About Us

Heritage is Now

We are the beating heart of Pennsylvania – our history, our pride, a guide for our present achievements, and a roadmap for our future progress. Twelve places and infinite stories, discovered along the scenic roads, railways, canals, and trails that crisscross this curious, majestic, and special place that we call PA. Oil, coal, steel, and lumber. Revolution, exploration, agriculture, and commerce. Main Streets, byways, and pure natural beauty.

These are the building blocks of our state and of our nation. And these are the foundation and inspiration for what’s next. Heritage is our story. Heritage is here. Heritage is now.

Background on Pennsylvania’s 12 Heritage Areas

Established in 1989, Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas Program is a national model operating in 57 of 67 counties throughout the Commonwealth, with 6 of the 12 areas considered National Heritage Areas. Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas encompass almost every major historical site, population center, and tourist attraction that Pennsylvania has to offer. The Heritage Area Program is a comprehensive, multi-faceted regional strategic initiative to conserve and enhance key resources and promote a region’s heritage for tourism development.

Each of 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 (regional, businesses, communities, etc.) and grass-roots planning, historic, cultural, natural, 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.

Facts and Figures

The Impact of Heritage Areas on Pennsylvania’s Economy and Quality of Life

According to a 2009 report, Pennsylvania is the fourth leading state 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.

PRESS RELEASE: PA Heritage Areas Generate Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Economic Benefits, Support Thousands of Jobs

Other Resources

Download The Economic Impact of Pennsylvania Heritage Areas from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania

Download the Heritage Area Program White Paper