative Agreement with the National Park Service and a Management Plan to chart the future course of the National Heritage Area’s programs and projects.

Learn more about the new Susquehanna National Heritage Area here: https://www.susquehannaheritage.org/about-us/our-work/national-heritage-area-designation/