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More than any other initiative affiliated with the National Park Service (NPS), the National Heritage Areas (NHA) program has emphasized preservation of sites associated with industrial heritage. Of the close to 400 NPS units, only a handful of locations focus specifically on stories and places associated with labor, while the majority of NHAs take this theme as a critical part of their mission. Whether textiles, railroads, coal, automobiles or steel, heritage areas have played a key role in protecting, interpreting and, when appropriate, imaginatively adapting landscapes linked to the history of work. This paper will examine the central role that industry has played in the designation and management of heritage areas, using specific examples from NHAs in Pennsylvania, with an emphasis on how the landscape-scale approach associated with the program has allowed for the implementation of innovative interpretive, preservation and conservation strategies.



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