In the United States, a National Heritage Area (NHA) is a site designated by Act of Congress, intended to encourage historic preservation of the area and an appreciation of the history and heritage of the site. There are currently 62 NHAs, some of which use variations of the title, such as National Heritage Corridor.
National Heritage Areas are not National Park Service units or federally owned or managed land. NHAs are administered by state governments or non-profit organizations or other private corporations, referred to as local coordinating entities. The National Park Service provides an advisory role and limited technical, planning and financial assistance.
Each area has its own authorizing legislation and a set of unique resources and goals. Areas considered for designation must have specific elements. First, the landscape must be a nationally unique natural, cultural, historic, or scenic resource. Second, when the related sites are linked, they must tell a unique story about the U.S.
The first NHA created, the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor, located in Illinois, was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on August 21, 1984.
The National Heritage Areas Act of 2006 designated ten new NHAs and authorized authorized three studies of potential NHAs. It was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 12, 2006.
The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 designated ten new NHAs. The bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 30, 2009.
The John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019 laid out procedures for planning and management of NHAs and designated six new NHAs. It was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 12, 2019.
The National Heritage Area Act of 2022 established a National Heritage Area System and created a standardized process for the Department of the Interior to provide financial and technical assistance to NHAs. The law also provides a process for the study and designation of new NHAs and evaluation for existing NHAs. It authorized three studies of potential NHAs and established seven new NHAs. The bill was passed by the Senate on December 20, 2022 by unanimous consent and the House on December 22 (on a vote of 326-95), and was signed into law by President Joe Biden on January 5, 2023.
List of National Heritage AreasEdit
There are 55 National Heritage Areas, listed below with their respective local coordinating entity:
|Area||State(s)||Designation Date||Local Coordinating Authority||Notes|
|Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area||Illinois||May 8, 2008||Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition|
|Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area||Alabama||January 5, 2023||Center for the Study of the Black Belt at the University of West Alabama|
|Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area||West Virginia and Maryland||March 12, 2019||Appalachian Forest Heritage Area, Inc.|
|Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area||Georgia||October 12, 2006||Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance|
|Atchafalaya National Heritage Area||Louisiana||October 12, 2006||Louisiana Office of Tourism, Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism|
|Augusta Canal National Heritage Area||Georgia||Augusta Canal Authority|
|Baltimore National Heritage Area||Maryland||March 30, 2009||City of Baltimore|
|Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor||Massachusetts/Rhode Island||November 1986|
|Blue Ridge National Heritage Area||North Carolina||November 10, 2003||Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership|
|Bronzeville – Black Metropolis National Heritage Area||Illinois||January 5, 2023||Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Commission|
|Cache La Poudre River Corridor National Heritage Area||Colorado||March 30, 2009||Poudre Heritage Alliance|
|Cane River National Heritage Area||Louisiana||Cane River National Heritage Area Commission|
|Champlain Valley National Heritage Area||New York/Vermont||October 12, 2006||Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership|
|Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area||New Jersey||Crossroads of the American Revolution Association|
|Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor||Pennsylvania||1988||Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Inc.|
|Downeast Maine National Heritage Area||Maine||January 5, 2023||Sunrise County Economic Council|
|Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor||New York||Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor|
|Essex National Heritage Area||Massachusetts||1996||Essex National Heritage Commission|
|Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area||Kansas/Missouri||October 12, 2006||Partnership Team|
|Freedom's Way National Heritage Area||Massachusetts/New Hampshire||March 30, 2009|
|Great Basin National Heritage Area||Nevada/Utah||October 12, 2006||Great Basin Heritage Area Partnership|
|Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor||Florida/Georgia/North Carolina/South Carolina||October 12, 2006||Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission|
|Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area||New York||1996||Hudson River Valley Greenway|
|Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor||Illinois||August 21, 1984||Canal Corridor Association|
|John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor||Massachusetts/Rhode Island||October 12, 2006||Blackstone River Valley Heritage Corridor Commission|
|Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area||Maryland/Pennsylvania/Virginia/West Virginia||The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership|
|Kenai Mountains – Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area||Alaska||March 30, 2009|
|Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor||Massachusetts, Connecticut||November 2, 1994||The Last Green Valley||Formerly the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor. Renamed December 19, 2014.|
|Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area||Pennsylvania||2000||Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority|
|Maritime Washington National Heritage Area||Washington||March 12, 2019||Washington Trust for Historic Preservation|
|Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area||Mississippi||March 30, 2009||Delta Council|
|Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area||Mississippi||Office of Coastal Management and Planning, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources|
|Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area||Mississippi||March 30, 2009||Mississippi Hills Heritage Area Alliance|
|Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area||Utah||October 12, 2006||Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance|
|MotorCities National Heritage Area||Michigan||November 6, 1998||Initially named Automobile National Heritage Area|
|Mountains to Sound Greenway||Washington||March 12, 2019||Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust|
|Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area||Alabama||March 30, 2009||University of North Alabama|
|National Aviation Heritage Area||Ohio||2004||Aviation Heritage Foundation, Inc.|
|National Coal Heritage Area||West Virginia||November 12, 1996||National Coal Heritage Area Authority|
|Niagara Falls National Heritage Area||New York||November 2008|
|Northern Plains National Heritage Area||North Dakota||March 30, 2009|
|Northern Neck National Heritage Area||Virginia||January 5, 2023||Sunrise County Economic Council|
|Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area||New Mexico||October 12, 2006|
|Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area||Ohio||1996||Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition|
|Oil Region National Heritage Area||Pennsylvania||2004||Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism|
|Path of Progress National Heritage Tour Route||Pennsylvania||Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission|
|Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area||Pennsylvania||1996||Steel Industry Heritage Corporation|
|Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area||California||March 12, 2019||Delta Protection Commission|
|Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area||Arizona||March 12, 2019||Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance, Inc.|
|Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area||Colorado||March 30, 2009||Sangre de Cristo NHA Steering Committee|
|Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area||Pennsylvania|
|Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District||Virginia||Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation|
|Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area||Iowa||1996|
|South Carolina National Heritage Corridor||South Carolina||1996||South Carolina National Heritage Corridor, Inc.|
|South Park National Heritage Area||Colorado||March 30, 2009||Tourism and Community Development Office, Park County|
|Southern Campaign of the Revolution National Heritage Corridor||North Carolina/South Carolina||January 5, 2023||University of South Carolina|
|Southern Maryland National Heritage Area||Maryland||January 5, 2023||Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland|
|St. Croix National Heritage Area||U.S. Virgin Islands||January 5, 2023||Virgin Islands State Historic Preservation Office|
|Susquehanna National Heritage Area||Pennsylvania||March 12, 2019||Susquehanna Heritage Corporation|
|Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area||Tennessee||1996||Center for Historic Preservation, Middle Tennessee State University|
|Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area||Connecticut/Massachusetts||October 12, 2006||Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area, Inc.|
|Wheeling National Heritage Area||West Virginia||October 11, 2000||Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation|
|Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area||Arizona/California||October 19, 2000||Riverfront Development Office|
|Area||State(s)||Passed by Congress||Local Coordinating Authority|
|Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Area||Virginia||Study approved|
|Ka‘ena Point National Heritage Area||Hawaii||Study approved|
|Monterey Bay National Heritage Area||California||No|
|Guam National Heritage Area||Guam||Study approved|
|Coastal Virginia National Heritage Area||Virginia||No|
|South Kona National Heritage Area||Hawaii||No|
|Nation’s Oldest Port National Heritage Area||No|
- ^ "National Heritage Areas Contact Information". National Park Service. November 2010. (which serves as an official list of all 55 National Heritage Areas)
- ^ NPS FAQ
- ^ Manno, Melissa (December 22, 2022). "Tonko's National Heritage Area Act passes". Times Union. Retrieved December 25, 2022.
- ^ "National Heritage Area Act". Congress.gov. December 22, 2022.
- ^ "S.1942 - National Heritage Area Act". Congress.gov.