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The National Park Service (NPS) is an
agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mechanisms which govern the behavior Behavior (Am ...
of the
United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the Federation#Federal governments, national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 U.S. state, state ...
that manages all
national parks#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state dec ...
, most national monuments, and other natural, historical, and recreational properties with various title designations. The
United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicameralism, bicameral, comprising a lower body, the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives, and an upper body, t ...

United States Congress
created the agency on August 25, 1916 through the
National Park Service Organic Act The National Park Service Organic ActAn Act to establish a National Park Service, and for other purposes. . (or simply "the Organic Act" within the National Park Service, conservationists, etc.) is a United States federal law The law of the United ...
. The NPS is an operating unit of the United States Department of the Interior. The agency 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. In 2020, the NPS employed 12,556 employees who oversaw
units Unit may refer to: Arts and entertainment * UNIT Unit may refer to: Arts and entertainment * UNIT, a fictional military organization in the science fiction television series ''Doctor Who'' * Unit of action, a discrete piece of action (or beat) in ...
, of which 63 were designated
national parks#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state dec ...
.


History

Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park is an American national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natur ...

Yellowstone National Park
was created as the first
national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state dec ...

national park
in the United States. In 1872, there was no
state government A state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The ...
to manage it, so the
federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized ...
assumed direct control. 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 A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership of multiple lines of enterprise. The term characteristically refers to a wealthy entrepreneur or investor who controls, through personal ente ...
and conservationist
Stephen Mather Stephen Tyng Mather (July 4, 1867 – January 22, 1930) was an American industrialist A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership of multiple lines of enterprise. The term characte ...
, as well as
J. Horace McFarland
J. Horace McFarland
. With the help of journalist
Robert Sterling Yard , 1920 Robert Sterling Yard (February 1, 1861 – May 17, 1945) was an American writer, journalist, and wilderness activist. Born in Haverstraw (town), New York, Haverstraw, New York, Yard graduated from Princeton University and spent the first tw ...
, Mather ran a publicity campaign for the
Department of the Interior The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is a federal executive department of the Federal government of the United States, U.S. government. It is responsible for the management and conservation of most federal lands and natural resource ...
. They wrote numerous articles that praised the scenic and historic qualities of the parks and their possibilities for educational, inspirational, and recreational benefits. This campaign resulted in the creation of the NPS. On August 25, 1916, President
Woodrow Wilson Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856February 3, 1924) was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th from 1913 to 1921. A member of the , Wilson served as the and as the before winning the . As President, Wilson chang ...

Woodrow Wilson
signed the
National Park Service Organic Act The National Park Service Organic ActAn Act to establish a National Park Service, and for other purposes. . (or simply "the Organic Act" within the National Park Service, conservationists, etc.) is a United States federal law The law of the United ...
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". Mather became the first director of the newly formed NPS. On March 3, 1933, President
Herbert Hoover Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was an American politician and engineer who served as the 31st from 1929 to 1933 and a member of the , holding office during the onset of the . Before serving as president, Hoover l ...

Herbert Hoover
signed the Reorganization Act of 1933. The act authorized the President to reorganize the executive branch of the United States government. Later that summer, the new president,
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
, made use of this power after NPS Deputy Director
Horace M. Albright
Horace M. Albright
suggested that the NPS, rather than the War Department should manage historic
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between northern U.S. state, states loyal to the Union (American Civil War), Union and sout ...
sites. President Roosevelt agreed and issued two
executive orders An executive order is a means of issuing federal presidential directive, directives in the United States, used by the President of the United States, that manages operations of the Federal government of the United States, federal governmen ...
to implement the reorganization. These two executive orders transferred to the NPS all of the War Department's historic sites as well as national monuments that the Department of Agriculture had managed and parks in and around Washington, D.C. that an independent federal office had previously operated.The National Parks: Shaping the System; National Park Service, Dept of the Interior; 1991; pg 24 The demand for parks after the end of the
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
left the parks overburdened with demands that the NPS could not meet. In 1951,
Conrad Wirth Conrad Louis Wirth (December 1, 1899 – July 25, 1993) was an American landscape architect A landscape architect is a person who is educated in the field of landscape architecture. The practice of landscape architecture includes: site analysis, ...
became director of the NPS and began to bring park facilities up to the standards that the public was expecting. In 1952, with the support of President
Dwight D. Eisenhower Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American military officer An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. In its broadest sense, the term " ...
, Wirth began
Mission 66 Mission 66 was a United States National Park Service The National Park Service (NPS) is an List of federal agencies in the United States, agency of the federal government of the United States that manages all List of areas in the United States ...
, 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. 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 Area#REDIRECT National recreation area {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation {{R from move ...
s.


Resource stewardship policies


1963: The Leopold Report

A 1963 report titled "Wildlife Management in the National Parks" was prepared by a five-member Advisory Board on Wildlife Management, appointed by
United States Secretary of the Interior The United States secretary of the interior is the head of the United States Department of the Interior. The secretary and the Department of the Interior are responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resourc ...
Stewart Udall Stewart Lee Udall (January 31, 1920 – March 20, 2010) was an American politician and later, a federal government official. After serving three terms as a congressman from Arizona, he served as Secretary of the Interior from 1961 to 1969, unde ...
. This report came to be referred to in later years for its chairman and principal author,
A. Starker Leopold Aldo Starker Leopold (October 22, 1913 – August 23, 1983) was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of ...

A. Starker Leopold
. The
Leopold Report The Leopold Report, officially known as Wildlife Management in the National Parks, is a 1963 paper composed of a series of ecosystem management recommendations that were presented by the Special Advisory Board on Wildlife Management to United Sta ...
was just fourteen pages in length, but it set forth
ecosystem management Ecosystem management is an approach to natural resource management Natural resource management (NRM) is the management of natural resources such as land, water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, ...
recommendations that would guide parks policy until it was revisited in 2012. The Leopold Report was the first concrete plan for managing park visitors and ecosystems under unified principles. Park management issues and controversies addressed in this report included the difficulties of managing elk populations in
Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park is an American national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natur ...

Yellowstone National Park
and how "overprotection from natural ground fires" in California's
Sequoia National Park Sequoia National Park is an American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada (U.S.), Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California. The park was established on September 25, 1890 to protect of forested mountainous terrain. Encompassing a vertica ...

Sequoia National Park
,
Kings Canyon National Park Kings Canyon National Park is an American national park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or devel ...

Kings Canyon National Park
, and
Yosemite National Park Yosemite National Park ( ) is an American national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natur ...

Yosemite National Park
had begun to threaten groves of
Giant Sequoia ''Sequoiadendron giganteum'' (giant sequoia; also known as giant redwood, Sierra redwood, Sierran redwood, Wellingtonia or simply big treea nickname also used by John Muir) is the sole living species in the genus ''Sequoiadendron'', and one of th ...

Giant Sequoia
with catastrophic wildfires. The report also established an historical baseline that read, "The goal of managing the national parks and monuments should be to preserve, or where necessary to recreate, the ecologic scene as viewed by the first European visitors." This baseline would guide
ecological restoration Restoration ecology is the scientific study supporting the practice of ecological restoration, which is the practice of renewing and restoring degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystem An ecosystem is a community (ecology), community of l ...
in national parks until a
climate change adaptation Climate change adaptation is the process of adjusting to current or expected climate change Climate change includes both global warming driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patte ...
policy, "Resist-Adapt-Direct," was established in 2021.


2012: Revisiting Leopold: Resource Stewardship in the National Parks

National Parks director Jonathan Jarvis charged the twelve-member NPS Advisory Board Science Committee to take a fresh look at the ecological issues and make recommendations for updating the original Leopold Report. The committee published their 23-page report in 2012, titled, "Revisiting Leopold: Resource Stewardship in the National Parks." The report recommended that parks leadership "manage for change while confronting uncertainty."
"... New and emerging scientific disciplines — including conservation biology, global change science, and genomics — along with new technological tools like high-resolution remote sensing can provide significant information for constructing contemporary tactics for NPS stewardship. This knowledge is essential to a National Park Service that is science-informed at all organizational levels and able to respond with contemporary strategies for resource management and ultimately park stewardship."


2021: Resist-Accept-Direct (RAD): A Framework for the 21st-century Natural Resource Manager

The "Revisiting Leopold" report mentioned
climate change Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...
three times and "climate refugia" once, but it did not prescribe or offer any management tactics that could help parks managers with the problems of climate change. Hence, the 2021 report specific to the need for
climate adaptation Climate change adaptation is the process of adjusting to current or expected climate change and its effects. It is one of the ways to respond to climate change, along with climate change mitigation. For humans, adaptation aims to moderate or avoid ...
: "Resist-Accept-Direct (RAD): A Framework for the 21st-century Natural Resource Manager." This "Natural Resource Report" has ten authors. Among them are four associated with the
U.S. National Park Service The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mecha ...
, three with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and two with the
U.S. Geological Survey The United States Geological Survey (USGS, formerly simply Geological Survey) is a scientific agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurrin ...
— all of which are government agencies within the U.S. Department of Interior. The report's Executive Summary, points to "intensifying global change."
"... The convention of using baseline conditions to define goals for today’s resource management is increasingly untenable, presenting practical and philosophical challenges for managers. As formerly familiar ecological conditions continue to change, bringing novelty, surprise, and uncertainty, natural resource managers require a new, shared approach to make conservation decisions.... The RAD (Resist-Accept-Direct) decision framework has emerged over the past decade as a simple tool that captures the entire decision space for responding to ecosystems facing the potential for rapid, irreversible ecological change."
Here, the iconic species of
Joshua Tree National Park Joshua Tree National Park is an American in southeastern , east of and and north . It is named after the Joshua trees (') native to the . Originally declared a in 1936, Joshua Tree was redesignated as a national park in 1994 when the passe ...

Joshua Tree National Park
is a leading example. The three RAD options are: * Resist the trajectory of change, by working to maintain or restore ecosystem processes, function, structure, or composition based upon historical or acceptable current conditions. * Accept the trajectory of change, by allowing ecosystem processes, function, structure, or composition to change, without intervening to alter their trajectory. * Direct the trajectory of change, by actively shaping ecosystem processes, function, structure, or composition towards desired new conditions. The "Risk-Accept-Direct" Framework is described in an October 2021 paper published in ''Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment''. Twenty researchers from federal and state agencies and universities collaborated in this effort, which included short case studies of where and how this framework has already been applied. They conclude, "As more ecosystems pass beyond the point of feasible resistance, managers will actively need to decide whether to accept changes or direct changes toward desired outcomes."


National Park System

The National Park ''System'' includes all properties managed by the National Park ''Service'', which have a wide variety of titles or designations. The system as a whole is considered to be a
national treasure The idea of national treasure, like national epic A national epic is an epic poem An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem Narrative poetry is a form of poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek language, Greek ''poiesis'', "making" ...
of the United States, and some of the more famous national parks and monuments are sometimes referred to as "
crown jewels Crown jewels are the objects of and in the of a current or former . They are often used for the of a and a few other ceremonial occasions. A monarch may often be shown wearing them in portraits, as they symbolize the power and continuity o ...
". The system encompasses approximately , of which 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 Pennsylvania ( , elsewhere ; pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basi ...

Pennsylvania
, at 0.02 acre (80 m2). In addition to administering its units and other properties, the NPS also provides technical and financial assistance to several affiliated areas authorized by Congress. The largest affiliated area is
New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve (also known as Pinelands National Reserve) is a national reserve that encompasses the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The Pinelands is a unique location of historic villages and berry farms amid the vast oak ...

New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve
at 1,164,025 acres (4711 km2). The smallest is
Benjamin Franklin National Memorial The ''Benjamin Franklin National Memorial'', located in the rotunda of The Franklin Institute The Franklin Institute is a science museum and the center of science education and research in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Philadelphia, colloquia ...

Benjamin Franklin National Memorial
at less than . While there are laws generally covering all units of the National Park System, they are subject to management policies of individual pieces of authorizing legislation or, in the case of national monuments created under the
Antiquities Act The Antiquities Act of 1906, (, , ), is an act that was passed by the United States Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States and consists of the ...
,
presidential proclamation The text of presidential proclamation 9552 of December 9, 2016 regarding the lowering of flags because of the death of John Glenn, as published in the Federal Register.">Federal_Register.html" ;"title="John Glenn, as published in the Federal Regi ...
. For example, because of provisions within their enabling legislation,
Congaree National Park Congaree National Park is a American national park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed l ...

Congaree National Park
is almost entirely
wilderness area A wilderness area is a region where the land is in a natural state; where impacts from human activities are minimal—that is, a wilderness Wilderness or wildlands (usually in the plural), are natural environments on Earth that have not been ...
devoid of development, yet Yosemite allows unique developments such as the
Badger Pass Ski Area Badger Pass Ski Area is a small ski area located within Yosemite National Park. Badger Pass is one of only three lift serviced ski areas operating in a US National Park (Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area in Olympic National Park and Boston Mil ...
and the within its boundaries. Such irregularities would not be found in other parks unless specifically provided for with exceptions by the legislation that created them.


Holdings

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


Criteria

Most NPS units 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 The Antiquities Act of 1906, (, , ), is an act that was passed by the United States Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States and consists of the ...
, 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. A potential park should meet all four of the following standards: * It is an outstanding example of a particular type of resource. * It possesses exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the natural or cultural themes of the nation's heritage. * It offers superlative opportunities for recreation, for public use and enjoyment, or for scientific study. * It retains a high degree of integrity as a true, accurate, and relatively unspoiled example of the resource.


Nomenclature

The NPS uses over 20 different titles for the park units it manages, including ''national park'' and ''national monument''.
National parks#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state dec ...
preserve nationally and globally significant scenic areas and nature reserves. National monuments preserve a single unique cultural or natural feature.
Devils Tower National Monument Devils Tower (also known as Bear Lodge Butte) is a butte, possibly laccolith, laccolithic, composed of igneous rock in the Bear Lodge Ranger District of the Black Hills, near Hulett, Wyoming, Hulett and Sundance, Wyoming, Sundance in Crook Count ...

Devils Tower National Monument
was the first in 1906. While the National Park Service holds the most national monuments, a monument may be managed or co-managed by a different entity such as the
Bureau of Land Management The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the responsible for administering . Headquartered in and with oversight over , it governs one eighth of the country's landmass. President created the BLM in 1946 by combining two ex ...
or the
Forest ServiceForest Service may refer to: * Canadian Forest Service * Indian Forest Service * New Zealand Forest Service * United States Forest Service * Forestry Commission in the United Kingdom ** Forest Service Northern Ireland {{disambig Government agencies ...
. National preserves are for the protection of certain resources and operate similar to many National Parks, but allow limited resource extraction. Activities like hunting, fishing, and some mining may be allowed depending on the site.
Big Cypress National Preserve Big Cypress National Preserve is a United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 5 ...

Big Cypress National Preserve
and
Big Thicket National Preserve The Big Thicket is the name given to a somewhat imprecise region of a heavily-forested area of Southeast Texas in the United States. It is a highly biodiverse area for a temperate In geography, the temperate climates of Earth Earth ...

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 New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve (also known as Pinelands National Reserve) is a national reserve that encompasses the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The Pinelands is a unique location of historic villages and berry farms amid the vast oak ...

New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve
was the first to be established in 1978. National historic sites protect a significant cultural resource that is not a complicated site. National historical parks are larger areas with more complex subjects. Historic sites may also be protected in other unit types. 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 Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, located in northern Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country located at the intersection of Ea ...
,
Vicksburg National Military Park Vicksburg National Military Park preserves the site of the American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between nort ...

Vicksburg National Military Park
,
Gettysburg National Military Park The Gettysburg National Military Park protects and interprets the landscape of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the park is managed by the National Park Service. The GNMP properti ...
, and
Shiloh National Military Park Shiloh National Military Park preserves the American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between northern U.S. s ...
—the original four from 1890. Examples of ''battlefield parks'', ''battlefield sites'', and ''national battlefields'' include
Richmond National Battlefield Park The Richmond National Battlefield Park commemorates 13 American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between northern ...
,
Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site commemorates the Battle of Brices Crossroads, in which the Confederate army, under Major-General Nathan Bedford Forrest, defeated a much larger Union force on June 10, 1864, to ultimately secure supply ...
, and
Antietam National Battlefield Antietam National Battlefield is a National Park Service The National Park Service (NPS) is an List of federal agencies in the United States, agency of the federal government of the United States that manages all List of areas in the United St ...

Antietam National Battlefield
. National memorials are areas that officially memorialize a person or event, though unlike a National Histrorical Site, may or may not be placed at a specific historical location. Several national momeorial are on the
National Mall The National Mall is a landscaped park within the National Mall and Memorial Parks National Mall and Memorial Parks (formerly known as National Capital Parks-Central) is an administrative unit of the National Park Service The National Park ...

National Mall
, such as the
Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscaped park within the National Mall and Memorial Parks, an official unit of the National Park Service#National Park System, Un ...

Washington Monument
and
Lincoln Memorial The Lincoln Memorial is a US national memorial built to honor the 16th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The pres ...

Lincoln Memorial
. National seashores and national lakeshores offer preservation of the national coast line, while supporting water–based recreation.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a United States national seashore which preserves the portion of the Outer Banks of North Carolina North Carolina () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the Un ...

Cape Hatteras National Seashore
was created in 1937.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Indiana Dunes National Park is a United States national park The United States has 63 protected areas known as national parks that are operated by the National Park Service, an agency of the United States Department of the Interior, Departmen ...

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
and
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a U.S. National Lakeshore on the shore of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, United States. It extends for 42 miles (67 km) along the shore and covers . The park has extensive views of th ...
, 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 File:Rocky Falls ONSR-20130314-045 bw.jpg, Rocky Falls on Rocky Creek, a tributary of the Current River The Ozark National Scenic Riverways is a recreational unit of the National Park Service in the Ozarks of southern Missouri in the United States ...
was established in 1964.
National recreation area#REDIRECT National recreation area {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation {{R from move ...
s originally were units surrounding reservoirs impounded by dams built by other federal agencies, the first being
Lake Mead National Recreation Area Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a U.S. national recreation area 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 ...
. Some national recreation areas are in urban centers, such as
Gateway National Recreation Area Gateway National Recreation Area is a U.S. National Recreation Area in New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With an e ...
and
Golden Gate National Recreation Area Golden means made of, or relating to gold. Golden may also refer to: Places United Kingdom *Golden, in the parish of Probus, Cornwall *Golden Cap, Dorset *Golden Square, Soho, London *Golden Valley, a valley on the River Frome, Stroud#Golden Val ...
, which encompass significant cultural as well as natural resources. The
National Trails System 300px, Signs used along the historic and scenic trails to mark the modern roads and significant points. The National Trails System is a series of national trail A trail is usually a path, track or unpaved lane or road. In the United Kingdom ...
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 The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the A.T., is a marked hiking trail A trail is usually a path, track or unpaved lane or road. In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, path ...

Appalachian Trail
is the best known. National historic trails commemorate the routes of major historic events. Some of the best known are the
Trail of Tears #REDIRECT Trail of Tears The Trail of Tears was part of a series of forced displacements of approximately 100,000 Native Americans in the United States, Native Americans between 1830 and 1850 by the Federal government of the United States, Unit ...
, the Mormon Trail, and the
Santa Fe Trail The Santa Fe Trail was a 19th-century route through central North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any stri ...

Santa Fe Trail
. These trails are administered by several federal agencies.


Special designations

Wilderness Wilderness or wildlands (usually in the plural), are natural environments on Earth that have not been significantly modified by human activity or any nonurbanized land not under extensive agricultural cultivation. The term has traditionally re ...

Wilderness
areas are part of the
National Wilderness Preservation System The National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) of the United States protects federally managed wilderness area A wilderness area is a region where the land is in a natural state; where impacts from human activities are minimal—that is, a ...
, which consists of federally managed lands that are of a pristine condition, established by the
Wilderness Act The Wilderness Act of 1964 () was written by Howard Zahniser of The Wilderness Society (United States), The Wilderness Society. It created the legal definition of wilderness in the United States, and protected 9.1 million acres (37,000 km²) ...
(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 Area Marine protected areas (MPA) are protected area 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, wh ...
s (MPAs) began with Executive Order 13158 in May 2000, when official MPAs were established for the first time.Federal Register, Vol. 75, No. 100; Tuesday, May 25, 2010; pg 29317 The initial listing of U.S. areas was presented in 2010, consisting of areas already set aside under other legislation. The NPS has 19 park units designated as MPAs.


Visitation

The National Park System received over 327 million recreation visits in 2019. Park visitation grew 64 percent between 1979 and 2015. The 10 most-visited units of the National Park System handle over 28 percent of the overall visits. The top 10 percent of parks (41) handle 62.8 percent of all visits, leaving the remaining more than 380 units to accommodate 37.2 percent of visits.


Entrance fees

Most areas of the National Park System do not charge entrance fees and are completely supported by tax dollars, although some of the most popular areas do charge entrance fees. Fees vary site to site and are charged either on a per-vehicle or per-person basis, with most passes valid for 7 days. The
America the Beautiful PassThe America the Beautiful Pass (also known as the Interagency Pass) series comprises annual or lifetime passes that grant the holder entrance to more than 2,000 United States federal government, federally protected areas including List of national pa ...
series waives the per-vehicle fee or per-person fee for the holder and up to 3 other adults (children age 15 and younger are admitted for free at most sites). Annual passes for single areas are also available for those who visit the same site often.


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), backcountry campers (2.02 million) and users of the concession-run campgrounds (1.42 million).


Budget

In 2019, the NPS had an annual budget of $4.085 billion and an estimated $12 billion maintenance backlog. On August 4, 2020, the
Great American Outdoors Act The Great American Outdoors Act (H.R.1957) is a piece of legislation passed by the United States Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States and consis ...
was signed into law reducing the $12 billion maintenance backlog by $9.5 billion over a 5-year period beginning in FY 2021. The NPS 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.FY 2006 President's Budget, Executive Summary; National Park Service; Government Printing Office; February 7, 2005 The NPS budget includes ''discretionary'' spending which is broken out into two portions: the direct operations of the National Parks and the special initiatives.Budget Justification and Performance Information, Fiscal Year 2010, National Park Service, The United States Department of the Interior, 2009 Listed separately are the special initiatives of the service for the year specified in the legislation. During fiscal year 2010, the service was charged with five initiatives. They include: stewardship and education; professional excellence; youth programs; climate change impacts; and budget restructure and realignment.


Discretionary spending

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, including
Gateway National Recreation Area Gateway National Recreation Area is a U.S. National Recreation Area in New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With an e ...
,
Golden Gate National Recreation Area Golden means made of, or relating to gold. Golden may also refer to: Places United Kingdom *Golden, in the parish of Probus, Cornwall *Golden Cap, Dorset *Golden Square, Soho, London *Golden Valley, a valley on the River Frome, Stroud#Golden Val ...
, and the
National Mall The National Mall is a landscaped park within the National Mall and Memorial Parks National Mall and Memorial Parks (formerly known as National Capital Parks-Central) is an administrative unit of the National Park Service The National Park ...

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. The ONPS section of the budget is divided into six 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.


Visitor services

The NPS allocates funds obtained from its visitor services for use in public programs and for educational programs for the general public and school groups. Park rangers trained in providing walks, talks, and educational programs to the public frequently conduct such programs. Media specialists prepare exhibits along trails, roads and in visitor contact facilities, as well as written brochures and web-sites.


Park protection

This includes the staff responding to visitor emergencies (criminal, medical and SAR), and the protection of the park's natural and cultural resources from damage by those persons visiting the park. The staff includes law enforcement rangers,
park police Park police are a type of security police who function as a full-service law enforcement agency with responsibilities and jurisdiction in park areas primarily located in cities and other urban areas. In addition to performing the normal crime preve ...
, criminal investigators, and communication center operators.


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.


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.


External administrative costs

The NPS pays external administrative costs to outside organizations that provide the logistical support that the NPS needs to operate its facilities. These costs include rent payments to the
General Services Administration The General Services Administration (GSA) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the United States government established in 1949 to help manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies. G ...
for building space, postage payments to the postal machine vendor and other direct payments.


Land and Water Conservation Fund

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) supports Land Acquisition and State Conservation Assistance (SCA) grant programs. In 2010, the LWCF began an incremental process to fully fund its programs at a total cost of $900 million. The Department of the Interior and the
United States Forest Service The United States Forest Service (USFS) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that administers the nation's 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands. The Forest Service manages of land. Major divisions of the agency in ...
use these funds to purchase critical lands to protect existing public lands. The LWCF also issues grants to States and local jurisdictions to preserve and protect Civil War battlefield sites that are not part of the national park system. The SCA program distributes funds for land preservation to individual states.


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 Save America's Treasures is a United States federal government initiative to preserve and protect historic buildings, arts, and published works. It is a public–private partnership between the U.S. National Park Service The National Park Ser ...
and the
Preserve America Preserve America is a United States government program, established under President George W. Bush, intended to encourage and support community efforts to preserve and enjoy the country's cultural and natural heritage. As of 2017, more than 900 co ...
. The Historic Preservation Offices makes grants available to the States, territories, and tribal lands.


Economic benefits

The NPS 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 2017 study, the NPS found that 331 million park visitors spent $18.2 billion in local areas around National Parks across the nation. This spending helped support 306,000 jobs. The NPS expenditures supported $297 million in economic output in Missouri alone.


Concessions

In an effort to increase visitation and allow for a larger audience to enjoy national park land, the NPS has numerous
concession Concession may refer to: * Concession (contract) (sometimes called a concession agreement), a contractual right to carry on a certain kind of business or activity in an area, such as to explore or develop its natural resources or to operate a "conc ...
contracts with private businesses to bring recreation, resorts and other ''compatible'' amenities to their parks. NPS lodging opportunities exist at places such as the in
Yosemite National Park Yosemite National Park ( ) is an American national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natur ...

Yosemite National Park
and the
Fort Baker Fort Baker is one of the components of California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territories of the United ...

Fort Baker
Retreat and Conference Center in
Golden Gate National Recreation Area Golden means made of, or relating to gold. Golden may also refer to: Places United Kingdom *Golden, in the parish of Probus, Cornwall *Golden Cap, Dorset *Golden Square, Soho, London *Golden Valley, a valley on the River Frome, Stroud#Golden Val ...
.
Adaptive reuse Adaptive reuse refers to the process of reusing Reuse is the action or practice of using an item, whether for its original purpose (conventional reuse) or to fulfil a different function (creative reuse or repurposing). It should be distinguished f ...
s 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. * Delaware North Corporation at
Yosemite National Park Yosemite National Park ( ) is an American national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natur ...

Yosemite National Park
,
Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park is an American national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natur ...

Yellowstone National Park
, South Rim
Grand Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park, located in northwestern Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine pub ...

Grand Canyon National Park
. * Forever Resorts at
Big Bend National Park Big Bend National Park is an American national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, s ...

Big Bend National Park
,
Blue Ridge Parkway The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and National Scenic Byway, All-American Road in the United States, noted for its scenic beauty. The parkway, which is America's longest linear park, runs for through 29 Virginia and North Carolina cou ...

Blue Ridge Parkway
,
Badlands National Park Badlands National Park ( lkt, Makȟóšiča) is an American national park located in southwestern South Dakota. The park protects of sharply Erosion, eroded buttes and Pinnacle (geology), pinnacles, along with the largest undisturbed mixed grass ...

Badlands National Park
, North Rim of
Grand Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park, located in northwestern Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine pub ...

Grand Canyon National Park
,
Olympic National Park Olympic National Park is a United States national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, ...

Olympic National Park
,
Lake Mead National Recreation Area Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a U.S. national recreation area 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 ...
,
Mammoth Cave National Park Mammoth Cave National Park is an American national park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or devel ...

Mammoth Cave National Park
,
Isle Royale National Park Isle Royale National Park is an American national park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or develo ...

Isle Royale National Park
, and
Rocky Mountain National Park Rocky Mountain National Park is an American national park located approximately northwest of Denver in north-central Colorado, within the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The park is situated between the towns of Estes Park, Colorado, Estes Pa ...

Rocky Mountain National Park
. * at
Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Canyon National Park () is an American national park located in southwestern Utah. The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon, which despite its name, is not a canyon, but a collection of giant natural amphitheatre, amphitheaters along ...

Bryce Canyon National Park
,
Crater Lake National Park Crater Lake National Park is an American national park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or develo ...

Crater Lake National Park
,
Death Valley National Park Death Valley National Park is an American national park that straddles the California–Nevada border, east of the Sierra Nevada (U.S.), Sierra Nevada. The park boundaries include Death Valley, the northern section of Panamint Valley, the souther ...

Death Valley National Park
, South Rim
Grand Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park, located in northwestern Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine pub ...

Grand Canyon National Park
,
Mount Rushmore National Memorial Mount Rushmore National Memorial is centered on a colossal sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore (Lakota ''Tȟuŋkášila Šákpe'', or Six Grandfathers) in the Black Hills The Black Hills ( lkt, Ȟe Sápa; chy, Moʼȯ ...

Mount Rushmore National Memorial
, Painted Desert at
Petrified Forest National Park Petrified Forest National Park is an American national park in Navajo County, Arizona, Navajo and Apache County, Arizona, Apache counties in northeastern Arizona. Named for its large deposits of petrified wood, the park covers about , encompassing ...

Petrified Forest National Park
,
Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park is an American national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natur ...

Yellowstone National Park
, and
Zion National Park Zion National Park is an American national park#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-n ...

Zion National Park
.


Litigation with Delaware North

In 2015,
Delaware North Delaware North is a global food service and hospitality company headquartered in Buffalo, New York Buffalo is the in the of and the largest city in . 's census estimates, the city proper population was 255,284. The city is the of and se ...
sued the NPS in the
United States Court of Claims United may refer to: Places * United, Pennsylvania United is located in Mount Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. It is a community located near Norvelt, Pennsylvania. History In 1881, the United Coal Company, United Coal & Cok ...
for breach of contract, alleging that the NPS had undervalued its trademarks of the names of iconic Yosemite National Park concession facilities. The NPS 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. 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 The Ahwahnee Hotel is a grand hotel in Yosemite National Park Yosemite National Park ( ) is an American national park in the western Sierra Nevada of Central California, bounded on the southeast by Sierra National Forest and on the nort ...

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. Widespread public outcry focused on Delaware North's decision to claim ownership of names within a national park.Doyle, Michael
Public outcry and pressing questions follow Yosemite name changes
''
The Sacramento Bee ''The Sacramento Bee'' is a daily newspaper published in Sacramento, California ) , image_map = Sacramento County California Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Sacramento Highlighted.svg , mapsize ...
'', January 15, 2016
The names were restored in 2019 upon settlement of the dispute.


Bookstores

At many Park Service sites a bookstore is operated by a
non-profit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, in contrast with an entity that o ...
cooperating association. The largest example is Eastern National, which runs bookstores in 30 states with 178 stores.
Eastern National

Western National Park Association
Park specific:
Crater Lake Natural History Association

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association



Kennesaw Mountain Historical Association

Oregon Caves Natural History Association

Yellowstone Forever

Yosemite Conservancy


Offices

The national headquarters is located in the
Main Interior Building The Main Interior Building, officially known as the Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building, located in Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington ...
, 1849 C Street NW, several blocks southwest of the
White House The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C., NW in Washington, D.C., and has been the residence of every U.S. preside ...

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 The United States Park Police (USPP) is one of the oldest uniformed federal law enforcement agencies in the United States. It functions as a full-service law enforcement agency with responsibilities and jurisdiction in those National Park Service ...
. Regional offices are in
Anchorage Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage; : ) is a unified municipal in the U.S. state of , on the . With an estimated 288,000 residents in 2019, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains nearly 40% of the state's popula ...
,
Atlanta Atlanta () is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Georgia (U.S. state), most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. With an estimated 2019 population of 506,811, it is also the List of United ...

Atlanta
, Lakewood, CO (
Denver Denver () is a consolidated city and county, the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more forma ...

Denver
),
Omaha, NE Omaha ( ) is the largest city in the U.S. state of Nebraska and the county seat of Douglas County, Nebraska, Douglas County. Omaha is in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about north of the mouth of the Platte River (also kno ...
,
Philadelphia Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is ...

Philadelphia
,
San Francisco San Francisco (; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (dis ...
and
Seattle Seattle ( ) is a seaport The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Barcola The thumb is the first digit of the hand, next to the index finger. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position (where the palm is facing to the front) ...

Seattle
. The headquarters building of the National Park Service Southwest Regional Office is architecturally significant and is designated a National Historic Landmark. The NPS is an U.S. Department of the Interior#operating unit, operating unit of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The NPS director is nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate. The director is supported by six senior executives. These executives 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''.


Staff and volunteers


Directors


Employees

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. The NPS employs many kinds of workers: * National Park Service Ranger ** Interpreter ** National Park Service Law Enforcement Rangers, Law enforcement * Park management (Superintendent/Deputy) *
United States Park Police The United States Park Police (USPP) is one of the oldest uniformed federal law enforcement agencies in the United States. It functions as a full-service law enforcement agency with responsibilities and jurisdiction in those National Park Service ...
* Emergency management (Emergency medical providers, search and rescue specialists) * Dispatchers * Maintenance (including Carpentry, carpenters, Plumbing, plumbers, masons, laborers, auto mechanics, motor vehicle operators, heavy equipment operators, electricians) * Park planning ** Architects, Engineers, and Landscape architects * Resource management (including archeologist, biologist, botanist, aquatics, soil scientist, geologist) * History (curators, historians, preservation technicians, historic architects, archivists) * Fire management (managers, weather specialist, firefighters, engine captains, crew superintendents, battalion chiefs) * public policy, Public Affairs * Administration (human resources, finance, accountants, information technology, budgeting, concessions management) Locations are varied. Parks exist in the nation's larger cities like New York City (Federal Hall Memorial National Historic Site),
Atlanta Atlanta () is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Georgia (U.S. state), most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. With an estimated 2019 population of 506,811, it is also the List of United ...

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.


Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP)

The Volunteers-In-Parks program was authorized in 1969 by the Volunteers in the Parks Act of 1969. for the purpose of allowing the public to serve in the nations parks providing support and skills for their enhancement and protection.Volunteers in Parks; National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.; 1990 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. In a 2005 annual report, the NPS 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 NPS. Since 1990, the number of volunteers has increased an average of 2% per year.
FTE stands for full-time equivalent (one work year). In 2012, the National Park Service reported that over 221,000 volunteers contributed about 6.4 million hours annually. 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.


Artist-In-Residence

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''.


United States Park Rangers

Law enforcement rangers, or protection rangers, are uniformed federal law enforcement officers with broad authority to enforce federal and state laws within NPS sites. The NPS commonly refers to law enforcement operations in the agency as ''visitor and resource protection''. In NPS units, law enforcement rangers are the primary police agency. The NPS also employs special agents who conduct more complex criminal investigations. Rangers and agents receive extensive police training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and annual in-service and regular firearms training.


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 NPS 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.


Youth programs

The NPS partners with a variety of youth oriented programs. 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. 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. * The Youth Conservation Corps (ages 15–18) brings young people into a park to restore, preserve and protect a natural, cultural, or historical resources. Enrollees are paid for their work. * Public Land Corps (ages 16–25) is a job helping to restore, protect, and rehabilitate a local national parks. The enrollees learn about environmental issues and the parks.


Special divisions

Other special NPS divisions include the Archeology Program, Historic American Buildings Survey, National Register of Historic Places, National Natural Landmarks, the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, the Challenge Cost Share Program, the Federal Lands to Parks, the Hydropower Relicensing Program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the National Trails System (United States), National Trails System, the Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers Program, and the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division.


Centers

The NPS 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 the 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. The SRC is based out of the Intermountain Region's headquarters in Lakewood, Colorado. 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

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.


Historic American Buildings Survey

In 1933, the NPS 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 the national industrial and engineering heritage, the NPS, 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. 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.


Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program

The NPS Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program 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.


National Trails System

The
National Trails System 300px, Signs used along the historic and scenic trails to mark the modern roads and significant points. The National Trails System is a series of national trail A trail is usually a path, track or unpaved lane or road. In the United Kingdom ...
is a joint mission of the NPS, the
Bureau of Land Management The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the responsible for administering . Headquartered in and with oversight over , it governs one eighth of the country's landmass. President created the BLM in 1946 by combining two ex ...
and the United States Forest Service, U.S. Forest Service. It was created in 1968 to establish a system of long-distance National Scenic Trail, 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 Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail, National Geologic Trail.


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. As of 2021 there are 55 designated heritage areas.


Initiatives

* 24-hr all Taxa BioBlitz: A joint venture of the National Geographic Society and the NPS. Beginning in 2004, at Rock Creek Parkway, the National Geographic Society and the NPS began a 10-year program of hosting a major biological survey of ten selected national park units. The intent is to develop public interest in the nations natural resources, develop scientific interest in America's youth and to create citizen scientist. ** 2007: Rock Creek Park, Washington D.C. 661 species ** 2008: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Los Angeles, California. 1,700 species and more pending. ** 2009:
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Indiana Dunes National Park is a United States national park The United States has 63 protected areas known as national parks that are operated by the National Park Service, an agency of the United States Department of the Interior, Departmen ...

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
, near Chicago in northern Indiana. 1,716 species and still counting. ** 2010: Biscayne National Park, Miami, Florida. 810 species were identified during this 24-hr event. As classification continues, more species will be added to the list. ** 2011: Saguaro National Park, Tucson, Arizona. During the 24 hours, 859 different species were identified, of which more than 400 were previously unknown in the park.Arrowhead; The Newsletter of the Employees & Alumni Association of the National Park Service; Eastern National; Spring/Summer 2012, vol. 19 no. 3 ** 2012:
Rocky Mountain National Park Rocky Mountain National Park is an American national park located approximately northwest of Denver in north-central Colorado, within the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The park is situated between the towns of Estes Park, Colorado, Estes Pa ...

Rocky Mountain National Park
, in Estes Park, In August 2012 489 species were identified. ** 2013: Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, in New Orleans. May 17–18, 2013 in the park's Barataria Preserve. ** 2014:
Golden Gate National Recreation Area Golden means made of, or relating to gold. Golden may also refer to: Places United Kingdom *Golden, in the parish of Probus, Cornwall *Golden Cap, Dorset *Golden Square, Soho, London *Golden Valley, a valley on the River Frome, Stroud#Golden Val ...
** 2015: Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park ** 2016: Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Cabrillo National Monument, Channel Islands National Park, Washington, D.C. ** 2017: Virgin Islands National Park * Biological Diversity: Biological Diversity is the vast variety of life as identified through species and genetics. This variety is decreasing as people spread across the globe, altering areas to better meet their needs. * Climate Change: ''Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global sea levels.'' (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007). * South Florida Restoration Initiative: Rescuing an Ecosystem in Peril: In partnership with the State of Florida, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Army Corps of Engineers, the NPS is restoring the physical and biological processes of the South Florida ecosystem. Historically, this ecosystem contained some of the most diverse habitats on earth. * Vanishing Treasures Initiative: Ruins Preservation in the American Southwest: The Vanishing Treasures Initiative began in FY 1998 to reduce threats to prehistoric and historic sites and structures in 44 parks of the Intermountain Region. In 2002, the program expanded to include three parks in the Pacific West Region. The goal is to reduce backlogged work and to bring sites and structures up to a condition where routine maintenance activities can preserve them. * Wetlands: Wetlands includes marshes, swamps, and bogs. These areas and the plants and animals adapted to these conditions spread from the arctic to the equator. The shrinking wetlands provide habitat for fish and wildlife, help clean water and reduce the impact of storms and floods on the surrounding communities. * Wildland Fire: Fires have been a natural part of park eco-systems. Many plants and some animals require a cycle of fire or flooding to be successful and productive. With the advent of human intervention and public access to parks, there are safety concerns for the visiting public.


Green Park Plan

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


Climate Friendly Parks Program

The Climate Friendly Parks Program is a subset of the Green Parks Plan. It was created in collaboration between the NPS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 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.Climate Friendly Parks, Environmental Leadership Program; National Park Service, Harpers Ferry, WV, 2009 Parks in the program offer public education programs about how the parks are already affected. The CFP program provides climate-friendly solutions to the visiting public, like using clean energy, reducing waste, and making smart transportation choices. The CFP program can provide technical assistance, tools and resources for the parks and their neighboring communities to protect the natural and cultural resources. 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 hybrid electric vehicles, electric hybrids, and substitute diesel-electric, diesel/electric hybrid buses for private automobiles. In 2001 it was estimated that replacement with electric vehicles would eliminate 25 TPY emissions entirely. In 2010, the NPS 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. By 2014, 23 parks had banned disposable water bottles. 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. In July 2015 Rep. Keith Rothfus added a "last-minute" amendment into Congress's appropriations bill, blocking the NPS from funding or enforcing the program. The NPS discontinued its ban on disposable water bottles in August 2017.


Related acts

* Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 *
Antiquities Act The Antiquities Act of 1906, (, , ), is an act that was passed by the United States Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States and consists of the ...
or Lacy Act of 1906 * Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 * Endangered Species Act of 1973 * Endangered Species Act Amendments of 1978 * Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act of 1934 *
Great American Outdoors Act The Great American Outdoors Act (H.R.1957) is a piece of legislation passed by the United States Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States and consis ...
of 2020 * Historic Sites Act of 1935 * Lacey Act of 1900 (Wildlife preservation) * Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 * National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 (NEPA) * National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) * National Park Service General Authorities Act of 1970 *
National Park Service Organic Act The National Park Service Organic ActAn Act to establish a National Park Service, and for other purposes. . (or simply "the Organic Act" within the National Park Service, conservationists, etc.) is a United States federal law The law of the United ...
of 1916 * National Wild and Scenic River of 1968 * Redwood Act (1978), Redwood Act of 1978, creating one protection standard for the System * Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 *
Wilderness Act The Wilderness Act of 1964 () was written by Howard Zahniser of The Wilderness Society (United States), The Wilderness Society. It created the legal definition of wilderness in the United States, and protected 9.1 million acres (37,000 km²) ...
of 1964


See also


People


Individuals

* Ansel Franklin Hall, first Chief Naturalist and first Chief Forester of the NPS * William Kent (U.S. Congressman), donated early parklands to the government * John F. Lacey, congressman from Iowa * Harry Yount, progenitor of the modern national park ranger


Roles

* :United States National Park Service personnel, National Park People * National Park Ranger


Related organizations

* National Park Foundation * National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA)


Other links

* Alt National Park Service * Land and Water Conservation Fund * National Park Passport Stamps * National Park Service Rustic, style of architecture * National Park Service uniforms * National Park Travelers Club * National Park to Park Highway *US Parks Police * United States Senate Committee on Forest Reservations and the Protection of Game * Wilderness preservation systems in the United States *List of World Heritage Sites in the United States


References


Sources

* Albright, Horace M. (as told to Robert Cahn). ''The Birth of the National Park Service''. Salt Lake City: Howe Brothers, 1985. * Albright, Horace M, and Marian Albright Schenck. ''Creating the National Park Service: The Missing Years''. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999. * Dilsaver, Lary M., ed. ''America's National Park System: The Critical Documents''. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1994. * Everhardt, William C. ''The National Park Service''. New York: Praeger, 1972. * Foresta, Ronald A. ''America's National Parks and Their Keepers''. Washington: Resources for the Future, 1985. * Freemuth, John. ''Islands Under Siege: National Parks and the Politics of External Threats''. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1991. * Garrison, Lemuel A;. ''The Making of a Ranger''. Salt Lake City: Howe Brothers, 1983. * Gartner, Bob; ''Exploring Careers in the National Parks''. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. 1993 * Hartzog, George B. Jr; ''Battling for the National Parks''; Moyer Bell Limited; Mt. Kisco, New York; 1988 * Ise, John. ''Our National Park Policy: A Critical History''. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1961. * Lee, Ronald F.; ''Family Tree of the National Park System''; Eastern National Parks, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1972 * Lowery, William. ''Repairing Paradise: The Restoration of Nature in America's National Parks''. Washington: Brookings, 2009 * Mackintosh, Barry. ''The National Parks: Shaping the System''. Washington: National Park Service, 1991. * ''National Parks for the 21st Century; The Vail Agenda''; The National Park Foundation, 1991 * ''National Park Service Almanac'', Edited and Compiled by Ben Moffett and Vickie Carson: Rocky Mountain Region, National Park Service, 1991, revised 2006 * ''The National Parks: Shaping The System''; National Park Service, Washington D.C. 1991. * Rettie, Dwight F.; ''Our National Park System''; University of Illinois Press; Urbana, Illinois; 1995 * Ridenour, James M. ''The National Parks Compromised: Pork Barrel Politics and America's Treasures''. Merrillville, IN: ICS Books, 1994. * Rothman, Hal K. ''Preserving Different Pasts: The American National Monuments''. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989. * Runte, Alfred. ''National Parks, the American Experience'', Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1987. * Sellars, Richard West. ''Preserving Nature in the National Parks: A History''. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997. * Shankland, Robert; ''Steve Mather of the National Parks''; Alfred A. Knopf, New York; 1970 * Sontag, William H.'' National Park Service: The First 75 Years''. Philadelphia: Eastern National Park & Monument Assn., 1991. * Sutter, Paul. 2002. ''Driven Wild: How the Fight against Automobiles Launched the Modern Wilderness Movement''. Seattle: University of Washington press. . * Swain, Donald. ''Wilderness Defender: Horace M. Albright and Conservation''. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970. * Udall, Stewart L., ''The Quiet Crisis''. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1963. * Wirth, Conrad L. ''Parks, Politics, and the People''. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980.


Other sources


Gallery of all US National Parks
(does not include National Park System units of any other designation)
Gallery of National Park "Welcome" Signs

National Park Service Meeting Notices and Rule Changes
from The Federal Registe
RSS Feed


including an administrative history and a list of regional offices of the National Park Service up to 1988
National Park Foundation
the Congressionally chartered national charitable partner of America's National Parks *


External links


NPS official website



National Park Service
in the Federal Register
NPS Research Links/Reference Desk

NPS Library Information Center

NPS Focus Digital Library & Research Station

NPS Historic Photograph Collection





NPS Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS)

Community Assistance Available from the National Park Service




(national monument vs national park, etc.)



from th
National Park Service Archeology Program

National Park Service Records
available in th
Archival Research Catalog
of the National Archives and Records Administration
National Park Service Records available at the National Archives and Records Administration's Atlanta facility

NPS Climate Friendly Parks
{{Authority control National Park Service, Nature conservation in the United States Environmental agencies in the United States Government agencies established in 1916 Land management in the United States Organizations based in Washington, D.C. United States public land law Park police departments of the United States 1916 establishments in the United States National park administrators