The PA Growing Greener Coalition Wednesday thanked House members for unanimously passing House Bill 1605 (James-R-Venango) that formally establishes a PA Heritage Area Program to identify, protect, enhance and promote the historic, recreational, natural, cultural and scenic resources of the Commonwealth.
“We are pleased that the House recognizes the important economic and social benefits of Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas,” said Andrew Heath, executive director of the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition. “This legislation is critical to the future of the Heritage Areas, and we look forward to its passage in the Senate in the upcoming weeks.”
Heath thanked Rep. Lee James (R-Venango) especially for his leadership in introducing the bill and his commitment to protecting Pennsylvania’s history and heritage.
Heritage Areas are geographic regions or corridors that span two or more counties that contain historic, recreational, natural and scenic resources that collectively exemplify the heritage of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania’s 12 Heritage Areas are: Allegheny Ridge Heritage Area, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Endless Mountains Heritage Region, Lackawanna Heritage Valley, Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor, Lumber Heritage Region, National Road Heritage Corridor, Oil Region National Heritage Area, PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor, Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area, and Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area.
A recent study found that in 2014, tourists spent an estimated 7.5 million days/nights in Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas, purchasing $2 billion worth of goods and services. This spending supported 25,708 jobs and generated $798 million in labor income and nearly $1.3 billion in value-added effects.
In addition, 70 percent of visitor spending and associated economic effects would be lost to these areas if heritage anchor attractions were not available, according to the study.
The PA Growing Greener Coalition is the largest coalition of conservation, recreation and preservation organizations in the Commonwealth.
Related Story:Joint Conservation Committee: Heritage Areas Generate $2 Billion For PA’s Economy