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Explore NEPA’s Heritage Areas with Pennsylvania Environmental Council image
May 02, 2024
Explore NEPA’s Heritage Areas with Pennsylvania Environmental Council

DiscoverNEPA is partnering with Pennsylvania Environmental Council, a nonprofit that protects and restores the natural and built environments to improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians. Keep an eye on this series for updates on PEC projects, volunteer opportunities, Tail on the Trail activities and so much more.

NEPA’s Rich History on Display at Four Unique Heritage Areas

Image courtesy of PA Dept. Of Conservation & Natural Resources.


Pennsylvania is home to deeply rooted history, fun and important cultural celebrations, and some of the most diverse natural landscapes and outdoor recreation opportunities, and plenty of passionate people ready to share their region’s story. Heritage areas are places where these combined attributes form a united region that is bound by that similar resource, and community eager to educate the public about their local assets. There are 62 National Heritage Areas recognized by the National Park Service, and 7 of those are located in Pennsylvania. The state of Pennsylvania also recognizes unique heritage areas through DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.   DCNR recognizes 12 unique heritage regions in Pennsylvania, 4 of which are right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.


PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor


Photo courtesy of Endless Mountains Heritage Region.


Stretching 400 miles East and West across the entire Northern length of the state is the Pennsylvania Route 6 Heritage Corridor which traverses the 11 counties of Crawford, Erie, Warren, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Bradford, Wyoming, Lackawanna, Wayne, and Pike. The Heritage Corridor works to preserve historic Route 6, the nation’s first transcontinental highway, and to develop the small communities along its path.

The PA Route 6 Alliance is a nonprofit organization that manages this heritage Corridor and works to join the 11 counties by this shared resource to ensure a cohesive brand identity across the heritage area. They also offer several programs to improve the appeal of small towns for outdoor recreation, such as their bike friendly business program and their Façade program, both providing funding to local business owners for revitalization related infrastructure. Their Artisan Trail Map is a great visual to see all of the attractions within the Great Lakes, PA Wilds, Upstate & Endless Mountains, and Pocono Mountains. This map highlights something for everyone, from museums and tours, to restaurants, and even some festivals and craft shows. You won’t be surprised to hear that the route was named “One of America’s most scenic drives” by National Geographic Travel!


Endless Mountains Heritage Region


Photo courtesy of Endless Mountains Heritage Region.


The Endless Mountains Heritage Region is a nonprofit serving 4 counties in NEPA, Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Wyoming, all home to various landscapes and small-town hospitality. Although the EMHR is listed as a State Heritage Area, they are currently pursuing National Heritage Area Status to recognize the importance of the rural charm of the Endless Mountains and embracing the idea of “living with the land.”

The Endless Mountains Heritage Region is home to an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities. The organization serves as a water trail manager for the 2023 River of the year, the Upper North Brand Susquehanna River Water Trail. They are also home to one of the newest State Park’s, Vosburg Neck State Park, and one of the newest tracts of Pinchot Forest. In celebration of all of this excitement, the Endless Mountains Heritage Region will also be home to this year’s Eastern PA Greenways and Trails Summit. The diversity of the land invites everyone to get outside and do what they love, and there are plenty of year-round recreational opportunities to take part in!


Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area



The Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area spans across more than just Scranton – it also includes the entire Lackawanna River watershed in Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Luzerne Counties. The heritage area is managed by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority.

The Heritage Valley has put a significant amount of effort into preserving their Natural areas. One of their assets, the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, takes you through the densely forested mountains as it flows alongside the Lackawanna River. This vast

70-mile trail includes the 36-mile Delaware and Hudson Rail-Trail and connects more than 30 communities. The Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority is also working hard to implement other recreational opportunities, like their handicap accessible fishing pier in Archbald and their non-motorized boat launches along the river. This National Heritage Corridor also offers unique experiences that combine their historic resources with their natural ones, including bike train excursions and a BikeShare program.


Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor



Home to one of our favorite trails and our partner in the Get Your Tail on the Trail program, the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor connects 165 miles of natural beauty and history between Wilkes-Barre and Bristol. The Corridor has a rich industrial heritage and remnants of the old canal and railbed can be found along the route.

One of the three distinct regions of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor is right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania and is known as the Anthracite Region. This section of the corridor spans from Wilkes-Barre to Lehigh Gap. Carbon county has a complete and continuous section of the D&L Trail and it also travels through Lehigh Gorge State Park. Sections are currently being developed in Luzerne County and one day the Northern end of the trail will connect into Downtown Wilkes-Barre.