© Chesapeake Bay Program (Chesapeake)

Chesapeake: Important Heritage Resources


This map depicts local, state and federally designated sites, districts, parks, conservation areas, trails, byways and landscapes which collectively represent the important recognized heritage resources of the Chesapeake watershed.

Data Layer Description


Chesapeake Conservation Partnership


Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.


The map depicts important heritage features related to the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership long-term heritage conservation goal: “Protect the treasured landscapes of our collective heritage from development that would alter the scenery and character that conveys their importance - along our designated trails and scenic rivers and byways, at our parks, and throughout our state and national heritage areas, valued cultural landscapes and historic districts.”

The goal identifies numerous mappable aspects including both designated areas and the resource values on which they are based. Some of these are site specific and others span significant areas within a state or across state lines:

National Register of Historic Places: The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and administered by the National Park Service, the NRHP is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources. The dataset used for this map includes point data for public, NON-SENSITIVE OR RESTRICTED historic properties listed on the NRHP as of 2014; NRHP polygon data is not represented as this map uses updated NRHP historic district data to represent most polygons (see below). (Data source: National Park Service,

National Historic Landmarks: National Historic Landmarks (NHL) are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. Today, just over 2,500 historic places are designated nationwide. NHLs are one subset of resources listed in the NRHP and are represented as point data. (Data source: National Park Service NER 2016, based on 2014 NRHP data).

Historic Districts: This consists of historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places (see above) in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, West Virginia and District of Columbia. Datasets for other states will be added in the future as they become available. (Data sources: MD-- Maryland iMap; VA--VA Department of Historic Resources; WV--WV Division of Culture & History; PA--PA Historic and Museum Commission; NY--NYS Historic Preservation Office; DC--DC Historic Preservation Office; DE--DE Division of Cultural and Historical Affairs)

National Historic & Scenic Trails: The National Trails System is the network of scenic, historic, and recreation trails created by the National Trails System Act of 1968, as amended. These trails provide for outdoor recreation needs, promote the enjoyment, appreciation, and preservation of open-air, outdoor areas and historic resources, and encourage public access and citizen involvement. The dataset used for this map includes designated national historic trails and national scenic trails in the Chesapeake watershed: Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. (Data source: National Park Service.)

American Battlefield Protection Program Core Areas: The American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) promotes the preservation of significant historic battlefields associated with wars on American soil. The goals of the program are 1) to protect battlefields and sites associated with armed conflicts that influenced the course of our history, 2) to encourage and assist all Americans in planning for the preservation, management, and interpretation of these sites, and 3) to raise awareness of the importance of preserving battlefields and related sites for future generations.  The dataset used in this map includes ABPP core areas and does not include study areas. (Data Source: National Park Service).

National, State, and Local Parks and Publicly Managed Conservation Lands: This includes: local, state and national parks, state and national wildlife management areas and refuges, and state and national forests. (Data source: Chesapeake Bay Program, Chesapeake Bay Protected Lands Dataset of 2015-16)

State and National Scenic Byways: This includes designated scenic byways at the state and federal level. Generally, scenic byways help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads based on criteria at the state or federal level. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation recognizes certain roads as All-American Roads or National Scenic Byways based on one or more archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities. (Data sources: WV Dept. of Transportation, NY State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, VA Dept. of Transportation, DE Dept. of Transportation, MD State Highway Administration, Federal Highway Administration)

State Scenic Rivers: This includes state designated scenic rivers. Virginia, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania have such programs. There are no national wild and scenic rivers designated within the Chesapeake watershed. (Data sources: NY State Dept. of Transportation, VA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation, MD Dept. of Natural Resources, PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources)

National and State Heritage Areas: This includes designated state and national heritage areas. There are state heritage area programs in Maryland and Pennsylvania. There are all or parts of seven national heritage areas within the Chesapeake watershed. Generally, heritage areas are places where historic, cultural, and natural resources combine to form cohesive, state or nationally important landscapes. Unlike parks, heritage areas are large lived-in landscapes. (Data sources: MD State Heritage Areas from MD Department of Planning, Division of Historical and Cultural Programs; PA State Heritage Areas from PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; National Heritage Areas from National Park Service)

Appalachian Trail Landscape: Protecting land along the 2,200 mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) has been a priority since the Trail was established in 1923. In addition to protecting the Trail treadway, public and non-profit partners work to conserve landscapes along the Trail; this has resulted in a 250,000 acre greenway around the Trail that connects significant public lands in the eastern United States. The dataset included in this map was prepared by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and represents the natural, cultural, historic, scenic, recreational and community values associated with the Trail and the spine of the Appalachian Mountain Range. (Data sources: Appalachian Trail Conservancy, National Park Service.)

Pennsylvania Conservation Landscapes:  These areas recognized by the Commonwealth represent large regions working collaboratively to drive strategic investment and actions around sustainability, conservation, community revitalization, and recreational projects. Known as conservation landscapes, these collaborations are developing in landscapes where there are strong natural assets, local readiness and buy-in, and state-level investment support. (Data source: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.)

Maryland Rural Legacy Focal Areas: Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program provides funding to preserve large, contiguous tracts of land and to enhance natural resource, agricultural, forestry and environmental protection while supporting a sustainable land base for natural resource based industries. The program creates public-private partnerships among land trusts and local governments to determine the best way to protect the landscapes critical to the Maryland economy, environment and quality of life. (Data source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources.)

Important caveat: Datasets on many heritage resources included in this map are not fully complete. This map will be revised and updated as additional datasets become available.

How to get the data layer

Contact Jeff Allenby, Chesapeake Conservancy,

How you might make use of this data layer

This dataset shares important heritage features and landscapes for long-term conservation and preservation. This information may be useful in planning and supporting various collaborative heritage preservation efforts

How to get more information

For more information about the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership contact: John Griffin, Program Manager,

Access and use constraints

Attribution No Derivatives (BY-ND)


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