PASSED: Smucker’s Bill to Preserve Susquehanna Valley Approved by House

June 5, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker’s (PA-16) legislation – the Susquehanna National Heritage Area Act – that would designate Lancaster and York Counties a National Heritage Area (NHA).

“I’m thrilled for the residents of the Susquehanna Valley that this legislation is now another step closer to becoming law,” said Rep. Smucker. “This designation would help us maintain our safe and clean environment, attract more visitors, stimulate our local economy, and preserve natural resources and historical landmarks. This bill is the result of a collaborative effort, driven by constituents, and I’m glad to have the support of many in our community who want to support and promote our region of the commonwealth. I encourage the Senate – where this legislation has been introduced five times – to get this legislation to President Trump’s desk on behalf of the people and communities we represent.”

“Heritage Areas have been, for us, somewhat problematic,” said House Committee on Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop.The chairman continued, “in each of these areas, Mr. Smucker has done an incredibly good job to make sure those problems will not exist… So what Mr. Smucker has done here is a Heritage Area done the right way for the purpose and the right intent.”

Click here to watch Rep. Smucker's and Chairman Bishop's remarks on the House floor.

“This is a great milestone towards the National Heritage Area designation of Lancaster and York Counties,” said Susquehanna Heritage President Mark Platts. “We appreciate Congressman Smucker’s leadership in getting this bill through the U.S. House of Representatives. The Susquehanna National Heritage Area will honor our region’s place in American history, harness the economic power of visitors, grow business, and create jobs in our communities.”

The Susquehanna National Heritage Area Act passed out of the House Committee on Natural Resources on April 18 with unanimous, bipartisan support.

When testifying to the committee, Columbia, Pennsylvania Mayor Leo Lutz said:

“Along the Susquehanna, a tradition of public and private collaboration has helped our region prosper from heritage and outdoor tourism. My town has positioned itself as a gateway to this activity, for we believe the river is our future as well as our past. A National Heritage area will greatly boost this progress and promote the Susquehanna as a destination for heritage and outdoor travelers, especially kids and families.”

The following local organizations support this National Heritage Area:

  • Amishview Inn & Suites/Miller’s Smorgasbord/Plain & Fancy Farm
  • Borough of Columbia
  • Bube’s Brewery
  • Colony Packaging & Machine
  • Downtown Inc.
  • Discover Lancaster
  • Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County
  • Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County
  • Historic York, Inc.
  • Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry
  • Lancaster County Board of Commissioners
  • Lancaster County Conservancy
  • Lancaster County Parks & Recreation
  • Lancaster County Planning Commission
  • Lancaster Farmland Trust
  • Landis Valley Museum
  • Long Level Marina
  • Northern York County Historical & Preservation Society
  • PPL Corporation
  • Pennsylvania State Grange
  • Preservation Pennsylvania
  • Rivertownes PA USA
  • Shank’s Mare Outfitters
  • Susquehanna Glass
  • Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • York County Board of Commissioners
  • York County Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • York County Department of Parks & Recreation
  • York County Economic Alliance
  • York County History Center


Courtesy of Susquehanna Heritage

What is a National Heritage Area?

National Heritage Areas (NHAs) 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 Goals 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.