National Heritage Area 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 the 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 Jr. of Pennsylvania and Congressman Lloyd Smucker, who both championed National Heritage Area designation for our region in Congress.
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 11-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, Casey sponsored legislation to designate the Susquehanna National Heritage Area in every session of Congress since 2008 and Smucker joined the effort in 2017. In early 2019, the Susquehanna National Heritage Area was included in a bill approved by Congress in February 2019 and signed by President Donald Trump in March 2019.