Who We Are
Susquehanna National Heritage Area is a regional non-profit organization and Congressionally-designated coordinating entity for America’s 55th National Heritage Area. We collaborate with local, state and national partners to connect people to the nationally important places and stories of Lancaster and York Counties in South Central Pennsylvania. Our work focuses on the cultural and natural resources of the Susquehanna River and the ribbon of scenic and historic landscapes and communities along its shores.
Susquehanna National Heritage Area is based at the Zimmerman Center for Heritage, an historic home on the river near Wrightsville. We also manage the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center, a visitor education center on the waterfront in Columbia. We are part of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas and HeritagePA, the statewide network of officially designated Pennsylvania Heritage Areas.
Since our original designation as a Pennsylvania Heritage Area in 2001, Susquehanna Heritage has helped secure over $3 million in local public support, $12 million in state and federal grants, and $4 million in private giving for heritage, conservation, and tourism development efforts in Lancaster and York Counties.
Our Vision & Mission
Vision – The Susquehanna National Heritage Area is regarded across the nation as a place with a unique identity where people and communities cultivate their connections with each other, the landscape, and their history.
Mission – The Susquehanna National Heritage Area connects the people and communities of Lancaster and York Counties to one another and to the nation through stories about this nationally important place. The National Heritage Area welcomes visitors, cultivates partnerships, and nurtures a strong regional identity.
Our Strategic Focus
Our programs and projects focus on Tourism Development that increases the visibility and readiness of our National Heritage Area as a visitor destination and Placemaking that enhances the quality and appeal of our area’s special places and landscapes.
As a 501(c)3 non-profit group, Susquehanna National Heritage Area operates according to an annual budget, financial plan and auditing process. We fund our work through cooperative agreements and grants from public agencies and foundations, along with private contributions from generous donors who value the historic and natural wonders of our region.
SNHA was founded as a non-profit organization with a two-county Board of Directors after designation of Lancaster and York Counties as Pennsylvania’s 10th State Heritage Area in 2001. This designation resulted from an extensive, locally driven community involvement process that documented our region’s historical significance and community capacity to effectively support and manage Heritage Area activities. Originally known as Lancaster-York Heritage Region, we refocused our identity on the Susquehanna River beginning in 2009. With designation of both counties as America’s 55th National Heritage Area in early 2019, we became the Susquehanna National Heritage Area and now work with partners and communities both along and beyond the river.
Non-Discrimination & Equal Employment Opportunity
SNHA does not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, marital or familial status, political beliefs, disability, race or color, and all other categories protected by federal, state and local laws governing nondiscrimination. This policy applies to all projects, educational initiatives, volunteer programs and employment practices, including recruitment, employment, compensation and benefits, training, development, transfer and promotion, and all other terms and conditions of employment. SNHA will also make reasonable accommodations for the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or an employee unless undue hardship would result. SNHA respects and encourages diversity among its staff, Board of Directors, partners and volunteers and views their diversity as a strength.
Our Commitment to Racial Justice
In 2020, America once again faced the reality of systemic racism and violence against Black Americans in the wake of George Floyd’s horrible murder by a police officer in Minneapolis. The passionate protests and calls for change flowing from this tragedy roiled people and places across the nation and the world. In response, SNHA engaged our staff and Board to assess and update our policies and practices to ensure justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in our programs, projects, and leadership. We look forward to working with our community and partners to ensure that our organization promotes racial justice and celebrates cultural diversity. Review the SNHA President’s full message at the link below.
Originally posted June 2020 / Updated August 2023