HARRISBURG, Pa. (May 30, 2019) – Pennsylvania’s 12 Heritage Areas, spanning 57 of the Commonwealth’s counties, are celebrating their 30th anniversary this summer, offering a wide range of enjoyable activities and adventures through the state’s rich history.  The businesses, non-profit organizations, and community leaders committed to preserving Pennsylvania’s unique historic and cultural resources encourage tourists with varying interests to visit one or more of the areas.  There, they will have the opportunity to experience some of the most important and pivotal actions which have contributed to the nation’s formation and growth.

“The founding of the Pennsylvania Heritage Areas Program in 1989 gave recognition to the important role these historic events and accomplishments made over several centuries, from Southeastern Pennsylvania’s contributions to the founding of our Nation to the success of the first commercial oil well in the northwest corner of the state,” said Marilyn Black, Vice President of the Oil Region Alliance.  “The success of building and sustaining these vibrant regional tourism assets can be traced to hundreds of individuals and organizations that came together to welcome visitors and make their trips through history memorable and simple to navigate.”

The Heritage Areas Program is a national model that encompasses almost every major historical site, population center, and tourist attraction that Pennsylvania has to offer. It is a comprehensive, multi-faceted regional strategic initiative to conserve and enhance key resources and promote each region’s heritage for tourism development.

From an economic perspective, Pennsylvania consistently ranks near the top of states attracting cultural heritage visitors. In 2014, tourists spent an estimated 7.5 million days and nights in Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas, purchasing more than $2 billion worth of goods and services. Seventy percent (70%) of this spending is purely reliant on heritage-related attractions. The total contribution of Heritage visitor spending to the state economy was 25,708 jobs and $798 million in labor income, according to a study by John M. McGrath, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and David Primm and William Lafe, January 2016.

 “Pennsylvanians may be preparing for their annual summer trips to beaches, lakes or mountains.  We encourage them to take time to explore one or more of our Heritage Areas to experience the natural beauty of our state, the authentic stories behind the areas’ contributions to our Nation and the hospitality of their neighbors,” said Elissa Garofolo, Executive Director of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.  “They will find affordable and interesting things to do at every one of Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas, as well as people eager to celebrate 30 years of the Heritage Area program.”

The 12 Heritage Areas are managed separately and are as unique as the history, resources and communities they work to preserve, enhance and grow. Through partnerships and grass-roots planning efforts of a diverse group of leaders, the historic, cultural, natural, and scenic and recreation resources are preserved and developed to strengthen regional economies with a goal of increasing tourism, creating new jobs and developing investment opportunities. 

The map above illustrates the 12 heritage areas through Pennsylvania.

Find out more about the 12 heritage areas by visiting www.heritagepa.com, or the individual heritage websites below.