Columbia, PA (June 11, 2019) – Separated by the vast Susquehanna River, residents of York and Lancaster Counties in Pennsylvania are known for having a (mostly friendly) rivalry. But neither river nor rivalry stopped locals from joining state and national representatives last week to celebrate the creation of the Susquehanna National Heritage Area (Susquehanna NHA), a union of the two counties that recognizes their important history, culture, and natural landscapes.
Susquehanna NHA is one of six new NHAs designated by Congress and signed into law in March 2019. It covers all of York and Lancaster counties, with the Susquehanna River at its heart. The designation reflects the nationally significant history of the region, including its American Indian heritage and its role as the country’s temporary capital during the American Revolution.
This region was first designated as a state heritage area in 2001. Since then, it has been managed by Susquehanna Heritage, the nonprofit organization that will manage the new NHA. Already well acquainted with the National Park Service, Susquehanna Heritage runs the Zimmerman Center for Heritage, which serves as an official visitor contact station for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.
Last week’s celebration was held at Columbia Crossing River Trails Center, Susquehanna Heritage’s other visitor center. Prior to the event, several speakers rode on a pontoon boat across the river from the Zimmerman Center in York County to Columbia Crossing in Lancaster County. The event then took place outdoors with a spectacular view of the river and the historic Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge. Speakers included local and state officials, Regional NHA Program Manager Peter Samuel of the National Park Service, US Senator Bob Casey, and US Congressman Lloyd Smucker.
“We’re excited to have Susquehanna NHA join the family of 55 National Heritage Areas across the country,” said Samuel. “Susquehanna Heritage already has numerous successful partnerships in place, and together they have been accomplishing great things. We look forward to supporting their efforts to protect and promote the nationally important resources of the Lower Susquehanna Valley.”
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