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Publication Date




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7262 (1-17)


National Heritage Areas (NHAs) are nationally distinct landscapes that represent unique cultural, historical, and/or natural attributes significant to the legacy of the United States of America (U.S.). The Great Dismal Swamp, located in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, is a prime candidate for NHA designation with diverse qualifications, among which was its antebellum role as a refuge for formerly enslaved people. The goal of our research, conducted in 2022 during the period of the U.S. Congressional debate on designation, was to investigate and expound upon the rationale for NHA designation of the Swamp. To do so, we used a scoping review to explore a sample of existing literature focused on the Great Dismal Swamp. We found significant evidence to support the Great Dismal Swamp NHA designation. Now, in its final hours of federal review and ratification, the Great Dismal Swamp will likely become America’s next NHA and continue its legacy as a place for nature-based and heritage tourism, inspiration, and reflection on the strength of humans to live and resist against even the most arduous of external forces. Further, our work serves to illustrate the range of unique factors that can support similar designations throughout the U.S. and internationally.


© 2023 by the authors.

The article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

Data Availability

Article states: The data presented in this study are available on request from the corresponding author.

Original Publication Citation

Newton, M., Berry, C. J., Arrington, B., Wilson, N., McCormack, C., Wilcox, M., Barmoh, A., & Zajchowski, C. A. B. (2023). Making the case for the Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Area: A scoping review. Sustainability, 15(9), 1-17, Article 7262.