Under Construction

There are many types of public lands.
National Park, National Recreation Area, National Historic Park., National Seashore, National Monument, Wilderness Area.

Federal lands are managed by The Department of Interior (National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or the Bureau of Land Management) and the Department of Agriculture (U.S. Forest Service).

The National Park Service (NPS) was established in 1916.
There were National Parks before the NPS. In 1832 Congress established Hot Springs, Arkansas as a federal Reserve. In 1864 the federal government donated land around Yosemite to the state of California for a state park.
First National parks:
1872 - Yellowstone was the first National Park.
1875 - Mackinac Island, in northern Michigan became the nation's second national park in 1875. It was turned over to the state in 1895.
1890 - Yosemite, Sequoia and General Grant.
    The General Grant Grove is now part of Kings Canyon NP.
1899 - Mt. Rainier #5


National Park Recreational Visits 10/2014 -9/2015
Rnk Park Visits
1 Great Smoky Mountains - NC, TN 10.7 M
2 Grand Canyon - AZ 5.5 M
3 Rocky Mountain - CO 4.2 M
4 Yosemite - CA 4.2 M
5 Yellowstone - WY 4.1 M
6 Zion - UT 3.6 M
7 Olympic - WA 3.3 M
8 Grand Teton - WY 3.1 M
9 Acadia - ME 2.8 M
10 Glacier - MT 2.4 M
11 Cuyahoga Valley - OH 2.3 M
12 Joshua Tree - CA 2.0 M
13 Hawaii Volcanoes - HI 1.8 M
14 Bryce Canyon - UT 1.7 M
15 Hot Springs - AR 1.4 M
16 Arches -UT 1.4 M
17 Shenandoah - VA 1.3 M
18 Mount Rainier - WA 1.2 M
19 Haleakala - HI 1.2 M
20 Death Valley - CA 1.2 M
21 Sequoia - CA 1.1 M
22 Everglades - FL 1.1 M
Rnk Park Visits
23 Badlands 987 K
24 Capitol Reef 926 K
25 Petrified Forest 857 K
26 Saguaro 748 K
27 Canyonlands 628 K
28 Crater Lake 614 K
29 Wind Cave 608 K
30 Mammoth Cave 566 K
31 Denali 560 K
32 Glacier Bay 551 K
33 Mesa Verde 537 K
34 Biscayne 531 K
35 Theodore Roosevelt 519 K
36 Redwood 516 K
37 Kings Canyon 488 K
38 Lassen Volcanic 468 K
39 Carlsbad Caverns 449 K
40 Virgin Islands 420 K
Rnk Park Visits
41 Wolf Trap 408 K
42 Big Bend 355 K
43 Channel Islands 320 K
44 Great Sand Dunes 299 K
45 Kenai Fjords 294 K
46 Voyageurs 239 K
47 Black Canyon of the Gunnison 204 K
48 Pinnacles 204 K
49 Guadalupe Mountains 173 K
50 Great Basin 116 K
51 Congaree 97 K
52 Wrangell-St. Elias 80 K
53 Dry Tortugas 71 K
54 Katmai 38 K
55 North Cascades 22 K
56 Isle Royale 19 K
57 Lake Clark 18 K
58 Gates of the Arctic 11 K
59 Kobuk Valley
Source:
Annual Park Ranking Report for Recreation Visits by Park Type

National Park Service sites with over 1 million visitors
(NP-National Park, NRA-National Recreation Area, NHP-National Historic Park., NS-National Seashore, NM-National Monument, MEM-Memorial)
Rnk Park TypeVisits
(M)
1 Blue Ridge Parkway PKWY 15.1
2 Golden Gate NRA 14.9
3 Great Smoky Mountains NP 10.7
4 Lincoln Memorial MEM 7.9
5 Lake Mead NRA 7.3
6 George Washington MEM PKWY 7.3
7 Gateway NRA 6.4
8 Natchez Trace PKWY 5.8
9 Vietnam Veterans MEM 5.6
10 Grand Canyon NP 5.5
11 World War II MEM 5.1
12 Chesapeake & Ohio Canal NHP 4.8
13 Castle Clinton NM 4.6
14 Cape Cod NS 4.5
15 Independence NHP 4.3
16 Statue of Liberty NM 4.3
17 San Francisco Maritime NHP 4.2
18 Rocky Mountain NP 4.2
19 Yosemite NP 4.2
20 Yellowstone NP 4.1
21 Korean War Veterans MEM 4.1
22 Gulf Islands NS 4.0
23 Delaware Water Gap NRA 3.7
24 Zion NP 3.6
25 Martin Luther King, Jr. MEM 3.5
Rnk Park TypeVisits
(M)
26 Colonial NHP 3.3
27 Franklin Delano Roosevelt MEM 3.3
28 Olympic NP 3.3
29 Chattahoochee River NRA 3.2
30 Grand Teton NP 3.1
31 Thomas Jefferson MEM 3.1
32 Acadia NP 2.8
33 Point Reyes NS 2.5
34 Glen Canyon NRA 2.5
35 Rock Creek Park 2.4
36 Mount Rushmore NMEM 2.4
37 Glacier NP 2.4
38 Cuyahoga Valley NP 2.3
39 Assateague Island NS 2.3
40 Cape Hatteras NS 2.3
41 Boston NHP 2.3
42 Kennesaw Mountain NBP 2.2
43 Valley Forge NHP 2.1
44 Joshua Tree NP 2.0
45 National Capital Parks Central 1.8
46 Hawaii Volcanoes NP 1.8
47 Bryce Canyon NP 1.7
48 Jefferson NEM 1.7
49 Canaveral NS 1.7
50 Indiana Dunes NL 1.6
Rnk Park TypeVisits
(M)
51 Fort Point NHS 1.6
52 World War II Valor in the Pacific NM 1.6
53 Sleeping Bear Dunes NL 1.5
54 San Juan NHS 1.5
55 Buffalo NR 1.5
56 John D. Rockefeller, Jr. MEM PKWY 1.4
57 Hot Springs NP 1.4
58 Arches NP 1.4
59 San Antonio Missions NHP 1.3
60 Shenandoah NP 1.3
61 Ozark NSR 1.3
62 Chickasaw NRA 1.3
63 Amistad NRA 1.3
64 Timucuan EHP 1.2
65 Mount Rainier NP 1.2
66 National Capital Parks East 1.2
67 Haleakala NP 1.2
68 New River Gorge NR 1.2
69 Lake Roosevelt NRA 1.2
70 Death Valley NP 1.2
71 Big Cypress NPRES 1.1
72 Muir Woods NM 1.1
73 Sequoia NP 1.1
74 Gettysburg NMP 1.1
75 Everglades NP 1.1
76 Chickamauga & Chattanooga NMP 1.0
See:
Annual Park Ranking Report for Recreation Visits in: 2015 -
Fiscal Year Visitation Report Fiscal Year 10/1/2014 to 9/30/2015
Spread Sheet with above data.
Number of Park Types
Num Abbr Type
75 NHS National Historic Site
73 NM National Monument
63 NP * National Park
43 NHP National Historic Park
17 NRA National Recreation Area
15 NMEM National Memorial
17 NPRES * National Preserve
10 NB National Battlefield
10 MEM Memorial
9 NMP National Military Park
8 Park Park
Num Abbr Type
4 NSR National Scenic River
4 NL National Lakeshore
4 NBP National Battlefield Park
3 NST National Scenic Trail
2 W&SR Wild and Scenic River
2 PKWY Parkway
2 MEM PKWY Memorial Parkway
2 NRRA National River and Recreation Area
2 NR National River
1 S&RR Scenic & Recreational River
1 EHP Ecological and Historic Preserve
Total: 368 Locations - Some have 2 designations so the total above is greater.
* Some places were both National Parks and National Preserves
Others are National Historic Parks and National Preserves.
List of all
Does not include areas added by President Obama in 2016.
See Obama creates national monuments in Utah, Nevada | TheHill
National Parks with over 1 million visitors per year * National Parks, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Zion, Olympic, Grand Teton, Acadia, Glacier, Cuyahoga Valley, Joshua Tree, Hawaii Volcanoes, Bryce Canyon, Hot Springs, Arches, Shenandoah, Mount Rainier, Haleakala, Death Valley, Everglades, Sequoia
Alaska Parks
* Note: Crater Lake, Badlands, Lassen, Channel Islands, Katmai, Glacier Bay and Denali had less than 1 M visitors but were marked on the NPS map. we also included several National Monuments (NM) that were marked.
See:
Find a Park (U.S. National Park Service)
NPS US Map (pdf)
National Parks | National Forests | Wilderness Areas
National Park
Purpose: The fundamental purpose of National Park Service is "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life 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."

Use: Hunting, commercial fishing, livestock grazing, mining and logging are all strictly prohibited on national park land.

Management: The National Park Service, a bureau of the Department of the Interior.

National Forest
Purpose: To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

Use: These forests and grasslands are open to commercial activities like logging, livestock, as well as recreational activities like camping, hunting, and fishing.

Management: The U.S. Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture.

Wilderness Areas
Purpose: To be eligible for wilderness designation, an area must be at least 5,000 acres large or a roadless island; appear natural with unnoticeable human presence; provide space for recreational activities and solitude; and contain features that are deemed ecologically, scientifically, or historically significant.
Wilderness areas are parts of national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and the public domain.

Use: Unlike national parks, wilderness areas allow regulated hunting. And although wilderness areas prohibit logging, mining, and motorized vehicles, some resource extraction and livestock grazing persists in areas where those activities occurred prior to its wilderness status.

Management: The National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management.

National Recreation Area
Purpose: Twelve NRAs in the system are centered on large reservoirs and emphasize water-based recreation. Five other NRAs are located near major population centers. Such urban parks combine scarce open spaces with the preservation of significant historic resources and important natural areas in locations that can provide outdoor recreation for large numbers of people.

Management: Managed by different agencies, most of which operate within the Department of the Interior or the Department of Agriculture.

River of No Return | National Parks, National Forests, and U.S. Wildernesses | Nature | PBS
Pets in U.S National Parks & Forests | Pet Policy National Parks | Pet Friendly Travel
Presidents - National Monuments
Ever since Theodore Roosevelt used the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish National Monuments (Devils Tower in Wyoming (1906). and the Grand Canyon (1908) were the first two), presidents have continued to preserve land and marine areas this way.

Use:
Comercial: These “existing rights” include previously-existing oil and gas leases; access to private property; valid mining claims; rights of way for roads and utility infrastructure.
Recreation:

  • Hunting and fishing
  • Rafting and boating
  • Horseback riding
  • Camping, Backpacking, Hiking and Biking
  • Riding motorized vehicles on designated routes

During his term as President (1901-1909) Theodore Roosevelt created 150 national forests, 18 national monuments (Two of which, Washington's Olympic and the Grand Canyon became national parks), 5 other national parks and 51 wildlife refuges. A record which stood for almost 100 years.
In recent years, both President Clinton and Obama have outdone him.

National Monuments
Number Desig-
nated
Square
Miles
Obama 29 13,802 †
Clinton 19 7,861
Theodore Roosevelt 18 2,392
Carter 15 84,570
Wilson 13 1,755
Coolidge 13 2,272
Franklin D. Roosevelt 11 2,370
Taft 10 50
Hoover 9 2,127
Harding 8 14
George W. Bush 6 341,865*
Eisenhower 2 8
Kennedy 2 2
Truman 1 2
Johnson 1 51
Nixon 0
Ford 0
Reagan 0
George H.W. Bush 0
† In addition Obama dedicated 751,000 sq mi of marine habitat
* Almost all of George W. Bushes's was Pacific marine habitat
Does not include areas added to existing national monuments.

Large Donors:

Donor                             President      Monument             Acres
William Kent (Congresman)  T. Roosevelt  Muir Woods              295 acres
John D. Rockefeller Jr.    F. Roosevelt  Jackson Hole            222,000 (became part of Grand Teton NP)
Roxanne Quimby (Burt's Bees)  Obama     Katahdin Woods and Waters  87,000
Edgar Wayburn, 5 term president of the Sierra Club got the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Clinton in 1999 for being instrumental in saving over 100 million acres of wilderness.

Links:

NPS.gov Homepage (U.S. National Park Service)
Frequently Asked Questions (U.S. National Park Service)
National Park Service - Wikipedia
Statistical Abstract
The 14 Parks You Can't Get Enough Of . National Parks Conservation Association
100 Years of the National Park Service | story.maps.arcgis.com
National Park Memories | storymaps.esri.com
North America Destinations
Dog Friendly Parks
Yosemite
Grand Canyon
The Presidents and the National Parks - White House Historical Association


Return to Environment

last updated 13 Nov 2016