Community-Led Conservation and Development

National Heritage Areas are places where historic, cultural, and natural resources combine to form cohesive, nationally important landscapes.  Unlike national parks, National Heritage Areas are large lived-in landscapes. Consequently, National Heritage Areas entities collaborate with communities to determine how to make heritage relevant to local interests and needs.

In 1984, the first National Heritage Area, Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Area, was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. In his dedication speech, Reagan referred to National Heritage Areas "a new kind of national park" that married heritage conservation, recreation, and economic development.  Today, the program includes 49 National Heritage Areas across the country. 

Heritage Areas 101: What is a NHA?

Heritage Areas 101: What is a NHA?

Learn more about National Heritage Areas and the NPS National Heritage Area Program.

National Heritage Areas FAQs

National Heritage Areas FAQs

Get answers to frequently asked questions about National Heritage Areas and the NPS National Heritage Areas Program.

Last updated: March 21, 2017

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