As president of the Susquehanna Heritage, Mark Platts has many stories to tell about the Susquehanna River.
“It has determined the history of Lancaster and York,” Platts said. “It’s determined the history of Pennsylvania.”
The river is the main attraction of the recently named Susquehanna National Heritage Area. The designation of parts of Lancaster and York counties as a National Heritage Area by Congress allows for federal money to boost tourism.
“I think we’re going to be on the national map even more than we have been in the past,” Platts said. “I know Lancaster County’s Amish community and that landscape have traditionally been a very big tourist attraction, but the Susquehanna River and so many of the other stories of Lancaster and York that are nationally significant haven’t been as highlighted as much.”
Platts said one possibility for the use of the money they’re looking at involves more boat tours of the river.
Republican congressman Lloyd Smucker was a driving force for the title. He says the designation should also bring jobs.
“As more people find out about those areas, that drives more tourism and more economic activity,” Smucker stated. “We are already seeing some of that.”
It’s possible that up to $300,000 of federal money is pumped into the area every year.