The Multi-State Highlands Region and the Pennsylvania Highlands
The Four State Highlands Region
Just beyond the eastern seaboard where large cities and suburbs merge into the nation’s most densely populated region, over three million acres of forested ridges, fertile farmland, streams, lakes and reservoirs form the regional landscape called the Highlands. Stretching from northwestern Connecticut across the Lower Hudson Valley of New York, through northern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania, on to the Maryland state line, the Highlands region represents a modern-day frontier between the Appalachian Mountains and the urban lands along the Atlantic Coast. In 2004, the 108th Congress passed the Highlands Conservation Act in part to “recognize the importance of the water, forest, agricultural, wildlife, recreational, and cultural resources of the Highlands region, and the national significance of the Highlands region to the United States.”
The Highlands have provided essential goods and resources needed to ensure the survival and economic property of the 25 million people who live within an hour’s drive of the four state region. As the backyard for the nearby urban complex this region continues to supply communities with clean drinking water, critical wildlife habitat, impressive recreation and tourism opportunities, and distinctive places to live. The Highlands Region hosts more than 14 million recreation visits annually, more than Yellowstone National Park.
The careful protection, management, and use of the natural resources located in this nationally significant region are essential for the long-term sustainability of both nature and the cities in which we live.
The Pennsylvania Highlands
The Pennsylvania Highlands is a 13-county, 1.4 million acre region within easy reach of millions of residents from Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Pottstown, the Lehigh Valley, and Harrisburg.This juxtaposition makes the Highlands increasingly valuable, both economically and aesthetically. Sparking streams, quality drinking water outstanding recreational opportunities, critical habitat, tourism, productive farms and forests and rural community character – these qualities make the Pennsylvania Highlands a unique place.