A recreation area is a type of protected area designated in some jurisdictions. In the United States, National Recreation Areas are administered by several different agencies. They typically do not meet the strict guidelines to become national parks. In U.S. state park systems, recreation areas may also fail to meet some criteria to be designated state parks, such as having multiple non-contiguous properties. Size is not necessarily a defining criterion. For instance, in Michigan, the largest state recreation area, Waterloo Recreation Area is 20,500-acre (83 km2) while the smallest state park is the 31-acre (0.13 km2) Tri-Centennial State Park and Harbor.
Protected areas or conservation areas are locations which receive protection because of their recognized natural, ecological or cultural values. There are several kinds of protected areas, which vary by level of protection depending on the enabling laws of each country or the regulations of the international organizations involved.
A National Recreation Area (NRA) is a designation for a protected area in the United States.
A national park is a park in use for conservation purposes. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently, there is a common idea: the conservation of 'wild nature' for posterity and as a symbol of national pride.
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The Ouachita National Forest is a National Forest that lies in the western portion of Arkansas and portions of eastern Oklahoma.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a U.S. National Recreation Area located in southeastern Nevada and northwestern Arizona. Operated by the National Park Service, Lake Mead NRA follows the Colorado River corridor from the westernmost boundary of Grand Canyon National Park to just north of the cities of Laughlin, Nevada and Bullhead City, Arizona. It includes all of the eponymous Lake Mead as well as the smaller Lake Mohave – reservoirs on the river created by Hoover Dam and Davis Dam, respectively – and the surrounding desert terrain and wilderness.
Mount Jefferson State Natural Area is a 1,154-acre (4.67 km2) North Carolina state park in Ashe County, North Carolina in the United States. Located near Jefferson, North Carolina, it includes the peak of Mount Jefferson, named for Thomas Jefferson and his father Peter, who owned land nearby and surveyed the North Carolina-Virginia border in 1749. In 1974, Mount Jefferson State Natural Area was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.
The protected areas of the United States are managed by an array of different federal, state, tribal and local level authorities and receive widely varying levels of protection. Some areas are managed as wilderness, while others are operated with acceptable commercial exploitation. As of 2015, the 25,800 protected areas covered 1,294,476 km2 (499,800 sq mi), or 14 percent of the land area of the United States. This is also one-tenth of the protected land area of the world. The U.S. also had a total of 787 National Marine Protected Areas, covering an additional 1,271,408 km2 (490,893 sq mi), or 12 percent of the total marine area of the United States.
The protected areas of Michigan come in an array of different types and levels of protection. Michigan has five units of the National Park Service system. There are 14 federal wilderness areas; the majority of these are also tribal-designated wildernesses. It has one of the largest state forest systems as well having four national forests. The state maintains a large state park system and there are also regional parks, and county, township and city parks. Still other parks on land and in the Great Lakes are maintained by other governmental bodies. Private protected areas also exist in the state, mainly lands owned by land conservancies.
Catoctin Mountain Park, located in north-central Maryland, is part of the forested Catoctin Mountain ridge−range that forms the northeastern rampart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the Appalachian Mountains System.
Worthington State Forest is a state forest located within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, just above the water gap, in Warren County, New Jersey. It covers an area of 6,660 acres (27.0 km2) and stretches for more than 7 miles (11 km) along the Kittatinny Ridge near Columbia. The park offers hiking, camping and canoeing and kayaking on the Delaware. There are some twenty miles of hiking trails within the park, including seven miles of the Appalachian Trail, which passes through the park. The park is operated and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry.
The Mendocino Woodlands State Park is a group camping facility located at 39350 Little Lake Road, Mendocino County, California, seven miles (11 km) inland from the town of Mendocino. It was built as a Recreational Demonstration Area by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Mendocino Woodlands consists of approximately 700 acres (2.8 km2) of land along the Little North Fork of the Big River and is surrounded to the north, east, and west by the 50,000-acre (200 km²) Jackson Demonstration State Forest. To the south, the park abuts the Big River State Park. It was declared a National Historic Landmark on September 25, 1997.
Big Bog State Recreation Area, a recent addition to the Minnesota state park system, is located on Minnesota State Highway 72, north of Waskish, Minnesota. It covers 9,459 acres (38.3 km2), primarily swamps, bogs, and upland "islands".
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area is a United States National Recreation Area (NRA) located in southwestern Virginia near the border with Tennessee and North Carolina. The centerpiece of the recreation area is the Lewis Fork Wilderness containing Mount Rogers, the highest point in the state of Virginia with a summit elevation of 5,729 feet. The recreation area is under the jurisdiction of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. The recreation area was established by an act of the United States Congress on May 31, 1966.
According to the California Protected Areas Database (CPAD), in the state of California, United States, there are over 14,000 inventoried protected areas administered by public agencies and non-profits. In addition, there are private conservation areas and other easements. They include almost one-third of California's scenic coastline, including coastal wetlands, estuaries, beaches, and dune systems. The California State Parks system alone has 270 units and covers 1.3 million acres (5,300 km2), with over 280 miles (450 km) of coastline, 625 miles (1,006 km) of lake and river frontage, nearly 18,000 campsites, and 3,000 miles (5,000 km) of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails.
Caledon State Park is a 2,579-acre (10.44 km2) state park located in King George, Virginia. The property was initially owned by the Alexander brothers, founders of the city of Alexandria, and was established in 1659 as Caledon Plantation. Ownership passed, in 1974, to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Stephen Mather Wilderness is a 634,614 acres (256,819 ha) wilderness area honoring Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service. It is located within North Cascades National Park, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, and Ross Lake National Recreation Area in the North Cascade Range of Washington, United States.
The San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge is in the San Juan Islands of the Salish Sea, north of Puget Sound, in the State of Washington. Created in 1976, it comprises 83 small, uninhabited islands, scattered throughout the San Juans, with a combined area of approximately 454 acres (1.84 km2). The Refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as one of six in the Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Highland State Recreation Area is a 5,900-acre (2,400 ha) state recreation area in the southeast part of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located in north Oakland County, 14 miles (23 km) west of Pontiac.
Hook Mountain State Park is a 676-acre (2.74 km2) undeveloped state park located in Rockland County, New York. The park includes a portion of the Hudson River Palisades on the western shore of the Hudson River, and is part of the Palisades Interstate Park system. Hook Mountain State Park is functionally part of a continuous complex of parks that also includes Rockland Lake State Park, Nyack Beach State Park, and Haverstraw Beach State Park.
Calvin Coolidge State Forest, also known as Coolidge State Forest, covers 22,564 acres (91.31 km2) in two parts in Rutland and Windsor Counties in Vermont. The West portion cover 17,259 acres (69.84 km2) in Killington, Mendon, Plymouth and Shrewsbury in both counties. The East portion cover 5,305 acres (21.47 km2) in Bridgewater, Plymouth, Reading, and Woodstock in Windsor County.
Putnam State Forest, officially known as C.C. Putnam State Forest, covers 13,633 acres (55.17 km2) in Lamoille and Washington County in Vermont. The forest is managed by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation in parts of Stowe, Elmore, Waterbury, Worcester and Middlesex.