National Heritage Area

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Map of the National Heritage Areas in US as of 2009 Map of US NHA.gif
Map of the National Heritage Areas in US as of 2009

A National Heritage Area is a site designated by United States and intended to encourage historic preservation of the area and an appreciation of the history and heritage of the site. There are currently 55 National Heritage Areas, some of which use variations of the title, such as National Heritage Corridor. [1]


National Heritage Areas (NHAs) are not National Park Service units or federally owned or managed land. NHAs are administered by state governments or non-profit organizations or other private corporations, referred to as local coordinating entities. The National Park Service provides an advisory role and limited technical, planning and financial assistance.

NHAs are created by Congress. Each area has its own authorizing legislation and a set of unique resources and goals. Areas considered for designation must have specific elements. First, the landscape must be a nationally unique natural, cultural, historic, or scenic resource. Second, when the related sites are linked, they must tell a unique story about the U.S. [2]

The first NHA created, the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor, located in Illinois, was signed into legislation by President Ronald Regan on August 21, 1984.

The John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019 laid out procedures for planning and management of NHAs and designated six new NHAs.

List of National Heritage Areas

There are 55 National Heritage Areas, listed below with their respective local coordinating entity:

See also

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Blackstone Valley

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Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor

The Delaware & Lehigh Canal National and State Heritage Corridor (D&L) is a 165-mile (266 km) National Heritage Area in eastern Pennsylvania in the United States. It stretches from north to south, across five counties and over one hundred municipalities. It follows the historic routes of the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad, Lehigh Valley Railroad, the Lehigh Navigation, Lehigh Canal, and the Delaware Canal, from Bristol to Wilkes-Barre in the northeastern part of the state. The backbone of the Corridor is the 165-mile (266 km) D & L Trail. The Corridor's mission is to preserve heritage and conserve green space for public use in Bucks, Northampton, Lehigh, Carbon, and Luzerne counties in Pennsylvania. It also operates Hugh Moore Historical Park & Museums, which includes the National Canal Museum.

Blackstone River Greenway

The Blackstone River Greenway is a partially completed 48-mile (77 km) paved rail trail defining the course of the East Coast Greenway through the Blackstone Valley from Worcester, Massachusetts to Providence, Rhode Island.

Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park

The Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park is a part of the state park system of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). This 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) park "recalls the role of canals in transporting raw materials and manufactured goods between emerging industrial centers." The Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park at Uxbridge, Massachusetts, is the midpoint of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor of the National Park System. The Blackstone River and Valley is where the industrial revolution was born in America. The southern entrance to this state park is the site of the historic Stanley Woolen Mill, currently being redeveloped for commercial and tourism. The Native American Nipmuc name for the village here was "Wacentug", translated as "bend in the river".

West Hill Dam

West Hill Dam Reserve is a United States Army Corps of Engineers flood control project with a recreational park and wildlife management area located at Uxbridge, Massachusetts. The West Hill Dam Project was completed in 1960. It is located on the West River, one of the branches of the Blackstone River which flows from Worcester, MA to Providence, RI. The West River originates in Grafton, Massachusetts, at Cider Mill Pond and Silver Lake, near Upton, Massachusetts, and the Upton State Forest. The dam is unusual in that it isn't filled unless there is a flood. West Hill Dam was built after devastating floods during the 1950s; it is intended to protect the Blackstone Valley from future destructive flooding. The cities and towns downriver from Uxbridge, including Millville, Blackstone, Woonsocket, North Smithfield, Cumberland, Lincoln, Central Falls, Pawtucket and Providence, Rhode Island, suffered extensive flooding from the Blackstone during Hurricane Diane in 1955. Hurricane Donna tested this new dam in 1960 as the eyewall passed over. The West Hill Dam is located in the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor near the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park. Park rangers provide visitor assistance and offer scheduled interpretative programs. Fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing opportunities are available year-round. The park has a recreation area, 34 picnic sites, one playground, a swimming area and five miles of hiking trails. However, access to the park from West Hill Road is currently blocked as of 2021 because of landowner disagreements. West Hill Dam is also the field office for the Charles River Natural Valley Storage Area. It consists of scattered wetlands in the upper and middle Charles River watershed, between the towns of Bellingham and Needham. The wetlands provide flood storage area, fisheries, wildlife management, and recreation. The Charles River is the well-known watercourse that flows into Boston Harbor.

Ohio River Trail

The Ohio River Trail (ORT) is composed of two entities, the Ohio River Water Trail and the Ohio River Greenway Trail. The Ohio River Greenway Trail is a proposed route that would interconnect existing trails in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. The proposal is spearheaded by the Ohio River Trail Council (ORTC), a volunteer-led, non-profit organization. The ORTC is an Internal Revenue Service registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization which relies on corporate, foundation, government, and private grants and donations to achieve its stated mission of creating a multi-use trail along the Ohio River and its tributaries. The Council is headquartered in Monaca, Pennsylvania.

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor National Heritage Area in New York State, US

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is a National Heritage Area in New York State.

Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor

The Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor is a federal National Heritage Area in the United States, representing the significant story of the Gullah-Geechee people for maintaining their cultural traditions, and for being a reflection of the values of ingenuity, pride, and perseverance. The intent of the designation is to help us to preserve and interpret the traditional cultural practices, sites, and resources associated with Gullah-Geechee people. Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, and the federal Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission established to oversee it, were designated by an act of Congress on October 12, 2006 through the National Heritage Areas Act of 2006.

The Ohio and Erie Canalway National Heritage Area is a federally designated National Heritage Area in northeastern Ohio that incorporates the routes of the Ohio and Erie Canal, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, and portions of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.The heritage area follows the path of the canal along the Cuyahoga River for 110 miles (180 km) from Cleveland through Akron and Massillon to New Philadelphia, while the railway runs from Cleveland to Akron to Canton.

New York State Canalway Trail Recreation trails along the NY State Canal System

The New York State Canalway Trail is a network of multi-use trails that runs parallel to current or former sections of the Erie, Oswego, Cayuga-Seneca, and Champlain canals. When completed, the system will have 524 miles (843 km) of trails following current and former sections of the canals. The longest of these is the 365 miles (587 km) long Erie Canalway Trail. The Erie and Champlain Canalway Trails are also part of the statewide Empire State Trail system.

Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park National Park Service unit in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, United States

Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park is a National Park Service unit in the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The park was created for the purpose of preserving, protecting, and interpreting the industrial heritage of the Blackstone River Valley and the urban, rural, and agricultural landscape of that region. The Blackstone River Valley was the site of some of the earliest successful textile mills in the United States, and these mills contributed significantly to the earliest American Industrial Revolution. The subsequent construction of the Blackstone Canal, a few years after the successful completion of the Erie Canal, helped to sustain the region's industrial strength.


  1. "National Heritage Areas Contact Information". National Park Service. November 2010. (which serves as an official list of all 55 National Heritage Areas)
  2. NPS FAQ