Monday, July 24, 2017

Bipartisan Bills Introduced In Congress To Create Susquehanna River National Heritage Area

Congressman Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster), along with Congressmen Scott Perry (R-Cumberland) and Pat Meehan (R-Lancaster/ Philadelphia), and U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced legislation in Congress in June to create the Susquehanna River National Heritage Area.
The bills would include Lancaster and York Counties as a National Heritage Area– a Congressional designation where “natural, cultural, historic, and recreational resources form a cohesive, nationally distinctive landscape arising from human activity shaped by geography.” NHAs receive conservation assistance from the National Park Service.
“For centuries, the Susquehanna River, which forms a natural border between York and Lancaster Counties and represents the heart of the proposed National Heritage Area, has been at the center of agricultural, industrial and recreational activity in the Mid-Atlantic United States,” said Senator Casey. “I reintroduced this bill during National Rivers Month to bring recognition to the Susquehanna River and the region for its historical and cultural significance.”
“I’m very proud of the natural beauty we find in our communities,” said Cong. Smucker. “We want to ensure we maintain that safe and clean environment into the future for residents and visitors. This National Heritage Area designation will attract more visitors, stimulate the local economy, and preserve natural resources and historical landmarks. I am pleased to introduce this bill with Reps. Perry and Meehan, and look forward to reinvigorating our community’s investment in our land.”
“I’m glad to partner with Congressmen Pat Meehan and Lloyd Smucker and Susquehanna Heritage on legislation seeing the National Heritage Area designation of York and Lancaster Counties,” said Cong. Perry. “This would be a step forward in advancing heritage and outdoor tourism in our region and promoting the Susquehanna River and its special significance in our nation’s history.”
“The Susquehanna River Valley has played a key role in America’s economic and cultural development and today the Valley is a destination for outdoor enthusiasts and tourists from across the country,” said Cong. Meehan. “Designating this beautiful part of Pennsylvania as a National Heritage Area will not only help ensure its preservation and conservation – it will generate more tourism dollars and the jobs that accompany them for our region. I’m pleased to join Reps. Smucker and Perry in this effort.”
-- What is a National Heritage Area?  National Heritage Areas are places where natural cultural, historic, and recreational resources form a cohesive, nationally distinctive landscape arising from human activity shaped by geography.
They tell nationally important stories about our nation and are representative of the national experience through physical features that remain and traditions that have evolved within them.
Since President Ronald Reagan designated the first NHA in 1984, community groups, businesses, local governments, and Congress have established 49 NHAs across the nation to preserve, promote, and celebrate their heritage, culture, and natural resources for the benefit of current and future generations.
-- What are the Goal of National Heritage Areas?  NHAs draw visitors to local heritage and outdoor recreation attractions and businesses. They encourage public and private partners to collaboratively plan and implement programs and projects that preserve, enhance, and celebrate America’s defining historic places and landscapes.
NHAs work with communities to conserve natural resources, landscapes, and historic places; strengthen community identity and economic vitality; educate residents and visitors about the region’s history; and attract heritage and outdoor tourism to promote economic vitality.
-- What are the Benefits of National Heritage Areas? As a NHA, the region will benefit from enhanced national identity and exposure and better access to National Park Service assistance. A 2012 study by the Alliance of National Heritage Areas and National Park Service showed that NHAs contribute $12.9 billion annually to the national economy and support 148,000 jobs. The economic benefit of NHAs in the Northeast Region was $5.4 billion annually and 66,880 jobs.
For more information, visit the Susquehanna Heritage website.  Susquehanna Heritage is a nonprofit organization collaborating with local, state and national partners to connect people to the Susquehanna River and its history.
Heritage Areas In PA
There are 12 National Heritage Areas designated in Pennsylvania. To learn more, visit DCNR’s Heritage Areas webpage.
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