National Park Service

Last updated

National Park Service
National Park Service arrowhead insignia
Guidon of the United States National Park Service.svg
Guidon of the National Park Service
Agency overview
FormedAugust 25, 1916;102 years ago (1916-08-25)
Jurisdiction United States federal government
Headquarters Main Interior Building
1849 C Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20240
Employees15,828 permanent, 1,256 term, 2,984 seasonal (2007)
Annual budget$2.924 billion (2009)
Agency executive
  • P. Daniel Smith, Acting in the Capacity of the Director
Parent agency Department of the Interior

The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. [1] It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act [2] and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management, while also making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment.

Federal government of the United States National government of the United States

The Federal Government of the United States is the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and several island possessions. The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the President, and the federal courts, respectively. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

National Park Service Organic Act

The National Park Service Organic Act is a United States federal law that established the National Park Service (NPS), an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The Act was signed into law on August 25, 1916, by President Woodrow Wilson, and is codified in Title 16 of the United States Code.


As of 2018, the NPS employs approximately 27,000 employees who oversee 419 units, of which 61 are designated national parks. [3]


In 1916, a portfolio of nine major parks was published to generate interest. Printed on each brochure was a map showing the parks and principal railroad connections. Natlparks and RRs 1916.jpg
In 1916, a portfolio of nine major parks was published to generate interest. Printed on each brochure was a map showing the parks and principal railroad connections.
In 1934, a series of ten postage stamps were issued to commemorate the reorganization and expansion of the National Park Service. USPS National Park Service 1934.jpg
In 1934, a series of ten postage stamps were issued to commemorate the reorganization and expansion of the National Park Service.

National parks and national monuments in the United States were originally individually managed under the auspices of the Department of the Interior. The movement for an independent agency to oversee these federal lands was spearheaded by business magnate and conservationist Stephen Mather, as well as J. Horace McFarland. With the help of journalist Robert Sterling Yard, Mather ran a publicity campaign for the Department of the Interior. They wrote numerous articles that praised the scenic and historic qualities of the parks and their possibilities for educational, inspirational, and recreational benefits. [4] This campaign resulted in the creation of a National Park Service. On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill that mandated the agency "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." [5] Mather became the first director of the newly formed NPS. [6]

Business magnate entrepreneur who has achieved wealth and prominence from a particular industry (or industries)

A business magnate or industrialist is an entrepreneur of great influence, importance, or standing in a particular enterprise or field of business. The term characteristically refers to a wealthy entrepreneur or investor who controls, through personal business ownership or dominant shareholding position, a firm or industry whose goods or services are widely consumed. Such individuals may also be called czars, moguls, proprietors, tycoons, taipans, barons, or oligarchs.

Conservation movement social and political advocacy for protecting natural resources

The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political, environmental, and social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including animal and plant species as well as their habitat for the future.

Stephen Mather American businessman

Stephen Tyng Mather was an American industrialist and conservationist who as president and owner of Thorkildsen-Mather Borax Company became a millionaire. With his friend and journalist Robert Sterling Yard, Mather led a publicity campaign to promote the creation of a unified federal agency to oversee National Parks administration, which was established in 1916. In 1917, Mather was appointed as the first director of the National Park Service, the new agency created within the Department of the Interior. He served until 1929, during which time Mather created a professional civil service organization, increased the numbers of parks and national monuments, and established systematic criteria for adding new properties to the federal system.

On March 3, 1933, President Herbert Hoover signed the Reorganization Act of 1933. The act would allow the President to reorganize the executive branch of the United States government. It wasn't until later that summer when the new President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, made use of this power. Deputy Director Horace M. Albright had suggested to President Roosevelt that the historic sites from the American Civil War should be managed by the National Park Service, rather than the War Department. President Roosevelt agreed and issued two Executive orders to make it happen. These two executive orders not only transferred to the National Park Service all the War Department historic sites, but also the national monuments managed by the Department of Agriculture and the parks in and around the capital, which had been run by an independent office. [7]

Herbert Hoover 31st president of the United States

Herbert Clark Hoover was an American engineer, businessman, and politician who served as the 31st president of the United States from 1929 to 1933. A member of the Republican Party, he held office during the onset of the Great Depression. Prior to serving as president, Hoover led the Commission for Relief in Belgium, served as the director of the U.S. Food Administration, and served as the 3rd U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Franklin D. Roosevelt 32nd president of the United States

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the Democratic party, he won a record four presidential elections and became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th century. Roosevelt directed the federal government during most of the Great Depression, implementing his New Deal domestic agenda in response to the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. As a dominant leader of his party, he built the New Deal Coalition, which realigned American politics into the Fifth Party System and defined American liberalism throughout the middle third of the 20th century. His third and fourth terms were dominated by World War II. Roosevelt is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in American history, as well as among the most influential figures of the 20th century. Though he has been subject to substantial criticism, he is generally rated by scholars as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents, along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Horace M. Albright American conservationist

Horace Marden Albright was an American conservationist.

In 1951, Conrad Wirth became director of the National Park Service and went to work on bringing park facilities up to the standards that the public expected. The demand for parks after the end of the World War II had left the parks overburdened with demands that could not be met. In 1952, with the support of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he began Mission 66, a ten-year effort to upgrade and expand park facilities for the 50th anniversary of the Park Service. New parks were added to preserve unique resources and existing park facilities were upgraded and expanded. [7]

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Dwight D. Eisenhower 34th president of the United States

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was an American army general and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he was a five-star general in the United States Army and served as supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe. He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–45 from the Western Front.

Mission 66 program to dramatically expand National Park Service visitor services

Mission 66 was a United States National Park Service ten-year program that was intended to dramatically expand Park Service visitor services by 1966, in time for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Park Service.

In 1966, as the Park Service turned 50 years old, emphasis began to turn from just saving great and wonderful scenery and unique natural features to making parks accessible to the public. Director George Hartzog began the process with the creation of the National Lakeshores and then National Recreation Areas.

George B. Hartzog Jr. American government official

George B. Hartzog Jr. was an American attorney and Director of the National Park Service. Admitted to the bar in South Carolina in 1942, he became an attorney for the General Land Office in the Department of the Interior in 1945, and six months later transferred to the National Park Service.

National Recreation Area type of protected area in the United States

A National Recreation Area (NRA) is a designation for a protected area in the United States.

National Park Service

Grand Canyon National Park, south rim of canyon. Grand Canyon South Rim Sunset.jpeg
Grand Canyon National Park, south rim of canyon.
A National Park Service MD 900 helicopter Md900-N368PA-hai-050208-01.jpg
A National Park Service MD 900 helicopter
NPS Preliminary Survey party, Great Smoky Mountains, 1931 NPS Preliminary Survey Personnel GSNP.jpg
NPS Preliminary Survey party, Great Smoky Mountains, 1931
Winter at the Gettysburg Battlefield Gettysburg entrance.JPG
Winter at the Gettysburg Battlefield

Since its inception in 1916, the National Park Service has managed each of the United States' national parks, which have grown in number over the years to 60.

Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the United States. In 1872, there was no state government to manage it, so the federal government assumed direct control. Yosemite National Park began as a state park; the land for the park was donated by the federal government to the state of California in 1864 for perpetual conservation. Yosemite was later returned to federal ownership.

At first, each national park was managed independently, with varying degrees of success. In Yellowstone, the civilian staff was replaced by the U.S. Army in 1886. Due to the irregularities in managing these national treasures, Stephen Mather petitioned the federal government to improve the situation. In response, Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane challenged him to lobby for creating a new agency, the National Park Service, to manage all national parks and some national monuments. Mather was successful with the ratification of the National Park Service Organic Act in 1916. [8] Later, the agency was given authority over other protected areas, many with varying designations as Congress created them.


Stephen Mather (center) and his staff, 1927 or 1928 NPS DirectorandStaff.jpg
Stephen Mather (center) and his staff, 1927 or 1928
Jon Jarvis, Former NPS Director Jon Jarvis Older 2009.jpg
Jon Jarvis, Former NPS Director
Name [9] Term of office
1 Stephen Mather May 16, 1917January 8, 1929
2 Horace M. Albright January 12, 1929August 9, 1933
3 Arno B. Cammerer August 10, 1933August 9, 1940
4 Newton B. Drury August 20, 1940March 31, 1951
5 Arthur E. Demaray April 1, 1951December 8, 1951
6 Conrad L. Wirth December 9, 1951January 7, 1964
7 George B. Hartzog Jr. January 9, 1964December 31, 1972
8 Ronald H. Walker January 7, 1973January 3, 1975
9 Gary Everhardt January 13, 1975May 27, 1977
10 William J. Whalen III July 5, 1977May 13, 1980
11 Russell E. Dickenson May 15, 1980March 3, 1985
12 William Penn Mott Jr. May 17, 1985April 16, 1989
13 James M. Ridenour April 17, 1989January 20, 1993
14 Roger G. Kennedy June 1, 1993March 29, 1997
15 Robert Stanton August 4, 1997January 2001
16 Fran P. Mainella July 18, 2001October 15, 2006
17 Mary A. Bomar October 17, 2006January 20, 2009 [10]
18 Jonathan Jarvis September 24, 2009January 20, 2017 [11]

National Park System

Customs House at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site in Salem, Massachusetts. Custom House - Salem, Massachusetts.JPG
Customs House at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site in Salem, Massachusetts.

The National Park System (NPS) includes all properties managed by the National Park Service (also, confusingly, "NPS"). The title or designation of a unit need not include the term park; indeed, most do not. The System as a whole is considered to be a national treasure of the United States, and some of the more famous national parks and monuments are sometimes referred to metaphorically as "crown jewels". [12] The system encompasses approximately 84.4 million acres (338,000 km²), of which more than 4.3 million acres (17,000 km²) remain in private ownership. The largest unit is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. At 13,200,000 acres (53,000 km²), it is over 16 percent of the entire system. The smallest unit in the system is Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, Pennsylvania, at 0.02 acre (80 m²).

In addition to administering its units and other properties, the National Park Service also provides technical and financial assistance to several "affiliated areas" authorized by Congress. The largest affiliated area is New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve at 1,164,025 acres (4711 km²). The smallest is Benjamin Franklin National Memorial at less than 0.01 acres (40 m2).

Although all units of the National Park System in the United States are the responsibility of a single agency, they are all managed under individual pieces of authorizing legislation or, in the case of national monuments created under the Antiquities Act, presidential proclamation. For example, because of provisions within their enabling legislation, Congaree National Park is almost entirely wilderness area devoid of development, yet Yosemite allows unique developments such as the Badger Pass Ski Area and the O'Shaughnessy Dam within its boundaries. Death Valley National Park has an active mine legislated within its boundaries. Such irregularities would not be found in other parks unless specifically provided for with exceptions by the legislation that created them.


For current specifics and a multitude of information, see the Quick Facts [13] section of the NPS website.

Area of land [14] 84,000,000 acres340,000 km2
Area of oceans, lakes, reservoirs [14] 4,502,644 acres18,222 km2
Length of perennial rivers and streams [14] 85,049 mi136,873 km
Archeological sites [14] 68,561
Length of shoreline [14] 43,162 mi69,463 km
Historic structures [14] 27,000
Objects in museum collections [14] 121,603,193
Trails12,250 mi19,710 km
Roads8,500 mi13,700 km


Most units of the National Park Service have been established by an act of Congress, with the president confirming the action by signing the act into law. The exception, under the Antiquities Act, allows the president to designate and protect areas as National Monuments by executive order. Regardless of the method used, all parks are to be of national importance. [15]

A potential park should meet all four of the following standards:

Special designations

Wilderness areas are covered by the US National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects federally managed lands that are of a pristine condition, established by the Wilderness Act (Public Law 88-577) in 1964. The National Wilderness Preservation System originally created hundreds of wilderness zones within already protected federally administered property, consisting of over 9 million acres (36,000 km²).

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) began with Executive Order 13158 in May 2000, when official MPAs were established for the first time. [16] The initial listing of U.S. areas was presented in 2010, consisting of areas already set aside under other legislation. The National Park Service has 19 park units designated as MPAs. [16]


As of 2016, the National Park Service has an annual budget of about $3 billion and an estimated $12 billion maintenance backlog. [17]

The National Park Services budget is divided into two primary areas, discretionary and mandatory spending. Within each of these areas, there are numerous specific purposes to which Congress directs the services activities. [18] The budget of the National Park Service includes discretionary spending which is broken out into two portions: the direct operations of the National Parks and the special initiatives. [19] Listed separately are the special initiatives of the service for the year specified in the legislation. For Fiscal Year 2010, the service has been charged with five initiatives. They include: Stewardship and Education; Professional Excellence; Youth Programs; Climate Impacts; and Budget Restructure and Realignment. [19]

Discretionary spending

NPS Operations of the National Parks budget from FY 2001-FY 2006 NPS Budget (2001-2006).jpg
NPS Operations of the National Parks budget from FY 2001-FY 2006

Discretionary spending includes the Operations of the National Parks (ONPS), from which all park operations are paid. The United States Park Police funds cover the high-profile law enforcement operations at some of the large parks; i.e., Gateway National Recreation Area, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and the National Mall. The National Recreation and Preservation Program and the Urban Park and Recreation Fund are outreach programs to support state and local outdoor recreational activities. [18]

The ONPS section of the budget is divided into five operational areas. These areas include:

Resource stewardship

These are funds and people directed towards the restoration, preservation, and maintenance of natural and cultural resources. The resource staff includes biologists, geologists, archeologists, preservation specialists and a variety of specialized employees to restore and preserve cultural buildings or natural features. [19]

Visitor services

Funds go towards providing for public programs and educational programs for the general public and school groups. This area is commonly staffed by park rangers, who are trained in providing walks, talks, and educational programs to the public. There is an increased number of media specialists, who provide for the exhibits along trails, roads and in visitor contact facilities, as well as the written brochures and web-sites. [19]

Park protection

This includes the staff responding to visitor emergencies (medical and criminal), and the protection of the park's natural and cultural resources from damage by those persons visiting the park. The staff includes park rangers, park police, criminal investigators, and communication center operators. [19]

Facility maintenance and operations

This is the cost of maintaining the necessary infrastructure within each park that supports all the services provided. It includes the plows and heavy equipment for road clearing, repairs and construction. There are buildings, trails, roads, docks, boats, utility pipes and wires, and a variety of hidden systems that make a park accessible by the public. The staff includes equipment operators, custodians, trail crews, electricians, plumbers, engineers, architects, and other building trade specialists. [19]

Park support

This is the staff that provides for the routine logistical needs of the parks. There are human resource specialists, contracting officers, property specialists, budget managers, accountants and information technology specialists. [19]

External administrative costs

These costs are bills that are paid directly to outside organizations as part of the logistical support needed to run the parks. It includes rent payments to the General Services Administration for building space; postage payments to the postal machine vendor, and other direct payments. [19]

Functional areaFY 2010 (in thousands) [19] [20] % of total
Resource stewardship$347,32815.3%
Visitor services$247,38610.9%
Park protection$368,69816.3%
Facility maintenance and operations$705,22031.1%
Park support$441,85419.5%
External administrative costs$155,5306.9%
Total (2010)$2,266,016

Park partnerships

These funds support the use of partnerships to achieve park preservation. 25 million dollars have been provided for FY 2010. These funds require matching grants from individuals, foundations, businesses, and the private sector. [19]

Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)

The LWCF supports Land Acquisition and State Conservation Assistance grant programs. The 2010 funds are the beginning of an incremental process to fully fund LWCF programs at $900 million. The Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service use these funds to purchase critical lands to protect existing public lands. Grants will be made to states and local communities to preserve and protect Civil War battlefield sites that are not part of the national park system. The NPS State Conservation Assistance program distributes funding to States for land preservation. [19]


This segment of the budget provides for the construction of new facilities or the replacement of aging and unsafe facilities. Additionally, there are funds in the recreation fees, park roads funding, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that provide for other specific facilities/infrastructure work. Additional funds come from the Federal Land Highway Administration for the construction and repair of Park roads. [19]

Historic preservation fund

As the nation's leader in cultural preservation, funds are provided for a variety of programs to meet these needs nationwide. Two specific programs include the Save America's Treasures and the Preserve America. The Historic Preservation Offices makes grants available to the States, territories, and tribal lands. [19]

National recreation and preservation

These funds go to local communities to preserve natural and cultural resources. Among the programs supported are the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance programs that promote community links to parks, natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation across America. [19]

Offsetting reductions and fixed costs in various accounts

Within this category are a number of one-time events, which are added or removed as the events require. Notably in the FY 2009 and FY 2010 is the removal of the costs for the presidential inaugural. Other savings are identified through reduced operational costs from energy-efficient retro-fitting and the demolition of structures beyond repair. [19]

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Otherwise known as "stimulus funds," the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides funds to restore and preserve major infrastructures within the national parks. [19]

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, is a $475.0 million proposal included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency budget. The park service will participate through the EPA in restoration activities in those parks that are within the watershed of the Great Lakes. Activities will include such actions as removal of dumps and fuel spills. Park will monitor mercury, lead, DDT, and other contaminants in six parks on the Great Lakes. [19] Work also includes the removal of invasive species and education on how to prevent their spread. There are YouTube videos about the work being done in this field. [21] [22]

Mandatory spending

Mandatory appropriations are those items created by other congressional legislation that must be paid for. They include the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program, which requires the distribution and expenditure of fees collected by the National Park Service. Other Permanent Appropriations includes special funding categories to non-profit and state entities, which have been assigned to the National Park Service to manage. Miscellaneous Trust Funds includes funding sources that have been created by the federal government or private citizen, where the National Park Service or a specific park have been identified as the beneficiaries. And there is also the L&WCF Contract Authority which is the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a congressionally created source of revenues, managed by the National Park Service. [18]

Employees and volunteers

Annually, the NPS employs over 20,000 Americans with an additional 221,000 Volunteers-In-Parks who contribute about 6.4 million hours annually. [23]

Economic benefits

The National Park Service affects economies at national, state, and local levels. According to a 2011 Michigan State University report prepared for the NPS, for each $1 invested in the NPS, the American public receives $4 in economic value. In 2011, national parks generated $30.1 billion in economic activity and 252,000 jobs nationwide. Thirteen billion of that amount went directly into communities within 60 miles of a NPS unit.In a study conducted in 2017, the National Park Service found that 331 million park visitors spent $18.2 billion in local areas around National Parks across the nation. This spending helped support 306 thousand jobs. The NPS expenditures supported $297 million in economic output in Missouri alone. [24]


The National Park Service uses over 20 different titles for the park units it manages, including national park and national monument [25] .

Classification as of 2009 [26] NumberAreaVisitors [27]
National Military Park (9), National Battlefield Park (4), National Battlefield Site (1), and National Battlefield (11)2571,502.49 acres (289 km2)8,360,261
National Historical Park (52), National Historic Site (77), and International Historic Site (1)130228,260.60 acres (924 km2)34,407,217
National Lakeshore 3228,995.14 acres (927 km2)3,728,821
National Memorial 2910,588.45 acres (43 km2)30,559,258
National Monument 872,027,864.58 acres (8,206 km2)22,646,428
National Park 6152,095,045.71 acres (210,821 km2)62,950,968
National Parkway 4177,339.69 acres (718 km2)29,948,911
National Preserve (19) and National Reserve (2)2124,191,311.63 acres (97,899 km2)2,956,325
National Recreation Area 183,700,277.20 acres (14,974 km2)50,645,414
National River (5) and National Wild and Scenic River and Riverway (10)15746,262.99 acres (3,020 km2)5,999,161
National Scenic Trail 3239,659.27 acres (970 km2)not available
National Seashore 10595,013.55 acres (2,408 km2)17,920,507
Other Designations1136,826.96 acres (149 km2)11,156,670
Totals41784,331,948.26 acres (341,279 km2)320,309,151

National Parks preserve nationally and globally significant scenic areas and nature reserves.

National Monuments preserve a single unique cultural or natural feature. Devils Tower National Monument was the first in 1906.

National Historic Sites protect a significant cultural resource that is not a complicated site. Examples of these types of parks include Ford's Theatre National Historic Site and William Howard Taft National Historic Site.

National Historical Parks are larger areas with more complex subjects. Appomattox Court House National Historical Park was created in 1940. George Rogers Clark National Historical Park was dedicated in 1936. Historic sites may also be protected in national parks, monuments, seashores, and lakeshores.

National Military Parks, Battlefield Parks, Battlefield Sites, and Battlefields preserve areas associated with military history. The different designations reflect the complexity of the event and the site. Many of the sites preserve important Revolutionary War battles and Civil War battlefields. Military parks are the sites of larger actions, such as Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Vicksburg National Military Park, Gettysburg National Military Park, and Shiloh National Military Park—the original four from 1890. Examples of battlefield parks, battlefield sites, and national battlefields include Richmond National Battlefield Park, Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site, and Antietam National Battlefield.

National Seashores and National Lakeshores offer preservation of the national coast line, while supporting water–based recreation. Cape Hatteras National Seashore was created in 1937. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, created in 1966, were the first national lakeshores.

National Rivers and Wild and Scenic Riverways protect free-flowing streams over their length. The riverways may not be altered with dams, channelization, or other changes. Recreational pursuits are encouraged along the waterways. Ozark National Scenic Riverways was established in 1964.

National Recreation Areas originally were units (such as Lake Mead National Recreation Area) surrounding reservoirs impounded by dams built by other federal agencies. Many of these areas are managed under cooperative agreement with the National Park Service. Now some national recreation areas are in urban centers, because of the recommendations of a Presidential commission, the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission (ORRRC). These include Gateway National Recreation Area and Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which encompass significant cultural as well as natural resources.

The National Trails System preserves long-distance routes across America. The system was created in 1968 and consists of two major components: National Scenic Trails are long-distance trails through some of the most scenic parts of the country. They received official protection in 1968. The Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail are the best known. National Historic Trails commemorate the routes of major historic events. Some of the best known are the Trail of Tears, the Mormon Trail, and the Santa Fe Trail. These trails are administered by several federal agencies.

National Preserves are for the protection of certain resources. Activities like hunting, fishing, and some mining are allowed. Big Cypress National Preserve and Big Thicket National Preserve were created in 1974 as the first national preserves.

National Reserves are similar to national preserves, but the operational authority can be placed with a local government. New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve was the first to be established in 1978. [28]


The National Park System receives over 280 million visits each year throughout the 413 units, [29] with over 307 million visitors in 2015. [30] Park visitation (recreational only) grew 64 percent between 1979 and 2015. [31]

The 10 most-visited units of the National Park System handle over 28 percent of the visits to the 413 park units. The top 10 percent of parks (41) handle 62.8 percent of all visits, leaving the remaining 372 units to accommodate 37.2 percent of visits. [31]

ParkRank [31] Visits
Blue Ridge Parkway 115,054,603
Golden Gate National Recreation Area 214,888,537
Great Smoky Mountains National Park 310,712,674
Lincoln Memorial 47,941,771
Lake Mead National Recreation Area 57,298,465
George Washington Memorial Parkway 67,286,463
Gateway National Recreation Area 76,392,565
Natchez Trace Parkway 85,785,812
Vietnam Veterans Memorial 95,597,077
Grand Canyon National Park 105,520,736

Overnight stays Over 15 million visitors spent a night in one of the National Park Units during 2015. The largest number (3.68 million) were tent campers. The second largest group (3.38 million) stayed in one of the lodges, followed by Miscellaneous stays (on boats, group sites—2.15 million). The last three groups of over-night visitors included RV Campers (2.26 million), Back country campers (2.02 million) and users of the Concession run campgrounds (1.42 million). [29] Previous years of statistics are below.

Park2010 Rank [29] 1994 Rank [29] 1979 Rank [29]
Tent campers
RV campers
Concession campers

Annually, visitors are surveyed for their satisfaction with services and facilities provided. [32]

Services Consistently, the highest ranked service has been Assistance from Park Employees (82% very good, 2007).

Facilities Among facilities, the park Visitor Centers obtain a consistent 70% very good rating (73% in 2007).

Youth programs

The National Park Service offers a variety of youth oriented programs. They range from the Web Ranger [33] on-line program to many programs in each National Park Unit. [34] The primary work opportunities for youth are through the Youth Corp networks.

The oldest serving group is the Student Conservation Association (SCA). It was established in 1957, committed to conservation and preservation. The SCA's goal is to create the next generation of conservation leaders. SCA volunteers work through internships, conservation jobs, and crew experiences. Volunteers conduct resource management, historic preservation, cultural resources and conservation programs to gain experience, which can lead to career development and further educational opportunities. The SCA places volunteers in more than 350 national park units and NPS offices each year. [35]

The Corps Network, formerly known as the National Association for Service and Corps (NASCC), represents 136 Service and Conservation Corps. These groups have programs in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Corpsmembers are between the ages of 16–25. Service and Conservation Corps are direct descendants of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) of the 1930s that built park facilities in the national parks and other public parks around the country. The Corps Network was established in 1985. [36]


Access Pass

The Access Pass offers free, lifetime admission to federal areas of the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Tennessee Valley Authority. [41]

Service Animals

Service animals are allowed in all facilities and on most trails, with the exceptions of stock trails and areas closed by the superintendent to protect park resources. Service animals must always be leashed. Service animals in training and pets are subject to other park regulations. When traveling with an animal, carry water, and allow for stops. Dispose of pet feces in a trash bin. [41]


The National Park System offers numerous accessible camping opportunities. In over 120 units, campgrounds have sites specifically designed for tent camper accessibility. Special camp sites are located near restrooms with paved walkways to and from the restroom and water sources. Sites have hardened tenting sites that provide for easy access, but allow for tents to be erected on soil. Many additional units have pull-through trailer sites, providing for motorized use, but may have limited access to the rest of the campground facilities. [42]


Many National Park units have fully accessible trails. Visitors should check the park's web-site to insure that the trail is designed to meet their individual needs. Trails may have a compacted gravel surface, paved with asphalt, or a board walk. Many will have guardrails, others may have a ridge along the edge, detectable by the visually impaired using a cane and capable of stopping a wheelchair. Many have no detectable edge when there is a stable surface. [43]


Parks that are known for their scenic vistas make them available through a variety of designs. Paved overlooks with accessible parking is the most common, and not always identified in written material. Road designs are configured to provide for mountain and landscape vistas from a vehicle. [44]

Additional information at "The Disabled Traveler's Companion". [45]

Controversy Regarding Accessibility

On October 24, 2017, Secretary of the Interior Zinke proposed large fee hikes at seventeen of the most visited national parks in order to address a backlog of maintenance at all national parks. [46] The National Park Service felt that these changes, which would increase entrance fees from $25 to $75, were appropriate because they only targeted the most popular parks, which already have entrance fees. [46] However, there was a nearly unanimous public backlash against this proposal; many families felt this would prohibit them from being able to visit the parks. [47] Further, there was concern that this hike would disproportionately affect low-income families, who are already underrepresented in visitation to national parks. [48] Additionally, many organizations working to increase access to nature for families of color, such as Latino Outdoors and African American Nature and Parks Experience, spoke out against these proposed fee hikes. [48] Altogether, more than 110,000 comments were posted on the National Park Service website, with 98% of them protesting this change. [49] Representative Raul Grijalva commented, “This is a prime example that activism works.” [49] In response to this strong public reaction, on April 12, 2018, Secretary Zinke released a statement replacing this plan with a more moderate proposal to raise prices incrementally across all parks with entrance fees. [50]


In an effort to increase visitation and allow for a larger audience to enjoy national park land, the National Park Service has numerous concession contracts with private businesses to bring recreation, resorts and other compatible amenities to their parks. NPS lodging opportunities exist at places such as the Wawona Hotel in Yosemite National Park and the Fort Baker Retreat and Conference Center in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Adaptive reuses like those at Fort Baker, have raised some controversy from concerns about the historical integrity of these buildings, after extensive renovations and whether such alterations fall within the spirit and/or the letter of the preservation laws they are protected by.[ citation needed ]

Litigation with Delaware North

In 2015, Delaware North sued the NPS in the United States Court of Claims for breach of contract, alleging that the NPS had undervalued its trademarks of the names of iconic Yosemite National Park concession facilities. [54] When it offered for bid the contract to operate these facilities, the National Park Service estimated the value of the intangible assets including the names "Ahwahnee," "Badger Pass," "Curry Village," and "Yosemite Lodge" at $3.5 million. Delaware North lost the contract, and asserted that the historic names were worth $51 million and maintained that the incoming concessioner had to be paid that amount. [55] The Justice Department and the NPS asserted that this was an "improper and wildly inflated" value. Rather than pay Delaware North's demanded valuation, in January 2016 the NPS instead opted to rename the famous landmarks, effective in March. The Ahwahnee Hotel is slated to become The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, Curry Village will become Half Dome Village, and the Wawona Hotel will become Big Trees Lodge. [56] Widespread public outcry focused on Delaware North's decision to claim ownership of names within a national park. [57]


At many Park Service sites a bookstore is operated by a non-profit cooperating association. The largest example is Eastern National, which runs bookstores in 30 states with 178 stores.

Park specific:


Depicts twelve figures, most in NPS uniforms, shown in occupations from left to right: a lifeguard, a Civil War reenactor, fire management, mounted patrol, researcher and/or natural resources with fish, a female ranger with two visitors, a laborer, a climber/rescuer, and a youth with a male ranger. NPS Employees 12 types of work 08368.jpg
Depicts twelve figures, most in NPS uniforms, shown in occupations from left to right: a lifeguard, a Civil War reenactor, fire management, mounted patrol, researcher and/or natural resources with fish, a female ranger with two visitors, a laborer, a climber/rescuer, and a youth with a male ranger.

Headquarters are located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in Anchorage, Atlanta, Lakewood, CO (Denver), Omaha, NE, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle. The headquarters building of the National Park Service Southwest Regional Office is architecturally significant and is designated a National Historic Landmark.

The National Park Service is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Director is nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. [58] The Director is supported by six senior executives. They manage national programs, policy, and budget from the Washington, DC, headquarters. Under the Deputy Director of Operations are seven regional directors, who are responsible for national park management and program implementation. Together this group is called the National Leadership Council. [59]

The national office is located in the Main Interior Building, 1849 C Street NW, several blocks southwest of the White House. The central office is composed of eleven directorates: Director/Deputy Directors; Business Services; Workforce Management; Chief Information Officer; Cultural Resources; Natural Resource Stewardship and Science; Office of the Comptroller; Park Planning, Facilities, and Lands; Partnerships and Visitor Experience; Visitor and Resource Protection; and the United States Park Police. [60]

Staff and volunteers


By the mid-1950s, the primary employees of the Service were the Park Rangers, who had broad responsibilities on the parks' behalf. They cleaned up trash, operated heavy equipment, fought fires, managed traffic, cleared trails and roads, provided information to visitors, managed museums, performed rescues, flew aircraft, and investigated crime. [61]

The National Park Service employs many kinds of workers, as shown below.

National Park Service employment levels. Executives: abt 27; Gen Sch: 16-17,000; Others: 6-7,000 NPS Staffing(1998-2009).JPG
National Park Service employment levels. Executives: abt 27; Gen Sch: 16–17,000; Others: 6–7,000

Locations are varied. Parks exist in the nation's larger cities like New York City (Federal Hall Memorial National Historic Site), Atlanta (Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site), and San Diego (Cabrillo National Monument) to some of the remotest areas of the continent like Hovenweep National Monument in southeastern Utah, to Aniakchak National Monument in King Salmon, Alaska. [63]

Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP)

The Volunteers-In-Parks program was authorized in 1969 by the Volunteers in the Parks Act of 1969. [64] for the purpose of allowing the public to serve in the nations parks providing support and skills for their enhancement and protection. [65]

Volunteers come from all walks of life and include professionals, artists, laborers, homemakers and students, performing varied duties. Many come from surrounding communities and some travel significant distances. [65] In a 2005 annual report, the National Park Service reported that,

...137,000 VIPs contributed 5.2 million hours of service (or 2500 FTEs) valued at $91,260,000 based on the private sector value figure of $17.55 as used by AARP, Points of Light Foundation, and other large-scale volunteer programs including many federal agencies. There are 365 separate volunteer programs throughout the National Park Service. Since 1990, the number of volunteers has increased an average of 2% per year. [66]

FTE stands for Full Time Equivalency or 1 work year. In 2012, the National Park Service reported that over 221,000 volunteers contributed about 6.4 million hours annually. [23]

Additionally, other types of volunteers also conduct offsite NPS public outreach and education, such as the Trails & Rails program guides on board certain segments of long-haul Amtrak routes, who offer passengers insights to the travel area's natural resources and heritage. [67] [68]


Across the nation, there are special opportunities for artists (visual artists, photographers, sculptors, performers, writers, composers, and crafts) to live and work in a park. Twenty-nine parks currently participate in the Artist-In-Residence program. [69]

Law enforcement

National Park Service patrol boat at Rock Harbor, Isle Royale National Park National Park Service patrol boat, Rock Harbor, Isle Royale National Park, Michigan.jpg
National Park Service patrol boat at Rock Harbor, Isle Royale National Park

The National Park Service commonly refers to law enforcement operations in the agency as Visitor and Resource Protection. There are several different types of law enforcement employees including Type I and Type II Law Enforcement Rangers and Special Agents. The United States Park Police is a unit of the National Park Service, with jurisdiction in all National Park Service areas and certain other Federal and State lands. Most Law Enforcement Rangers, Park Police Officers, and Special Agents receive their training through Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). Type II Law Enforcement Rangers receive their training through FLETC accredited Seasonal Law Enforcement Academies. [70]


There are several types of National Park Service jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is set by the enabling legislation for each individual unit of the NPS and is considered part of the Special Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction of the United States. Law enforcement on NPS lands with exclusive jurisdiction is solely conducted by NPS Law Enforcement Rangers (field officers) or the US Park Police. Many NPS units have concurrent jurisdiction and share law enforcement authority with their state and/or local county law enforcement agencies. Some National Park Service units have proprietary or partial jurisdiction where law enforcement authority for certain serious incidents lies with the state or county. [71] Most NPS units have memorandums of understanding with outside law enforcement agencies, so that policies are in place when and if outside agency assistance is needed.

NPS Photo of Badge worn by Chief Park Rangers US Chief Park Ranger Badge.jpg
NPS Photo of Badge worn by Chief Park Rangers

Law Enforcement Rangers

Uniformed Law Enforcement Rangers, Park Police Officers and Special Agents enforce Federal laws and regulations governing NPS lands and resources. These personnel can also enforce some or all state laws on NPS lands. As part of that mission, LEOs carry firearms, defensive equipment, make arrests, execute search warrants, complete reports and testify in court. They establish a regular and recurring presence on a vast amount of public lands, roads, and recreation sites. The primary focus of their jobs is the protection of natural resources, protection of NPS employees and the protection of visitors. [72] [73] To cover the vast and varied terrain under their jurisdiction, NPS employees use numerous types of vehicles, horses, aircraft, UTV/ATV's, snowmobiles, dirt bikes and boats. [74]

Special Agents

Special Agents are criminal investigators who plan and conduct investigations as part of the Investigative Services Branch (ISB) concerning possible violations of criminal and administrative provisions of the NPS and other statues under the United States Code and/or Code of Federal Regulations. Special agents can be uniformed or plain clothes officers. [75] Special Agents often carry concealed firearms, and other defensive equipment, make arrests, carry out complex criminal investigations, present cases for prosecution to U.S. Attorneys, and prepare investigative reports. Field agents travel a great deal and typically cover several NPS units and several states. Criminal investigators occasionally conduct internal and civil claim investigations. [76]

Laws enforced

Generally speaking the laws enforced on NPS lands are covered in Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations. The NPS also enforces United States Code. Title 16 of the United States Code, Title 18 of the United States Code and Title 21 of the United States Code are enforced most commonly. The National Park Service generally also has the authority to enforce any state law not covered already by federal laws under the Assimilative Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. § 13. However, by policy the National Park Service cannot charge violators with a state offense that has a harsher penalty than an equivalent federal law already on the books. Commissioned National Park Service employees must follow all policies outlined in DOI reference manuals and directors orders in performance of their duties. [77] [78]

Badge worn by USPP Officers US Park Police badge.gif
Badge worn by USPP Officers

United States Park Police

The United States Park Police (USPP) is the oldest uniformed federal law enforcement agency in the United States. It functions as a full service law enforcement agency with responsibilities and jurisdiction in those National Park Service areas primarily located in the Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and New York City areas. In addition to performing the normal crime prevention, investigation, and apprehension functions of an urban police force, the Park Police are responsible for policing many of the famous monuments in the United States and share law enforcement jurisdiction in all lands administered by the Service with a force of National Park Rangers tasked with the same law enforcement powers and responsibilities. [79]

Special divisions

Historic Preservation Training Center NPS Preservation Training Center.jpg
Historic Preservation Training Center

Other special NPS divisions include the Archeology Program, [80] Historic American Buildings Survey, National Register of Historic Places, National Natural Landmarks, the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, [81] the Challenge Cost Share Program, [82] the Federal Lands to Parks, [83] the Hydropower Relicensing Program, [84] the Land and Water Conservation Fund, [85] the National Trails System, [86] the Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers Program, [87] and the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division. [88]


The National Park Service operates four archeology-related centers: Harpers Ferry Center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, the Midwest Archeological Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Southeast Archeological Center in Tallahassee, Florida and the Western Archeological and Conservation Center in Tucson, Arizona. The Harpers Ferry Center specializes in interpretive media development and object conservation. The other three focus to various degrees on archaeological research and museum object curation and conservation.

National Park Service training centers include: Horace Albright Training Center, Grand Canyon; Stephen Mather Training Center, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; Historic Preservation Training Center, Frederick, Maryland and Capital Training Center, Washington, D.C.

The Submerged Resources Center is the unit responsible for inventory and evaluation of submerged resources throughout the National Park system. [89] The SRC is based out of the Intermountain Region's headquarters in Lakewood, Colorado. [89]

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, located in Natchitoches, Louisiana, conducts research and training in the fields of archeology, architecture, landscape architecture and materials conservation.

Preservation programs (HABS/HAER)
Photograph of El Santuario Del Senor Esquipula, Chimayo, New Mexico El Santuario del Senor Esquipula 113804pu.jpg
Photograph of El Santuario Del Señor Esquipula, Chimayo, New Mexico
LaSalle Street Bridge, Chicago, Illinois Chicago River Bascule Bridge, LaSalle Street, Chicago.jpg
LaSalle Street Bridge, Chicago, Illinois

The oldest federal preservation program, the Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER), produces graphic and written documentation of historically significant architectural, engineering and industrial sites and structures. Dating from 1934, the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) was chartered to document historic architecture—primarily houses and public buildings—of national or regional significance. Originally a New Deal employment/preservation program, after World War II, HABS employed summer teams of advanced undergraduate and graduate students to carry out the documentation, a tradition followed to this day. Many of the structures they documented no longer exist.

HABS/HAER produces measured drawings, large-format photographs and written histories of historic sites, structures and objects, that are significant to the architectural, engineering and industrial heritage of the U.S. Its 25,000 records are part of the Library of Congress. HABS/HAER is administered by the NPS Washington office and five regional offices. [90]

Historic American Buildings Survey
In 1933, the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, established the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), based on a proposal by Charles E. Peterson, Park Service landscape architect. It was founded as a make-work program for architects, draftsmen and photographers left jobless by the Great Depression. Guided by field instructions from Washington, D.C., the first recorders were tasked with documenting a representative sampling of America's architectural heritage. After 70 years, there is now an archive of historic architecture. HABS provided a database of primary source material for the then fledgling historic preservation movement.

Historic American Engineering Record
Recognizing a similar fragility in our national industrial and engineering heritage, the National Park Service, the Library of Congress and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) formed the HAER program in 1969, to document nationally and regionally significant engineering and industrial sites. A short while later, HAER was ratified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (AIME). HAER documentation, in the forms of measured and interpretive drawings, large-format photographs and written histories, is archivally preserved in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress, where it is readily available to the public. [91]

Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program
The RTCA program of the National Park Service is designed to assist local communities and the public in preservation of rivers, trails and greenways. Unlike the mainline National Park Programs, these programs take place on non-federal property at the request of the local community. One of their better known programs is Rails to Trails, where unused railroad right-of-ways are converted into public hiking and biking trails. [92]

National Trails System

The National Trails System is a joint mission of the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. It was created in 1968 to establish a system of long-distance National Scenic and National Historic Trails, as well as to recognize existing trails in the states as National Recreation Trails. Several additional trails have been established since 1968, and in 2009 Congress established the first National Geologic Trail. [93]

National Heritage Areas

National Heritage Areas are a unique blend of natural, cultural, historic, and scenic resources. Having developed out of a shared historic, they create a unique whole. Currently (2015) there are 49 designated heritage areas.

International affairs

World Heritage Sites
National Park Service US World Heritage tentative map j.jpg

World Heritage Sites have enough universally recognized natural and cultural features that they are considered to merit the protection of all the peoples in the world. The National Park Service is responsible for 16 of the 19 World Heritage Sites in the United States. [94]


"The national parks preserve all life," poster for National Park Service, 1940 Preservewildlifeb.jpg
"The national parks preserve all life," poster for National Park Service, 1940

Green Park Plan

In September 2010, the NPS released its Climate Change Response Strategy, followed in April 2012 by the Green Parks Plan. [107]

Climate Friendly Parks Program

The Climate Friendly Parks Program is a subset of the Green Parks plan. [107] It was created in collaboration between the National Park Service and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. [108] The program is meant to measure and reduce greenhouse gases to help slow the effects of climate change. Parks in the CFP program create and implement plans to reduce greenhouse gases through reducing energy and water use. Facilities are designed and retrofitted using sustainable materials. Alternative transportation systems are developed to reduce dependency on fossil fuels. [109] Parks in the program offer public education programs about how the parks are already affected. The program provides climate friendly solutions to the visiting public, like using clean energy, reducing waste, and making smart transportation choices. [110] The CFP program can provide technical assistance, tools and resources for the parks and their neighboring communities to protect the natural and cultural resources. [111]

The large, isolated parks typically generate their own electricity and heat and must do so without spoiling the values that the visitors have come to experience. Pollution is emitted by the vehicles used to transport visitors around the often-vast expanses of the parks. Many parks have converted vehicles to electric hybrids, and substitute diesel/electric hybrid buses for private automobiles. In 2001 it was estimated that replacement with electric vehicles would eliminate 25 TPY emissions entirely. [112]

In 2010, the National Park Service estimated that reducing bottled water could eliminate 6,000 tons of carbon emissions and 8 million kilowatt hours of electricity every year. The NPS Concessions office voiced concerns about concessions impacts. [113]

By 2014, 23 parks had banned disposable water bottles. [114] In 2015, the International Bottled Water Association stated the NPS was "leaving sugary drinks as a primary alternative", even though the Park Service provides water stations to refill bottles, "encouraging visitors to hydrate for free." The Water Association made the national parks one of its top lobbying targets and in July 2015 Rep. Keith Rothfus added a "last-minute" amendment into Congress's appropriations bill, blocking the National Park Service from funding or enforcing the program. [115] The National Park Service discontinued its ban on disposable water bottles in August 2017. [116]

See also






Other sources.

Related Research Articles

National Historic Site (United States) protected area in the United States

National Historic Site (NHS) is a designation for an officially recognized area of national historic significance in the United States. An NHS usually contains a single historical feature directly associated with its subject. A related but separate designation, the National Historical Park (NHP), is an area that generally extends beyond single properties or buildings, and its resources include a mix of historic and sometimes significant natural features.

State park protected area managed at the federated state level

State parks are parks or other protected areas managed at the sub-national level within those nations which use "state" as a political subdivision. State parks are typically established by a state to preserve a location on account of its natural beauty, historic interest, or recreational potential. There are state parks under the administration of the government of each U.S. state, some of the Mexican states, and in Brazil. The term is also used in the Australian state of Victoria. The equivalent term used in Canada, Argentina, South Africa and Belgium, is provincial park. Similar systems of local government maintained parks exist in other countries, but the terminology varies.

Park ranger profession

A park ranger, park warden, or forest ranger is a person entrusted with protecting and preserving parklands – national, state, provincial, or local parks. "Parks" may be broadly defined by some systems in this context, and include protected culturally or historically important built environments, and is not limited to the natural environment. Different countries use different names for the position. Warden is the favored term in Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Within the United States, the National Park Service refers to the position as a park ranger. The U.S. Forest Service refers to the position as a forest ranger. Other countries use the term park warden or game warden to describe this occupation. The profession includes a number of disciplines and specializations, and park rangers are often required to be proficient in more than one.

National Trails System

The National Trails System was created by the National Trails System Act, codified at 16 U.S.C. § 1241et seq.

National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 legislation intended to preserve historical sites in the United States of America

The National Historic Preservation Act is legislation intended to preserve historical and archaeological sites in the United States of America. The act created the National Register of Historic Places, the list of National Historic Landmarks, and the State Historic Preservation Offices.

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site place in Colorado listed on National Register of Historic Places

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site is a National Historic Site in Kiowa County, Colorado, near Eads and Chivington in Kiowa County commemorating the Sand Creek Massacre that occurred here on November 29, 1864. The site is about 170 miles (270 km) southeast of Denver and about 125 miles (200 km) east of Pueblo. A few basic park facilities have been opened at this site.

National Wilderness Preservation System

The National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) of the United States protects federally managed wilderness areas designated for preservation in their natural condition. Activity on formally designated wilderness areas is coordinated by the National Wilderness Preservation System. Wilderness areas are managed by four federal land management agencies: the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. The term "wilderness" is defined as "an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain" and "an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions." As of 2016, there are 765 designated wilderness areas, totaling 109,129,657 acres (44,163,205 ha), or about 4.5% of the area of the United States.

The Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service (HCRS) was an agency within the United States Department of the Interior which subsumed its functions from the National Park Service and Bureau of Outdoor Recreation. It was created under the Carter administration by order of the Secretary of the Interior on January 25, 1978. HCRS, a non-land managing agency, was responsible for assuring the identification, protection, and beneficial use of important cultural, natural, and recreational American resources. HCRS offered grant assistance, technical information and guidance to those in the public and private sectors involved in conservation or recreation projects. Under the Reagan administration the HCRS was abolished by Secretarial Order 3060 on February 19, 1981, and absorbed into the National Park Service.

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) preserves a series of sites between Atlanta and Lake Sidney Lanier along the Chattahoochee River, Georgia, U.S. The 48-mile (77 km) stretch of the river affords public recreation opportunities and access to historic sites. The National Recreation Area, a National Park Service unit, was established on August 15, 1978, by President Jimmy Carter.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the agency of the state of Michigan charged with maintaining natural resources such as state parks, state forests, and recreation areas. It is governed by a director appointed by the Governor and accepted by the Natural Resources Commission. Currently the Director is Keith Creagh. The DNR has about 1,400 permanent employees, and over 1,600 seasonal employees.

The History of the National Register of Historic Places began in 1966 when the United States government passed the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), which created the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Upon its inception, the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) became the lead agency for the Register. The Register has continued to grow through two reorganizations, one in the 1970s and one in 1980s and in 1978 the NRHP was completely transferred away from the National Park Service, it was again transmitted to the NPS in 1981.

The United States House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands is one of the five subcommittees within the House Natural Resources Committee

National Park Service ranger

National Park Service rangers are among the uniformed employees charged with protecting and preserving areas set aside in the National Park System by the United States Congress and the President of the United States. While all employees of the agency contribute to the National Park Service mission of preserving unimpaired the natural and cultural resources set aside by the American people for future generations, the term "park ranger" is traditionally used to describe all National Park Service employees who wear the uniform. Broadly speaking, all National Park Service rangers promote stewardship of the resources in their care - either voluntary stewardship via resource interpretation, or compliance with statute or regulation through law enforcement. These comprise the two main disciplines of the ranger profession in the National Park Service.

Youth Conservation Corps

The Youth Conservation Corps(YCC) is a summer youth work program in federally managed lands. The National Park Service, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management employ teens each summer to participate in the YCC. The YCC has introduced young Americans to conservation opportunities in public lands since the program was created in 1970. In the late seventies and early eighties the program included a grant-in-aid component that funded state and local YCC projects nationwide. This element fell to 1982 budget cuts, but several states continued the effort with their own funds. Some employees currently working in land management agencies were introduced to their profession through the YCC.

History of the National Park Service aspect of history

Since 1872 the United States National Park System has grown from a single, public reservation called Yellowstone National Park to include 418 natural, historical, recreational, and cultural areas throughout the United States, its territories, and island possessions. These areas include National Parks, National Monuments, National Memorials, National Military Parks, National Historic Sites, National Parkways, National Recreation Areas, National Seashores, National Scenic Riverways, and National Scenic Trails.

The U.S. National Park Service has a long history of specialized training needs. One of the service's earliest training programs was Ranger Skills, a nine-week course held at the Grand Canyon. Over the years, the variety of skills has increased and the bureau has created training centers to meet those needs.

National Heritage Site (United States)

A National Heritage Site in the United States is a location important to the cultural heritage of a particular state that has been promoted to national status, as well as sites that have been deemed nationally important by central heritage agencies.


  1. "A Brief History of the National Park Service". National Park Service. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  2. "The National Park Service Organic Act". National Park Service. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
  3. Budget Justifications and Performance Information, Fiscal Year 2014, National Park Service
  4. Sutter, p. 102
  5. Sutter, p. 104
  6. Albright, Horace M. as told to Robert Cahn; The Birth of the National Park Service; The Founding Years, 1913–33; Howe Brothers, Salt Lake City, Utah; 1985.
  7. 1 2 The National Parks: Shaping the System; National Park Service, Dept of the Interior; 1991; pg 24
  8. "National Park Service Organic Act". Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  9. "Directors of the National Park Service". National Park Service. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
  10. Press Release: Director Bomar To Retire On Tuesday; Dave Barna, Press Office, National Park Service; January 15, 2009
  11. Jonathan Jarvis Confirmed As Director, By Hugh Vickery, September 25, 2009.
  12. Lee, Ronald F.; Family Tree of the National Park System; Eastern National Parks, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1972; pg 9–12
  13. Archived March 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  14. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 National Park Service, 2008 Director's Report; National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior; Washington, D.C.; 2009
  15. Criteria for Parklands brochure; Department of the Interior, National Park Service; 1990
  16. 1 2 Federal Register, Vol. 75, No. 100; Tuesday, May 25, 2010; pg 29317
  18. 1 2 3 FY 2006 President's Budget, Executive Summary; National Park Service; Government Printing Office; February 7, 2005
  19. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Budget Justification and Performance Information, Fiscal Year 2010, National Park Service, The United States Department of the Interior, 2009
  20. Budget Justification and Performance Information, Fiscal Year 2010, National Park Service, The United States Department of the Interior, 2009 @
  21. Gr8LakesRestoration. YouTube. Retrieved on May 24, 2014.
  22. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 3, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  23. 1 2 "National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, (2012). NPS Overview".
  24. Yue, Cui; Mahoney, Ed; Herbowicz, Teresa (2013). "Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation – 2011" (PDF). United States. National Park Service, Department of the Interior. Washington, D.C.
  25. "National Park System (U.S. National Park Service)". May 14, 2018.
  26. The National Parks: Index 2009–2011, Official Index of the National Park Service, Government Printing Office, Washington D.C.; March 1, 2009
  27. "NPS Stats for 2009". Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  28. National Park Service: New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve. Retrieved September 2, 2010.
  29. 1 2 3 4 5 Butch Street. "Statistical Abstract 2010" (PDF). Natural Resource Data Series NPS/NRPC/SSD/NRDS—2011/147. National Park Service. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  30. "Annual Visitation Summary Report for: 2015". Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  31. 1 2 3 "NPS Reports". Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  32. The National Park or Parking System?. National Parks. July – August 2001. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  33. "Webrangers". Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  34. "NPS Youth Programs". Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  35. SCA [ dead link ]
  36. Corp Networks
  37. YCC Archived November 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  38. PLC Archived November 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  39. BSA in NPS Archived November 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  40. GSA in NPS Archived November 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  41. 1 2 Yosemite National Park Accessibility Guide; Merced, California
  42. "NPS Campground Accessibility". Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  43. "NPS Accessible trails". Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  44. "NPS Accessible Vistas". July 25, 2008. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  45. "National Park Service". Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  46. 1 2 "National Park Service Proposes Targeted Fee Increases at Parks to Address Maintenance Backlog 2 - Office of Communications (U.S. National Park Service)". Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  47. "Americans tell Interior to take a hike over proposed National Park fee increase". The Know. April 2, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  48. 1 2 "More Expensive National Parks May Threaten Access to Nature". October 25, 2017. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  49. 1 2 Fears, Darryl (April 12, 2018). "Public outrage forces Interior to scrap massive increase in park entry fees". Washington Post. ISSN   0190-8286 . Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  50. "National Park Service Announces Plan to Address Infrastructure Needs & Improve Visitor Experience - Office of Communications (U.S. National Park Service)". Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  51. Yosemite National Park | The Official Guide to Lodging & Activities. Retrieved on May 24, 2014.
  52. Forever Resorts Team. "Adventure Vacations - Trips, Travel and Outdoor Family Vacations - Forever Resorts".
  53. "". June 12, 1981. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  54. "Delaware North sues park service over Yosemite dispute".
  55. "National Park Service offers Yosemite contract to new company".
  56. "Amid court battle, Yosemite park plans to change some iconic names".
  57. Doyle, Michael. Public outcry and pressing questions follow Yosemite name changes. The Sacramento Bee , January 15, 2016
  58. "NPS About US". Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  59. National Park Service Headquarters Organization, March 2009
  60. "Washington Contacts". Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  61. Park Ranger, The Work, Thrills and Equipment of the National Park Rangers, Colby, C.B.; Coward-McCann, Inc., New York, 1955
  62. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, National Park Service, Fiscal Year nnnn Budget Justifications;, where nnnn = 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006, and 2009
  63. Careers in the National Parks; Gartner, Bob; The Rosen Publishing Company, New York; 1993
  64. "Director's Order #7: Volunteers in Parks; June 13, 2005; Department of the Interior, National Park Service". Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  65. 1 2 Volunteers in Parks; National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.; 1990
  66. Volunteer in Parks, FY05 Annual Report, Department of the Interior, National Park Service; GPO, Washington D.C.; 2006
  69. "NPS Artist-in-Residence". Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  70. "Association of National Park Rangers". Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  71. "18 USC § 7 – Special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States defined | Title 18 – Crimes and Criminal Procedure | U.S. Code | LII / Legal Information Institute". Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  72. "16 USC § 1a–6 – Law enforcement personnel within National Park System | Title 16 – Conservation | U.S. Code | LII / Legal Information Institute". Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  73. "18 USC § 13 – Laws of States adopted for areas within Federal jurisdiction | Title 18 – Crimes and Criminal Procedure | U.S. Code | LII / Legal Information Institute". Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  74. rwcar4. "Police Cars". Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  75. "Investigative Services (U.S. National Park Service)". Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  76. "US Office of Personnel Management" (PDF). Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  77. "Director's Orders and Related Documents/NPS Office of Policy". Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  78. "NPS Director's Order 9: Law Enforcement Program". Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  79. "United States Park Police". Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  80. "National Park Service Archeology Program". National Park Service. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
  81. "Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program". National Park Service. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
  82. "Challenge Cost Share Program". National Park Service. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
  83. "Federal Lands to Parks". National Park Service. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
  84. "Hydropower Relicensing Program". National Park Service. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
  85. "Land and Water Conservation Fund". National Park Service. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
  86. "National Trails System". National Park Service. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
  87. "Partnership Wild & Scenic Rivers". National Park Service. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
  89. 1 2 Nimz, J; Clark, T (2012). "Aquatic Research Opportunities with the National Park Service". In: Steller D, Lobel L, eds. Diving for Science 2012. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 31st Symposium. ISBN   978-0-9800423-6-8 . Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  90. NPS brochure A Heritage So Rich
  91. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE ALMANAC, Edited and Compiled by Ben Moffett and Vickie Carson, Rocky Mountain Region – Public Affairs, 1994
  92. Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program brochure; National Park Service, Department of the Interior
  93. National Trails System Map and Guide; National Park Service (DOI); Bureau of Land Management (DOI); Forest Service (USDA): Government Printing Office, 1993
  94. U.S. World Heritage Sites; U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Washington, D.C.; brochure
  95. 1 2 "BioBlitz, Species Inventory Information, Facts". National Geographic. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  96. "National Parks Traveler, May 17th, 2009; Kurt Repanshek". Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  97. 1 2 "Biscayne BioBlitz page". Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  98. Arrowhead; The Newsletter of the Employees & Alumni Association of the National Park Service; Eastern National; Spring/Summer 2012, vol. 19 no. 3
  99. Braun, David (August 26, 2012). "BioBlitz Finds 489 Species in Rocky Mountain National Park". National Geographic Society. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  100. "BioBlitz 2013: Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve". National Geographic Society. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  101. Biological Diversity brochure; National Park Service; 1993
  102. Climate Change in National Parks brochure; Dept of the Interior, National Park Service; 2007
  103. Archived February 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  104. [ dead link ]
  105. Wetlands in the National Parks;Dept of the Interior, National Park Service; 1998
  106. Managing Wildland Fire brochure; Dept of the Interior, National Park Service & National Interagency Fire Center; 2003
  107. 1 2 National Park Service (April 2012). "Green Parks Plan". US Dpt of the Interior. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  108. National Park Service. "Climate Friendly Parks Program". US Dpt of the Interior. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  109. Climate Friendly Parks, Environmental Leadership Program; National Park Service, Harpers Ferry, WV, 2009
  110. Seth Shteir (April 9, 2010). "The Grange; Climate Friendly National Parks". High Country News. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  111. National Park Service. "Explore Climate Friendly Parks". Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  112. Don Shepherd Estimating and Reducing Emissions from Within National Parks National Park Service, April 2001
  113. Shawn Norton, chief for sustainable operations and climate change Plastic Water Bottles in National Parks and the Green Parks Plan, National Park Service, January 5, 2010.
  114. "Nearly two dozen national park sites ban plastic water bottle sales". The Wilderness Society. April 10, 2014. Archived from the original on September 4, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  115. Lisa Rein, How Big Water is trying to stop the National Park Service from cleaning up plastic bottles fouling the parks, Washington Post, July 13, 2015.
  116. "National Park Service Ends Effort to Eliminate Sale of Disposable Water Bottles". August 16, 2017. Retrieved September 24, 2018.

Coordinates: 38°53′40″N77°02′33″W / 38.8944°N 77.0426°W / 38.8944; -77.0426