A national heritage area has a distinctive history and geography, nationally important resources, and a story of broad interest to tell.
The United States Congress officially designates national heritage areas and funds them through the National Park Service budget. There are 49 designated heritage areas. Though the National Park Service provides technical expertise, the work and success of national heritage areas lies squarely with the citizens of the area. Heritage areas may be developed around a common theme or industry that influenced the culture and history of the region.