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The National Park Service (NPS) is an
agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution * the abstract principle that autonomous beings, agents, are capable of acting by themselves; see autonomy Abstract principle * Agency (law), a person acting on behalf of another person ...
of the
federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government) is the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories and ...
that manages all
national parks (''Capra ibex'') in the Gran Paradiso National Park, Piedmont, Italy. The Ibex population increased tenfold since the area was declared a national park in 1922., 275x275px A national park is a park in use for conservation purposes, created and p ...
, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. 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 House of Representatives and the Senate. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washingto ...
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 that established the N ...
. 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 2018, the NPS employed approximately 12,363 employees who oversaw
units 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 a theatrical presentation Music * ''Unit'' (album ...
, of which 63 were designated
national parks (''Capra ibex'') in the Gran Paradiso National Park, Piedmont, Italy. The Ibex population increased tenfold since the area was declared a national park in 1922., 275x275px A national park is a park in use for conservation purposes, created and p ...
.


History

Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park is an American national park located in the western United States, largely in the northwest corner of Wyoming and extending into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by ...
was created as the first
national park (''Capra ibex'') in the Gran Paradiso National Park, Piedmont, Italy. The Ibex population increased tenfold since the area was declared a national park in 1922., 275x275px A national park is a park in use for conservation purposes, created and p ...
in the United States. In 1872, there was no
state government A state government is the government of a country subdivision in a federal form of government, which shares political power with the federal or national governme ...
to manage it, so the
federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under a central federal government (federalism). In a federation, the self-governing ...
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 enter ...
and conservationist
Stephen Mather Stephen Tyng Mather (July 4, 1867 – January 22, 1930) was an American industrialist and conservationist who was the first director of the National Park Service. As president and owner of Thorkildsen-Mather Borax Company he became a millionaire ...
, as well as 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, New York, Yard graduated from Princeton University and spent the first twenty years of his career in t ...
, 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 U.S. government. It is responsible for the management and conservation of most federal lands and natural resources, and the administration of programs rel ...
. 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 president of the United States from 1913 to 1921. A member of the Democratic Party, Wilson served as the president of Pri ...
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 that established the N ...
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, businessman, and engineer, who served as the 31st president of the United States from 1929 to 1933. A member of the Republican Party, he held office dur ...

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 Demo ...
, made use of this power after NPS Deputy Director Horace M. Albright suggested that the NPS, rather than the
War DepartmentWar Department may refer to: * War Department (United Kingdom) * United States Department of War (1789–1947) See also * War Office, a former department of the British Government * Ministry of defence * Ministry of War * Ministry of Defence * Dep ...
should manage historic
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between northern states loyal to the Union and southern states that had seceded to form the Confederate States of America. Th ...
sites. President Roosevelt agreed and issued two
executive orders ">wp:caption "Not every image ..."--> An executive order is a means of issuing federal directives in the United States, used by the President of the United States, that manages operations of the federal government. The legal or constitution ...
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 An agriculture ministry (also called an agriculture department, agriculture board, agriculture council, or agriculture agency, or ministry of rural development) is a ministry charged with agriculture. The ministry is often headed by a minister for ...
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 that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—forming two opposing milit ...
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, conservationist, and park service administrator. He served as the director of the National Park Service (NPS) between 1951 and 1964. Wirth was born in Hart ...
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, Wirth began
Mission 66 Mission 66 was a United States National Park Service ten-year program that was intended to dramatically expand Park Service visitor services by 1966, in time for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Park Service. When the National Pa ...
, 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.


Directors


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 epics and national anthems, is part of the language of romantic nationalism, which arose in the late 18th century and 19th centuries. Nationalism is an ideology that supports the nation as the fundamen ...
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 metalwork and jewellery in the regalia of a current or former monarchy. They are often used for the coronation of a monarch and a few other ceremonial occasions. A monarch may often be shown wearing them in portrai ...
". 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 ( ) ( pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, and Appalachian regions of the United States. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland ...
, 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-p ...

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 science museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., features a colossal statue of a seated Benjamin Franklin, American writer, inventor, and statesman. Th ...

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 and signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt on June 8, 1906. This law gives the President of the United States the authority to, by presidential proclamat ...
,
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" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" tit ...
. For example, because of provisions within their enabling legislation,
Congaree National Park Congaree National Park is a American national park in central South Carolina, 18 miles southeast of the state capital, Columbia. The park preserves the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States. The lush tree ...
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, as a wilderness. It might also be called a ''wild'' or ''natural'' area. Especially in wealthier, industrialized nations, ...
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.
Death Valley National Park Death Valley National Park is an American national park that straddles the California–Nevada border, east of the Sierra Nevada. The park boundaries include Death Valley, the northern section of Panamint Valley, the southern section of Eureka Va ...
has an active mine legislated within its boundaries. Such irregularities would not be found in other parks unless specifically provided for with exceptions by the legislation that created them.


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 and signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt on June 8, 1906. This law gives the President of the United States the authority to, by presidential proclamat ...
, 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.


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 ref ...
areas are covered by the US
National Wilderness Preservation System The National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) of the United States protects federally managed wilderness areas designated for preservation in their natural condition. Activity on formally designated wilderness areas is coordinated by the Nation ...
, which protects 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. It created the legal definition of wilderness in the United States, and protected 9.1 million acres (37,000 km²) of federal land. The result of a long ...
(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 areas of seas, oceans, estuaries or in the US, the Great Lakes. These marine areas can come in many forms ranging from wildlife refuges to research facilities. MPAs restrict human activity for a conserva ...
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.


Nomenclature

The NPS uses over 20 different titles for the park units it manages, including ''national park'' and ''national monument''.
National parks (''Capra ibex'') in the Gran Paradiso National Park, Piedmont, Italy. The Ibex population increased tenfold since the area was declared a national park in 1922., 275x275px A national park is a park in use for conservation purposes, created and p ...
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 laccolithic, composed of igneous rock in the Bear Lodge Ranger District of the Black Hills, near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourch ...
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 , managed by the Battle Mountain BLM Field Office , managed by the Boise District of the BLM The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior responsible for administering federal lands. Headq ...
or the Forest Service.
National preserve#REDIRECT national preserve#REDIRECT national preserve {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
s 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 cite.
Big Cypress National Preserve Big Cypress National Preserve is a United States National Preserve located in South Florida, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) west of Miami on the Atlantic coastal plain. The Big Cypress, along with Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas, became t ...
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 region, which has been described as "America's Ark" and the "Biologi ...

Big Thicket National Preserve
were created in 1974 as the first national preserves.
National reserves National may refer to: Common uses * Nation or country ** Nationality – a ''national'' is a person who is subject to a nation, regardless of whether the person has full rights as a citizen ** National (distribution), a type of product or publi ...
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-p ...

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. Examples of these types of parks include
Ford's Theatre Ford's Theater is a theater located in Washington, D.C., which opened in August 1863. It is famous for being the site of the assassination of United States President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. After being shot, the fatally wounded 56-y ...
National Historic Site and
William Howard Taft National Historic Site William Howard Taft National Historic Site is a historic house at 2038 Auburn Avenue in the Mount Auburn Historic District of Cincinnati, Ohio, a mile (1.6 km) north of Downtown. It was the birthplace and childhood home of William Howard Taft, ...
. National historical parks are larger areas with more complex subjects.
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park The Appomattox Court House National Historical Park is a preserved 19th-century village in Appomattox County, Virginia. The village is famous for the site of the Battle of Appomattox Court House, and contains the house of Wilmer McLean, where the ...
was created in 1940.
George Rogers Clark National Historical Park George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, located in Vincennes, Indiana, on the banks of the Wabash River at what is believed to be the site of Fort Sackville, is a United States National Historical Park. President Calvin Coolidge authorized a ...
was dedicated in 1936. Historic sites may also be protected in national parks, monuments, seashores, and lakeshores. National military parks, battlefield parks, battlefield sites, and battlefields preserve areas associated with military history. The different designations reflect the complexity of the event and the site. Many of the sites preserve important Revolutionary War battles and Civil War battlefields. ''Military parks'' are the sites of larger actions, such as
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, located in northern Georgia and southeastern Tennessee, preserves the sites of two major battles of the American Civil War: the Battle of Chickamauga and the Siege of Chattanooga. A detailed his ...
,
Vicksburg National Military Park Vicksburg National Military Park preserves the site of the American Civil War Battle of Vicksburg, waged from March 29 to July 4, 1863. The park, located in Vicksburg, Mississippi (flanking the Mississippi River), also commemorates the greater Vi ...
,
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 Shiloh and Corinth battlefields. The main section of the park is in the unincorporated town of Shiloh, about nine miles (14 km) south of Savannah, Tennessee, with an addition ...
—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 sites around Richmond, Virginia, which served as the capital of the Confederate States of America for most of the war. The park connects certain features within the city with ...
,
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-protected area along Antietam Creek in Sharpsburg, Washington County, northwestern Maryland. It commemorates the American Civil War Battle of Antietam that occurred on September 17, 1862. ...
. 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. The
Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall in Washington, D.C., built to commemorate George Washington, once commander-in-chief of the Continental Army (1775–1784) in the American Revolutionary War and the first President o ...
,
Lincoln memorial The Lincoln Memorial is a US national memorial built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It is on the western end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., across from the Washington Monument, and is in the for ...

Lincoln memorial
, and Jefferson memorials are perhaps the most some of the most well known NPS National Memorials. Like National Monuments, a Memorial may be managed or co-managed by an entity other than the NPS. 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 from Bodie Island to Ocracoke Island, stretching over , and is managed by the National Park Service. Included with ...

Cape Hatteras National Seashore
was created in 1937.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Indiana Dunes National Park is a United States national park located in northwestern Indiana managed by the National Park Service. It was authorized by Congress in 1966 as the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and was redesignated as the nation's ...
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 The Ozark National Scenic Riverways is a recreational unit of the National Park Service in the Ozarks of southern Missouri in the U.S.. The park was created by an Act of Congress in 1964 to protect the Current and Jacks Fork rivers, and it was fo ...
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 (such as
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 ...
) surrounding reservoirs impounded by dams built by other federal agencies. Many of these areas are managed under cooperative agreement with the NPS. Some national recreation areas are in urban centers, because of the recommendations of a presidential commission, the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission (ORRRC). These include
Gateway National Recreation Area Gateway National Recreation Area is a U.S. National Recreation Area in New York City and Monmouth County, New Jersey. It provides recreational opportunities that are not commonly found in a dense urban environment, including ocean swimming, bird ...
and
Golden Gate National Recreation Area The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) is a U.S. National Recreation Area protecting of ecologically and historically significant landscapes surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area. Much of the park is land formerly used by the United St ...
, 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 trails in the United States designated "to promote the preservation of, public access to, tra ...
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 in the Eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine.Gailey, Chris (2 ...
is the best known. National historic trails commemorate the routes of major historic events. Some of the best known are the
Trail of Tears The Trail of Tears was part of a series of forced displacements of approximately 100,000 Native Americans between 1830 and 1850 by the United States government known as the Indian removal. Members of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, C ...
, the
Mormon Trail#REDIRECT Mormon Trail {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
, and the
Santa Fe Trail The Santa Fe Trail was a 19th-century route through central North America that connected Franklin, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. Pioneered in 1821 by William Becknell, who departed from the Boonslick region along the Missouri River, the tr ...
. These trails are administered by several federal agencies.


Visitors

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 federally protected areas including national parks, national monuments, and other protect ...
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, signed by President Donald J. Trump, and activated into Public Law (Public Law No. 116-152) in 2020. It has two major components: fully an ...
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 and Monmouth County, New Jersey. It provides recreational opportunities that are not commonly found in a dense urban environment, including ocean swimming, bird ...
,
Golden Gate National Recreation Area The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) is a U.S. National Recreation Area protecting of ecologically and historically significant landscapes surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area. Much of the park is land formerly used by the United St ...
, and the
National Mall The National Mall is a landscaped park within the National Mall and Memorial Parks, an official unit of the United States National Park System. It is located near the downtown area of Washington, D.C., the capital city of the United States, and i ...
. 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 five operational areas. These areas include:


Resource stewardship

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


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 agency of the United States government established in 1949 to help manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies. GSA supplies products and communications for U.S. governm ...
for building space, postage payments to the postal machine vendor and other direct payments.


Park partnerships

Parterships with external organizations help the NPS in its efforts to preserve and operate its parks. 25 million dollars have been provided for FY 2010. NPS funding for such partnerships require matching grants from individuals, foundations, businesses, and the private sector.


Land and Water Conservation Fund

The NPS
Land and Water Conservation Fund The United States' Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a federal program that was established by Act of Congress in 1965 to provide funds and matching grants to federal, state and local governments for the acquisition of land and water, and e ...
(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 include ...
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.


Construction

This segment of the budget provides for the construction of new facilities or the replacement of aging and unsafe facilities. Additionally, there are funds in the recreation fees, park roads funding, and the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) (), nicknamed the Recovery Act, was a stimulus package enacted by the 111th U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in February 2009. Developed in response to the Grea ...
that provide for other specific facilities/infrastructure work. Additional funds come from the Federal Land Highway Administration for the construction and repair of Park roads.


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 and the National Trust for ...
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.


National recreation and preservation

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


Offsetting reductions and fixed costs in various accounts

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


American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Otherwise known as "stimulus funds", the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) (), nicknamed the Recovery Act, was a stimulus package enacted by the 111th U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in February 2009. Developed in response to the Grea ...
provides funds to restore and preserve major infrastructures within the national parks.


Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, is a $475.0 million proposal included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency budget. The park service will participate through the EPA in restoration activities in those parks that are within the watershed of the
Great Lakes upright=1.3, Location in North America The Great Lakes, also called the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurentian Great Lakes, are a series of large interconnected freshwater lakes in the upper mid-east region of North America that connec ...

Great Lakes
. Activities will include such actions as removal of dumps and fuel spills. Park will monitor mercury, lead, DDT, and other contaminants in six parks on the Great Lakes. Work also includes the removal of invasive species and education on how to prevent their spread. There are YouTube videos about the work being done in this field.


Mandatory spending

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


Employees and volunteers

The NPS employs more than 12,000 people each year. Approximately 221,000 Volunteers-In-Parks contribute about 6.4 million hours of their time to the NPS each year without receiving compensation from the federal government.


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.


Youth programs

The NPS offers a variety of youth oriented programs. They range from the Web Ranger on-line program to many programs in each National Park Unit. The primary work opportunities for youth are through the Youth Corp networks. The oldest serving group is the Student Conservation Association (SCA). It was established in 1957, committed to conservation and preservation. The SCA's goal is to create the next generation of conservation leaders. SCA volunteers work through internships, conservation jobs, and crew experiences. Volunteers conduct resource management, historic preservation, cultural resources and conservation programs to gain experience, which can lead to career development and further educational opportunities. The SCA places volunteers in more than 350 national park units and NPS offices each year. 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 The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a voluntary public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men ages 18–25 and eventually expanded to ages 17–28. Robert Fechner was the fir ...
(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. * Youth Conservation Corps (ages 15–18) ** The Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), bring 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 The Public Land Corps (PLC) is a work and education program for young people that is run by the United States land management agencies in association with state conservation and service corps. The objective is the rehabilitation and restoration of ...
(ages 16–25) ** The Public Land Corps (PLC) is a job helping to restore, protect, and rehabilitate a local national parks. The enrollees learn about environmental issues and the park. A dozen non-profit. * Programs for Boy Scouts (ages 7–18) ** The NPS works with the
Boy Scouts of America The Boy Scouts of America (BSA, colloquially the Boy Scouts) is the largest scouting organization and one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with about 2.3 million youth participants and about one million adult ...
. Members can become a scout ranger and earn a patch. The service formerly participated every four years at the BSA Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. Many scouts have completed their eagle projects in a National Park helping preserve the resources, while furthering the scouting experience. * Programs for Girl Scouts (ages 5–18) **
Girl Scouts , 1918 Image:Christliche Pfadfinder.jpg, Singing Girl Guides in Germany, 2007 Girl Guides (known as Girl Scouts in the United States and some other countries) is a movement found worldwide, which was originally and still largely designed for gir ...
can become a Girl Scout ranger and earn a patch. The NPS works with Girl Scout troops through their ''Linking Girls to the Land''.


Accessibility


Access Pass

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


Service animals

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


Camping

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


Trails

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


Vistas

Parks that are known for their scenic vistas make them available through a variety of designs. Paved overlooks with accessible parking is the most common, and not always identified in written material. Road designs are configured to provide for mountain and landscape vistas from a vehicle. Additional information at "The Disabled Traveler's Companion".


Controversy regarding accessibility

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


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
Wawona Hotel The Wawona Hotel is a historic hotel located within southern Yosemite National Park, in California. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987, and is on the National Register of Historic Places . History to present The Wawona Hotel is ...
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 northwest by Stanislaus National Forest. The park is managed by the Nationa ...
and the
Fort Baker Fort Baker is one of the components of California's Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Fort, which borders the City of Sausalito in Marin County and is connected to San Francisco by the Golden Gate Bridge, served as an Army post until the m ...
Retreat and Conference Center in
Golden Gate National Recreation Area The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) is a U.S. National Recreation Area protecting of ecologically and historically significant landscapes surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area. Much of the park is land formerly used by the United St ...
.
Adaptive reuse Adaptive reuse refers to the process of reusing an existing building for a purpose other than which it was originally built or designed for. It is also known as recycling and conversion. Adaptive reuse is an effective strategy for optimizing the ope ...
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 in the western Sierra Nevada of Central California, bounded on the southeast by Sierra National Forest and on the northwest by Stanislaus National Forest. The park is managed by the Nationa ...
,
Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park is an American national park located in the western United States, largely in the northwest corner of Wyoming and extending into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by ...
, South Rim
Grand Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park, located in northwestern Arizona, is the 15th site in the United States to have been named as a national park. The park's central feature is the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, which is often considered on ...
. * Forever Resorts at
Big Bend National Park Big Bend National Park is an American national park located in West Texas, bordering Mexico. The park has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States, and was named after a ...
,
Blue Ridge Parkway The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and 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 counties, linking Shenando ...
,
Badlands National Park Badlands National Park ( lkt, Makȟóšiča) is an American national park located in southwestern South Dakota. The park protects of sharply eroded buttes and pinnacles, along with the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States. ...
, North Rim of
Grand Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park, located in northwestern Arizona, is the 15th site in the United States to have been named as a national park. The park's central feature is the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, which is often considered on ...
,
Olympic National Park Olympic National Park is a United States national park located in the State of Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula. The park has four regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west-side temperate rainforest, and the forests of the drier e ...
,
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 in west-central Kentucky, encompassing portions of Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system known in the world. Since the 1972 unification of Mammoth Cave with the even-longer system under Fl ...
,
Isle Royale National Park Isle Royale National Park is an American national park consisting of Isle Royale and hundreds of adjacent islands, as well as the surrounding waters of Lake Superior, in the state of Michigan. Isle Royale National Park was established on April 3, ...
, and
Rocky Mountain National Park Rocky Mountain National Park is an American national park located approximately northwest of Denver International Airport in north-central Colorado, within the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The park is situated between the towns of Estes Par ...
. * 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 amphitheaters along the eastern s ...
,
Crater Lake National Park Crater Lake National Park is an American national park located in southern Oregon. Established in 1902, Crater Lake is the fifth-oldest national park in the United States and the only national park in Oregon. The park encompasses the caldera of C ...
,
Death Valley National Park Death Valley National Park is an American national park that straddles the California–Nevada border, east of the Sierra Nevada. The park boundaries include Death Valley, the northern section of Panamint Valley, the southern section of Eureka Va ...
, South Rim
Grand Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park, located in northwestern Arizona, is the 15th site in the United States to have been named as a national park. The park's central feature is the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, which is often considered on ...
,
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 in Keystone, South Dakota. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum ...
, Painted Desert at
Petrified Forest National Park Petrified Forest National Park is an American national park in Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona. Named for its large deposits of petrified wood, the park covers about , encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly erod ...
,
Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park is an American national park located in the western United States, largely in the northwest corner of Wyoming and extending into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by ...
, and
Zion National Park Zion National Park is an American national park located in southwestern Utah near the town of Springdale. A prominent feature of the park is Zion Canyon, which is long and up to deep. The canyon walls are reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandsto ...
.


Litigation with Delaware North

In 2015,
Delaware North Delaware North is a global food service and hospitality company headquartered in Buffalo, New York. The company also operates in the lodging, sporting, airport, gambling and entertainment industries. The company employs over 55,000 people worldw ...
sued the NPS in the
United States Court of Claims United may refer to: Places * United, Pennsylvania, an unincorporated community * United, West Virginia, an unincorporated community Arts and entertainment Films * ''United'' (2003 film), a Norwegian film * ''United'' (2011 film), a BBC Two film ...
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, California, on the floor of Yosemite Valley. It was built by the Yosemite Park and Curry Company and opened for business in 1927. The hotel is constructed from steel, stone, concre ...
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, in the United States. Since its foundation in 1857, ''The Bee'' has become the largest newspaper in Sacramento, the fifth largest newspaper in California, and the 27 ...
'', 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 oper ...
cooperating association. The largest example is
Eastern National Eastern National (also known as EN) is a nonprofit Cooperating Association based in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, that partners with the National Park Service in the United States. It was created by charter in 1948 to "provide quality educational ...
, 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., is the headquarters of the United States Department of the Interior. Located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, ...
, 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 NW in Washington, D.C., and has been the residence of every US president since John Adams in 1800. Th ...
. 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; Dena'ina: ) is a unified municipal consolidated city-borough in the U.S. state of Alaska, on the West Coast of the United States. With an estimated 288,000 residents in 2019, it is Alas ...
,
Atlanta Atlanta () is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia. With an estimated 2019 population of 506,811, it is also the 37th most populous city in the United States. The city serves as the cultural and economic center of ...
, Lakewood, CO (
Denver Denver (), officially the City and County of Denver, is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. State of Colorado. Denver is located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range ...
),
Omaha, NE Omaha ( ) is the largest city in the U.S. state of Nebraska and the county seat of Douglas County. Omaha is in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about north of the mouth of the Platte River (also known as the Nebraska River). ...
,
Philadelphia Philadelphia, colloquially Philly, is a city in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States. It is the sixth-most populous city in the United States and the most populous city in the state of Pennsylvania, with a 2019 estimated population o ...
,
San Francisco San Francisco (/ˌsæn fɹənˈsɪskoʊ/; Spanish for "Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a cultural, commercial, and financial center in Northern California. San Francisco is the 16th most populous city in ...
and
Seattle Seattle ( ) is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. According to U.S. ...
. The headquarters building of the
National Park Service Southwest Regional Office The National Park Service Southwest Regional Office, also known as National Park Service Region III Headquarters Building, is located at 1100 Old Santa Fe Trail in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The office provides support services for Park Service propert ...
is architecturally significant and is designated a
National Historic Landmark A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, district, object, site, or structure that is officially recognized by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance. Only some 2,500 (~3%) of over 90,000 places listed o ...
. The NPS is an operating unit of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The NPS director is nominated by the
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 president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Ar ...
and confirmed by the
United States Senate The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, with the House of Representatives being the lower chamber. Together they compose the national bicameral legislature of the United States. The composition and powe ...
. 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


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 Ranger300px, Park rangers presiding over US Citizenship Ceremony National Park Service rangers are among the uniformed employees charged with protecting and preserving areas set aside in the National Park System by the United States Congress and the Preside ...
** Interpreter ** 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) *
Dispatcher A dispatcher is a communications worker who receives and transmits information to coordinate operations of other personnel and vehicles carrying out a service. A number of organizations, including police and fire departments, emergency medical serv ...
s * Maintenance (including
carpenters Carpenters in an Indian village Carpentry is a skilled trade and a craft in which the primary work performed is the cutting, shaping and installation of building materials during the construction of buildings, ships, timber bridges, concrete fo ...
,
plumbers A plumber is a tradesperson who specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for potable (drinking) water, sewage and drainage in plumbing systems.
, masons, laborers, auto mechanics, motor vehicle operators,
heavy equipment operator 300px, A wheeled front loader at work. This wheeled tractor is equipped with a large bucket, which can be raised or lowered by hydraulic arms. A heavy equipment operator operates heavy equipment used in engineering and construction projects.{{cite b ...
s,
electrician An electrician is a tradesman specializing in electrical wiring of buildings, transmission lines, stationary machines, and related equipment. Electricians may be employed in the installation of new electrical components or the maintenance and r ...
s) * Park planning **
Architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings that ha ...

Architect
s,
Engineer Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are professionals who invent, design, analyze, build and test machines, complex systems, structures, gadgets and materials to fulfill functional objectives and requirements while considering the limita ...
s, and
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, site inventory, site planning, land planning, planting design, grading, storm water manageme ...
s * Resource management (including archeologist,
biologist Francesco Redi, the founder of biology, is recognized to be one of the greatest biologists of all time A biologist is a professional who has specialized knowledge in the field of biology, understanding the underlying mechanisms that govern the fu ...
,
botanist Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek wo ...
, aquatics, soil scientist,
geologist A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid, liquid, and gaseous matter that constitutes the Earth and other terrestrial planets, as well as the processes that shape them. Geologists usually study geology, although backgrounds in physics, che ...
) * History (
curator A curator (from la, cura, meaning "to take care") is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution (e.g., gallery, museum, library or archive) is a content specialist charged with an institution's c ...
s,
historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are con ...
s, preservation technicians, historic architects,
archivist An archivist is an information professional who assesses, collects, organizes, preserves, maintains control over, and provides access to records and archives determined to have long-term value. The records maintained by an archivist can consist o ...
s) * Fire management (managers, weather specialist,
firefighter A firefighter is a rescuer extensively trained in firefighting, primarily to extinguish hazardous fires that threaten life, property, and the environment as well as to rescue people and in some cases or jurisdictions also animals from dangerous ...
s, engine captains, crew superintendents, battalion chiefs) * 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 New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 distributed over about , New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the Unit ...

New York City
(
Federal Hall Federal Hall is a historic building at 26 Wall Street in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City. The name refers to two structures on the site: a Federal style building completed in 1703, and the current Greek Revival-style building c ...
Memorial National Historic Site),
Atlanta Atlanta () is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia. With an estimated 2019 population of 506,811, it is also the 37th most populous city in the United States. The city serves as the cultural and economic center of ...
( Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site), and
San Diego San Diego (, ; ) is a city in the U.S. state of California on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and immediately adjacent to the United States–Mexico border. With an estimated population of 1,423,851 as of July 1, 2019, San Diego is the eighth ...
(
Cabrillo National Monument Cabrillo National Monument ( es, Monumento nacional Cabrillo) is at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego, California, United States. It commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on September 28, 154 ...
) to some of the remotest areas of the continent like
Hovenweep National Monument Hovenweep National Monument is located on land in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, between Cortez, Colorado and Blanding, Utah on the Cajon Mesa of the Great Sage Plain. Shallow tributaries run through the wide and deep canyons into th ...
in southeastern Utah, to Aniakchak National Monument in
King Salmon, Alaska King Salmon is a census-designated place (CDP) in Bristol Bay Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is southwest of Anchorage. As of the 2010 census the population was 374, down from 442 in 2000. It is home to Katmai National Park and Preserve. ...
.


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#REDIRECT Amtrak#REDIRECT Amtrak {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
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 The Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) serves as an interagency law enforcement training body for 105 United States government federal law enforcement agencies. The stated mission of FLETC is to "...train those who protect our homela ...
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.


Special divisions

Other special NPS divisions include the Archeology Program,
Historic American Buildings Survey Heritage Documentation Programs (HDP) is a division of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) responsible for administering the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), and Historic American Landscapes ...
,
National Register of Historic Places The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed i ...
,
National Natural Landmark The National Natural Landmarks (NNL) Program recognizes and encourages the conservation of outstanding examples of the natural history of the United States. It is the only national natural areas program that identifies and recognizes the best exa ...
s, 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 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 trails in the United States designated "to promote the preservation of, public access to, tra ...
, 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 The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) is a research, technology, and training center of the U.S. National Park Service located on the campus of Northwestern State University. Since its founding in 1994, NCPTT has awa ...
, 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 Heritage Documentation Programs (HDP) is a division of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) responsible for administering the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), and Historic American Landscapes ...
/
Historic American Engineering Record Heritage Documentation Programs (HDP) is a division of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) responsible for administering the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), and Historic American Landscapes ...
(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 Heritage Documentation Programs (HDP) is a division of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) responsible for administering the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), and Historic American Landscapes ...
(HABS) was chartered to document historic architecture—primarily houses and public buildings—of national or regional significance. Originally a
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1939. Major federal programs and agencies included the Civilian Con ...
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#REDIRECT American Society of Mechanical Engineers#REDIRECT American Society of Mechanical Engineers {{rcat shell, {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{rcat shell, {{R from other capitalisation ...
(ASME), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the
American Institute of Chemical Engineers The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) is a professional organization for chemical engineers. AIChE was established in 1908 to distinguish chemical engineers as a profession independent of chemists and mechanical engineers. As of 2 ...
(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 signage in Victoria, Australia indicating the shared trail usage A rail trail is the conversion of a disused Rail transport, railway track into a multi-use path, typically for walking, cycling and sometimes horse riding and snowmobiling. The charact ...
, 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 trails in the United States designated "to promote the preservation of, public access to, tra ...
is a joint mission of the NPS, the
Bureau of Land Management , managed by the Battle Mountain BLM Field Office , managed by the Boise District of the BLM The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior responsible for administering federal lands. Headq ...
and the U.S. Forest Service. It was created in 1968 to establish a system of long-distance National Scenic and
National Historic Trail 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 trails in the United States designated "to promote the preservation of, public access to, tra ...
s, as well as to recognize existing trails in the states as
National Recreation Trail 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 trails in the United States designated "to promote the preservation of, public access to, tra ...
s. Several additional trails have been established since 1968, and in 2009 Congress established the first National Geologic Trail.


National Heritage Areas

National Heritage Area A National Heritage Area is a site designated by United States and intended to encourage historic preservation of the area and an appreciation of the history and heritage of the site. There are currently 55 National Heritage Areas, some of which u ...
s 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.


World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for ha ...
s have enough universally recognized natural and cultural features that they are considered to merit the protection of all the peoples in the world. The NPS is responsible for 16 of the 24
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for ha ...
s in the United States. *
Carlsbad Caverns National Park Carlsbad Caverns National Park is an American national park in the Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. The primary attraction of the park is the show cave, ''Carlsbad Cavern''. Visitors to the cave can hike in on their own via the natu ...
, New Mexico *
Chaco Culture National Historical Park Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park in the American Southwest hosting a concentration of pueblos. The park is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a remote can ...
, New Mexico *
Everglades National Park Everglades National Park is an American national park that protects the southern twenty percent of the original Everglades in Florida. The park is the largest tropical wilderness in the United States and the largest wilderness of any kind east o ...
, Florida *
Grand Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park, located in northwestern Arizona, is the 15th site in the United States to have been named as a national park. The park's central feature is the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, which is often considered on ...
, Arizona *
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an American national park in the southeastern United States, with parts in Tennessee and North Carolina. The park straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, whic ...
, Tennessee and North Carolina *
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is an American national park located in the U.S. state of Hawaii on the island of Hawaii. The park encompasses two active volcanoes: Kīlauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world's most ...
, Hawaii *
Independence Hall The Independence Hall is the building where both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted. It is now the centerpiece of the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, P ...
, Pennsylvania *
Kluane Kluane is an electoral district which returns a member (known as an MLA) to the Legislative Assembly of the Canadian territory of Yukon. It is named after Kluane National Park, which is within the riding. It is one of the Yukon's eight rural distri ...
/ Wrangell-St. Elias/
Glacier Bay Glacier Bay Basin in southeastern Alaska, in the United States, encompasses the Glacier Bay and surrounding mountains and glaciers, which was first proclaimed a U.S. National Monument on February 25, 1925, and which was later, on December 2, 1980, ...
/
Tatshenshini-Alsek Park Tatshenshini-Alsek Park or Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Wilderness Park is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada . It was established in 1993 after an intensive campaign by Canadian and American conservation organizations to halt mining exp ...
, Alaska, U.S./ B.C. &
Yukon Yukon (; ; also called Yukon Territory and referred to by some as the Yukon) is the smallest and westernmost of Canada's three territories. It also is the least populated province or territory in Canada, with a population of 35,874 people as of ...
, Canada *
Mammoth Cave Mammoth Cave National Park is an American national park in west-central Kentucky, encompassing portions of Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system known in the world. Since the 1972 unification of Mammoth Cave with the even-longer system under Fl ...
, Kentucky *
Mesa Verde National Park Mesa Verde National Park is an American national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Montezuma County, Colorado. The park protects some of the best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites in the United States. Established b ...
, Colorado *
Olympic National Park Olympic National Park is a United States national park located in the State of Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula. The park has four regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west-side temperate rainforest, and the forests of the drier e ...
, Washington *
Redwood National and State Parks The Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) are a complex of several state and national parks located in the United States, along the coast of northern California. Comprising Redwood National Park (established 1968) and California's Del Norte Co ...
, California *
Statue of Liberty The Statue of Liberty (''Liberty Enlightening the World''; french: La Liberté éclairant le monde, links=no) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor within New York City, in the United States. The copper sta ...

Statue of Liberty
,
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the Northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * ''Ne ...
*
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park The Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is the union of Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada and Glacier National Park in the United States. Both parks are declared Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO and their union as a World Heritage Site. Hist ...
(union of (Canada) and
Glacier A glacier ( or ) is a persistent body of dense ice that is constantly moving under its own weight. A glacier forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. Glaciers slowly deform and flow under stres ...
(U.S.) parks), Montana & Alberta, Canada *
Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park is an American national park located in the western United States, largely in the northwest corner of Wyoming and extending into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by ...
, Wyoming, extending into Montana and Idaho *
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 northwest by Stanislaus National Forest. The park is managed by the Nationa ...
, California


Initiatives

* 24-hr all Taxa BioBlitz: A joint venture of the
National Geographic Society The National Geographic Society (NGS), headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States, is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational organizations in the world. Founded in 1888, its interests include geography, archaeology, and ...
and the NPS. Beginning in 2004, at
Rock Creek Parkway The Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway, often known simply as the Rock Creek Parkway, is a parkway maintained by the National Park Service as part of Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. It runs next to the Potomac River and Rock Creek in a generally n ...
, 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 Rock Creek Park is a large urban park that bisects the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C. The park was created by an Act of Congress in 1890 and today is administered by the National Park Service. In addition to the park proper, the Rock Cree ...
, Washington D.C. 661 species ** 2008:
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a United States national recreation area containing many individual parks and open space preserves, located primarily in the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California. The SMMNRA is in th ...
, Los Angeles, California. 1,700 species and more pending. ** 2009:
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Indiana Dunes National Park is a United States national park located in northwestern Indiana managed by the National Park Service. It was authorized by Congress in 1966 as the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and was redesignated as the nation's ...
, near Chicago in northern Indiana. 1,716 species and still counting. ** 2010:
Biscayne National Park Biscayne National Park is an American national park in southern Florida, south of Miami. The park preserves Biscayne Bay and its offshore barrier reefs. Ninety-five percent of the park is water, and the shore of the bay is the location of an exte ...
, 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 Saguaro National Park is an American national park in Pima County, southeastern Arizona. The park consists of two separate areas—the Tucson Mountain District (TMD) about west of the city of Tucson and the Rincon Mountain District (RMD) about ...
, 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 International Airport in north-central Colorado, within the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The park is situated between the towns of Estes Par ...
, in
Estes Park Estes Park is a statutory town in Larimer County, Colorado, United States. A popular summer resort and the location of the headquarters for Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park lies along the Big Thompson River. Estes Park had a population ...
, In August 2012 489 species were identified. ** 2013:
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve (french: Parc historique national et réserve Jean Lafitte) protects the natural and cultural resources of Louisiana's Mississippi River Delta region. It is named after French pirate Jean Lafitte a ...
, in
New Orleans New Orleans (,New Orleans
Florida Florida (, ) is a state located in the Southeastern region of the United States. With a population of over 21million, Florida is the third-most populous and the 22nd-most extensive of the 50 United States. The state is bordered to the west by ...
, and the 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
marsh A marsh is a wetland that is dominated by herbaceous rather than woody plant species.Keddy, P.A. 2010. Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation (2nd edition). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 497 p Marshes can often be found at t ...
es,
swamp A swamp is a forested wetland.Keddy, P.A. 2010. Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation (2nd edition). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 497 p. Swamps are considered to be transition zones because both land and water play a role in c ...
s, and
bog A bog or bogland is a wetland that accumulates peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses, and in a majority of cases, sphagnum moss. It is one of the four main types of wetlands. Other names for bogs include mire, mosses, quagmire, ...
s. 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 electric hybrids, and substitute diesel/electric hybrid buses for private automobiles. In 2001 it was estimated that replacement with
electric vehicle An electric vehicle (EV) is a vehicle that uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. An electric vehicle may be powered through a collector system by electricity from off-vehicle sources, or may be self-contained with ...
s 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 Association200px, Logo of the International Bottled Water Association. The International Bottled Water Association, or IBWA, is a trade association of companies in the bottled water industry. It promotes bottled water through events such as National Hurricane P ...
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 Keith James Rothfus (born April 25, 1962) is an American politician who served as the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district from 2013 to 2019. He succeeded Democratic Representative Mark Critz, whom he defeated in the ...

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 The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) is a United States federal law signed by President Jimmy Carter on December 2, 1980. ANILCA provided varying degrees of special protection to over of land, including national parks, nati ...
of 1980 *
Antiquities Act The Antiquities Act of 1906, (, , ), is an act that was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt on June 8, 1906. This law gives the President of the United States the authority to, by presidential proclamat ...
or Lacy Act of 1906 *
Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 The Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (; CNRA) was an act passed in the 110th United States Congress and enacted on May 8, 2008. Legislative history The bill was introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, a Democrat and the chairm ...
*
Endangered Species Act The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA or "The Act"; 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq.) is the primary law in the United States for protecting imperiled species. Designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of econo ...
of 1973 *
Endangered Species Act Amendments of 1978 The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was first passed in 1973 and forms the basis of biodiversity and endangered species protection in the United States. The original purpose of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 was to prevent species endangerment ...
*
Fish and Wildlife Coordination ActThe Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA) of the United States was enacted March 10, 1934 to protect fish and wildlife when federal actions result in the control or modification of a natural stream or body of water. The Act provides the basic ...
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, signed by President Donald J. Trump, and activated into Public Law (Public Law No. 116-152) in 2020. It has two major components: fully an ...
of 2020 *
Historic Sites ActThe Historic Sites Act of 1935 was enacted by the United States Congress largely to organize the myriad federally own parks, monuments, and historic sites under the National Park Service and the United States Secretary of the Interior. However, it i ...
of 1935 *
Lacey Act The Lacey Act of 1900, or simply the Lacey Act () is a conservation law in the United States that prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold. Introduced into Congress by Representa ...
of 1900 (Wildlife preservation) *
Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was the first act of the United States Congress to call specifically for an ecosystem approach to wildlife management. Authority MMPA was signed into law on October 21, 1972, by President Richard Nixon an ...
*
National Environmental Policy Act The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a United States environmental law that promotes the enhancement of the environment and established the President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). The law was enacted on January 1, 1970.United ...
of 1970 (NEPA) *
National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA; Public Law 89-665; 54 U.S.C. 300101 ''et seq.'') is legislation intended to preserve historic and archaeological sites in the United States of America. The act created the National Register of Historic ...
(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 that established the N ...
of 1916 *
National Wild and Scenic River The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 (Public Law 90-542), enacted by the U.S. Congress to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-f ...
of 1968 * Redwood Act of 1978, creating one protection standard for the System *
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), enacted in 1976, is the principal federal law in the United States governing the disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste.United States. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. , , ''et seq.,'' ...
of 1976 *
Wilderness Act The Wilderness Act of 1964 () was written by Howard Zahniser of The Wilderness Society. It created the legal definition of wilderness in the United States, and protected 9.1 million acres (37,000 km²) of federal land. The result of a long ...
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 * , congressman from Iowa *
Harry Yount Henry S. Yount (March 18, 1839May 16, 1924) was an American Civil War soldier, mountain man, professional hunter and trapper, prospector, wilderness guide and packer, seasonal employee of the United States Department of the Interior, and the f ...
, progenitor of the modern national park ranger


Roles

* National Park People *
National Park Ranger300px, Park rangers presiding over US Citizenship Ceremony National Park Service rangers are among the uniformed employees charged with protecting and preserving areas set aside in the National Park System by the United States Congress and the Preside ...


Related organizations

*
National Park Foundation The National Park Foundation (NPF) is the official charity of the United States' National Park Service (NPS) and its 418 national park sites. The NPF was chartered by Congress in 1967 to "further the conservation of natural, scenic, historic, scie ...
*
National Parks Conservation Association The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) is the only independent, nonpartisan membership organization devoted exclusively to advocacy on behalf of the National Parks System. Its mission is "to protect and enhance America's National Park ...
(NPCA)


Other links

* Alt National Park Service *
Land and Water Conservation Fund The United States' Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a federal program that was established by Act of Congress in 1965 to provide funds and matching grants to federal, state and local governments for the acquisition of land and water, and e ...
*
National Park Passport Stamps141px, Example of a National Park Passport Stamp for the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area At nearly all of the units of the United States National Park System (and many of the National Park Service's affiliated areas), one or more Nat ...
*
National Park Service Rustic National Park Service rustic – sometimes colloquially called Parkitecture – is a style of architecture that developed in the early and middle 20th century in the United States National Park Service (NPS) through its efforts to create buildings t ...
, style of architecture * National Park Service uniforms *
National Park Travelers Club The National Park Travelers Club (or NPTC) is a non-profit 501(c)7 social club organization. Its mission is to provide networking and recognition opportunities for visitors to America's National Park System. This Club acts to support and expand app ...
* National Park to Park Highway * United States Senate Committee on Forest Reservations and the Protection of Game *
Wilderness preservation systems in the United States The National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) of the United States protects federally managed wilderness areas designated for preservation in their natural condition. Activity on formally designated wilderness areas is coordinated by the Nation ...


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
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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
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National Park Service Records available at the National Archives and Records Administration's Atlanta facility

NPS Climate Friendly Parks
{{Authority control Nature conservation in the United States
Environmental agencies in the United States{{portal, United States, Environment} United States Environmental law in the United States Environmental organizations based in the United States Agencies Environmental policy 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