National Park System | Wikipedia audio article
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National Park System | Wikipedia audio article

November 4, 2019


The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency
of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national
monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations.
It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic
Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The NPS is charged
with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted
to its management, while also making them available and accessible for public use and
enjoyment. As of 2018, the NPS employs approximately
27,000 employees who oversee 418 units, of which 60 are designated national parks.==History==National parks and national monuments in the
United States were originally individually managed under the auspices of the Department
of the Interior. The movement for an independent agency to oversee these federal lands was
spearheaded by business magnate and conservationist Stephen Mather, as well as J. Horace McFarland.
With the help of journalist Robert Sterling Yard, Mather ran a publicity campaign for
the Department of the Interior. They wrote numerous articles that praised the scenic
and historic qualities of the parks and their possibilities for educational, inspirational,
and recreational benefits. This campaign resulted in the creation of a National Park Service.
On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill that mandated the agency “to
conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide
for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired
for the enjoyment of future generations.” Mather became the first director of the newly
formed NPS.On March 3, 1933, President Herbert Hoover signed the Reorganization Act of 1933.
The act would allow the President to reorganize the executive branch of the United States
government. It wasn’t until later that summer when the new President, Franklin D. Roosevelt,
made use of this power. Deputy Director Horace M. Albright had suggested to President Roosevelt
that the historic sites from the American Civil War should be managed by the National
Park Service, rather than the War Department. President Roosevelt agreed and issued two
Executive orders to make it happen. These two executive orders not only transferred
to the National Park Service all the War Department historic sites, but also the national monuments
managed by the Department of Agriculture and the parks in and around the capital, which
had been run by an independent office.In 1951, Conrad Wirth became director of the National
Park Service and went to work on bringing park facilities up to the standards that the
public expected. The demand for parks after the end of the World War II had left the parks
overburdened with demands that could not be met. In 1952, with the support of President
Dwight D. Eisenhower, he began Mission 66, a ten-year effort to upgrade and expand park
facilities for the 50th anniversary of the Park Service. New parks were added to preserve
unique resources and existing park facilities were upgraded and expanded.In 1966, as the
Park Service turned 50 years old, emphasis began to turn from just saving great and wonderful
scenery and unique natural features to making parks accessible to the public. Director George
Hartzog began the process with the creation of the National Lakeshores and then National
Recreation Areas.===National Park Service===Since its inception in 1916, the National
Park Service has managed each of the United States’ national parks, which have grown in
number over the years to 60. Yellowstone National Park was the first national
park in the United States. In 1872, there was no state government to manage it, so the
federal government assumed direct control. Yosemite National Park began as a state park;
the land for the park was donated by the federal government to the state of California in 1864
for perpetual conservation. Yosemite was later returned to federal ownership.
At first, each national park was managed independently, with varying degrees of success. In Yellowstone,
the civilian staff was replaced by the U.S. Army in 1886. Due to the irregularities in
managing these national treasures, Stephen Mather petitioned the federal government to
improve the situation. In response, Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane challenged
him to lobby for creating a new agency, the National Park Service, to manage all national
parks and some national monuments. Mather was successful with the ratification of the
National Park Service Organic Act in 1916. Later, the agency was given authority over
other protected areas, many with varying designations as Congress created them.==Directors====
National Park System==The National Park System (NPS) includes all
properties managed by the National Park Service (also, confusingly, “NPS”). The title or designation
of a unit need not include the term park; indeed, most do not. The System as a whole
is considered to be a national treasure of the United States, and some of the more famous
national parks and monuments are sometimes referred to metaphorically as “crown jewels”.
The system encompasses approximately 84.4 million acres (338,000 km²), of which more
than 4.3 million acres (17,000 km²) remain in private ownership. The largest unit is
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. At 13,200,000 acres (53,000 km²),
it is over 16 percent of the entire system. The smallest unit in the system is Thaddeus
Kosciuszko National Memorial, Pennsylvania, at 0.02 acre (80 m²).
In addition to administering its units and other properties, the National Park Service
also provides technical and financial assistance to several “affiliated areas” authorized by
Congress. The largest affiliated area is New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve at 1,164,025
acres (4711 km²). The smallest is Benjamin Franklin National Memorial at less than 0.01
acres (40 m2). Although all units of the National Park System
in the United States are the responsibility of a single agency, they are all managed under
individual pieces of authorizing legislation or, in the case of national monuments created
under the Antiquities Act, presidential proclamation. For example, because of provisions within
their enabling legislation, Congaree National Park is almost entirely wilderness area devoid
of development, yet Yosemite allows unique developments such as the Badger Pass Ski Area
and the O’Shaughnessy Dam within its boundaries. Death Valley National Park has an active mine
legislated within its boundaries. Such irregularities would not be found in other parks unless specifically
provided for with exceptions by the legislation that created them.===Holdings===
For current specifics and a multitude of information, see the Quick Facts section of the NPS website.===Criteria===
Most units of the National Park Service have been established by an act of Congress, with
the president confirming the action by signing the act into law. The exception, under the
Antiquities Act, allows the president to designate and protect areas as National Monuments by
executive order. Regardless of the method used, all parks are to be of national importance.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 our 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 areas are covered by the US National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects
federally managed lands that are of a pristine condition, established by the Wilderness Act
(Public Law 88-577) in 1964. The National Wilderness Preservation System originally
created hundreds of wilderness zones within already protected federally administered property,
consisting of over 9 million acres (36,000 km²). Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) began with Executive
Order 13158 in May 2000, when official MPAs were established for the first time. The initial
listing of U.S. areas was presented in 2010, consisting of areas already set aside under
other legislation. The National Park Service has 19 park units designated as MPAs.==Budget==As of 2016, the National Park Service has
an annual budget of about $3 billion and an estimated $12 billion maintenance backlog.The
National Park Services budget is divided into two primary areas, discretionary and mandatory
spending. Within each of these areas, there are numerous specific purposes to which Congress
directs the services activities. The budget of the National Park Service includes discretionary
spending which is broken out into two portions: the direct operations of the National Parks
and the special initiatives. Listed separately are the special initiatives of the service
for the year specified in the legislation. For Fiscal Year 2010, the service has been
charged with five initiatives. They include: Stewardship and Education; Professional Excellence;
Youth Programs; Climate Impacts; and Budget Restructure and Realignment.===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; i.e., Gateway National Recreation Area,
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and the National Mall. The National Recreation
and Preservation Program and the Urban Park and Recreation Fund are outreach programs
to support state and local outdoor recreational activities.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===
Funds go towards providing for public programs and educational programs for the general public
and school groups. This area is commonly staffed by park rangers, who are trained in providing
walks, talks, and educational programs to the public. There is an increased number of
media specialists, who provide for the exhibits along trails, roads and in visitor contact
facilities, as well as the written brochures and web-sites.===
Park protection===This includes the staff responding to visitor
emergencies (medical and criminal), and the protection of the park’s natural and cultural
resources from damage by those persons visiting the park. The staff includes park rangers,
park police, criminal investigators, and communication center operators.===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===
These costs are bills that are paid directly to outside organizations as part of the logistical
support needed to run the parks. It includes rent payments to the General Services Administration
for building space; postage payments to the postal machine vendor, and other direct payments.===Park partnerships===
These funds support the use of partnerships to achieve park preservation. 25 million dollars
have been provided for FY 2010. These funds require matching grants from individuals,
foundations, businesses, and the private sector.===Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
===The LWCF supports Land Acquisition and State
Conservation Assistance grant programs. The 2010 funds are the beginning of an incremental
process to fully fund LWCF programs at $900 million. The Department of the Interior and
the U.S. Forest Service use these funds to purchase critical lands to protect existing
public lands. Grants will be made to states and local communities to preserve and protect
Civil War battlefield sites that are not part of the national park system. The NPS State
Conservation Assistance program distributes funding to States for land preservation.===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 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
and the Preserve America. 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 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. 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 collected by the National Park Service. Other Permanent
Appropriations includes special funding categories to non-profit and state entities, which have
been assigned to the National Park Service to manage. Miscellaneous Trust Funds includes
funding sources that have been created by the federal government or private citizen,
where the National Park Service or a specific park have been identified as the beneficiaries.
And there is also the L&WCF Contract Authority which is the Land and Water Conservation Fund,
a congressionally created source of revenues, managed by the National Park Service.===Employees and volunteers===
Annually, the NPS employs over 20,000 Americans with an additional 221,000 Volunteers-In-Parks
who contribute about 6.4 million hours annually.===Economic benefits===
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.==Nomenclature==
The National Park Service uses over 20 different titles for the park units it manages, including
national park and national monument. National Parks preserve nationally and globally
significant scenic areas and nature reserves. National Monuments preserve a single unique
cultural or natural feature. Devils Tower National Monument was the first in 1906. National Historic Sites protect a significant
cultural resource that is not a complicated site. Examples of these types of parks include
Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site and William Howard Taft National Historic Site.
National Historical Parks are larger areas with more complex subjects. Appomattox Court
House National Historical Park was created in 1940. George Rogers Clark National Historical
Park was dedicated in 1936. Historic sites may also be protected in national parks, monuments,
seashores, and lakeshores. National Military Parks, Battlefield Parks,
Battlefield Sites, and Battlefields preserve areas associated with military history. The
different designations reflect the complexity of the event and the site. Many of the sites
preserve important Revolutionary War battles and Civil War battlefields. Military parks
are the sites of larger actions, such as Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Vicksburg
National Military Park, Gettysburg National Military Park, and Shiloh National Military
Park—the original four from 1890. Examples of battlefield parks, battlefield sites, and
national battlefields include Richmond National Battlefield Park, Brices Cross Roads National
Battlefield Site, and Antietam National Battlefield. National Seashores and National Lakeshores
offer preservation of the national coast line, while supporting water–based recreation.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore was created in 1937. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, created in 1966, were the first national lakeshores.
National Rivers and Wild and Scenic Riverways protect free-flowing streams over their length.
The riverways may not be altered with dams, channelization, or other changes. Recreational
pursuits are encouraged along the waterways. Ozark National Scenic Riverways was established
in 1964. National Recreation Areas originally were
units (such as Lake Mead National Recreation Area) surrounding reservoirs impounded by
dams built by other federal agencies. Many of these areas are managed under cooperative
agreement with the National Park Service. Now some national recreation areas are in
urban centers, because of the recommendations of a Presidential commission, the Outdoor
Recreation Resources Review Commission (ORRRC). These include Gateway National Recreation
Area and Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which encompass significant cultural as well
as natural resources. The National Trails System preserves long-distance
routes across America. The system was created in 1968 and consists of two major components:
National Scenic Trails are long-distance trails through some of the most scenic parts of the
country. They received official protection in 1968. The Appalachian Trail and the Continental
Divide Trail are the best known. National Historic Trails commemorate the routes of
major historic events. Some of the best known are the Trail of Tears, the Mormon Trail,
and the Santa Fe Trail. These trails are administered by several federal agencies.
National Preserves are for the protection of certain resources. Activities like hunting,
fishing, and some mining are allowed. Big Cypress National Preserve and Big Thicket
National Preserve were created in 1974 as the first national preserves.
National Reserves are similar to national preserves, but the operational authority can
be placed with a local government. New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve was the first to
be established in 1978.==Visitors==
The National Park System receives over 280 million visits each year throughout the 413
units, with over 307 million visitors in 2015. Park visitation (recreational only) grew 64
percent between 1979 and 2015.The 10 most-visited units of the National Park System handle over
28 percent of the visits to the 413 park units. The top 10 percent of parks (41) handle 62.8
percent of all visits, leaving the remaining 372 units to accommodate 37.2 percent of visits. Overnight stays
Over 15 million visitors spent a night in one of the National Park Units during 2015.
The largest number (3.68 million) were tent campers. The second largest group (3.38 million)
stayed in one of the lodges, followed by Miscellaneous stays (on boats, group sites—2.15 million).
The last three groups of over-night visitors included RV Campers (2.26 million), Back country
campers (2.02 million) and users of the Concession run campgrounds (1.42 million). Previous years
of statistics are below. Annually, visitors are surveyed for their
satisfaction with services and facilities provided.Services
Consistently, the highest ranked service has been Assistance from Park Employees (82% very
good, 2007). Facilities
Among facilities, the park Visitor Centers obtain a consistent 70% very good rating (73%
in 2007).==Youth programs==
The National Park Service offers a variety of youth oriented programs. They range from
the Web Ranger 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 (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 (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 National Park Service works with the Boy Scouts of America. 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, 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 can become a Girl Scout Ranger
and earn a patch. The National Park Service works with Girl Scout Troops through their
Linking Girls to the Land.==Accessibility==
Access PassThe Access Pass offers free, lifetime admission to federal areas of the National
Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Tennessee Valley Authority.
Service AnimalsService 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. CampingThe 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. TrailsMany National Park units have fully
accessible trails. Visitors should check the park’s web-site to insure that the trail is
designed to meet their individual needs. Trails may have a compacted gravel surface, paved
with asphalt, or a board walk. Many will have guardrails, others may have a ridge along
the edge, detectable by the visually impaired using a cane and capable of stopping a wheelchair.
Many have no detectable edge when there is a stable surface.
VistasParks 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 National Park Service
felt that these changes, which would increase entrance fees from $25 to $75, were appropriate
because they only targeted the most popular parks, which already have entrance fees. 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 National Park Service 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 National Park Service has numerous concession contracts with private businesses
to bring recreation, resorts and other compatible amenities to their parks. NPS lodging opportunities
exist at places such as the Wawona Hotel in Yosemite National Park and the Fort Baker
Retreat and Conference Center in Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Adaptive reuses like those at Fort Baker, have raised some controversy from concerns
about the historical integrity of these buildings, after extensive renovations and whether such
alterations fall within the spirit and/or the letter of the preservation laws they are
protected by. Delaware North Corporation at Yosemite National
Park, Yellowstone National Park, South Rim Grand Canyon National Park.
Forever Resorts at Big Bend National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Badlands National Park,
North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Olympic National Park, Lake Mead National Recreation
Area, Mammoth Cave National Park, Isle Royale National Park, and Rocky Mountain National
Park. Xanterra Parks & Resorts at Bryce Canyon National
Park, Crater Lake National Park, Death Valley National Park, South Rim Grand Canyon National
Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Painted Desert at Petrified Forest National Park,
Yellowstone National Park, and Zion National Park.===Litigation with Delaware North===
In 2015, Delaware North sued the NPS in the United States Court of Claims for breach of
contract, alleging that the NPS had undervalued its trademarks of the names of iconic Yosemite
National Park concession facilities. When it offered for bid the contract to operate
these facilities, the National Park Service estimated the value of the intangible assets
including the names “Ahwahnee,” “Badger Pass,” “Curry Village,” and “Yosemite Lodge” at $3.5
million. Delaware North lost the contract, and asserted that the historic names were
worth $51 million and maintained that the incoming concessioner had to be paid that
amount. The Justice Department and the NPS asserted that this was an “improper and wildly
inflated” value. Rather than pay Delaware North’s demanded valuation, in January 2016
the NPS instead opted to rename the famous landmarks, effective in March. The Ahwahnee
Hotel is slated to become The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, Curry Village will become Half Dome
Village, and the Wawona Hotel will become Big Trees Lodge. Widespread public outcry
focused on Delaware North’s decision to claim ownership of names within a national park.==Bookstores==
At many Park Service sites a bookstore is operated by a non-profit cooperating association.
The largest example is Eastern National, which runs bookstores in 30 states with 178 stores. Eastern National
Western National Park AssociationPark specific: Crater Lake Natural History Association
Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association Devils Tower Natural History Association Bookstore
Kennesaw Mountain Historical Association Oregon Caves Natural History Association
Yellowstone Association Yosemite Conservancy==
Offices==Headquarters are located in Washington, D.C.,
with regional offices in Anchorage, Atlanta, Lakewood, CO (Denver), Omaha, NE, Philadelphia,
San Francisco and Seattle. The headquarters building of the National Park Service Southwest
Regional Office is architecturally significant and is designated a National Historic Landmark.
The National Park Service is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Director
is nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The
Director is supported by six senior executives. They manage national programs, policy, and
budget from the Washington, DC, headquarters. Under the Deputy Director of Operations are
seven regional directors, who are responsible for national park management and program implementation.
Together this group is called the National Leadership Council.The national office is
located in the Main Interior Building, 1849 C Street NW, several blocks southwest of the
White House. The central office is composed of eleven directorates: Director/Deputy Directors;
Business Services; Workforce Management; Chief Information Officer; Cultural Resources; Natural
Resource Stewardship and Science; Office of the Comptroller; Park Planning, Facilities,
and Lands; Partnerships and Visitor Experience; Visitor and Resource Protection; and the United
States Park Police.==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 National Park Service employs many kinds of workers, as shown below. National Park Service Ranger
Interpreter Law enforcement
Park management (Superintendent/Deputy) United States Park Police
Emergency management (Emergency medical providers, search and rescue specialists)
Dispatchers Maintenance (including carpenters, plumbers,
masons, laborers, auto mechanics, motor vehicle operators, heavy equipment operators, electricians)
Park planning Architects, Engineers, and Landscape architects
Resource management (including archeologist, biologist, botanist, aquatics, soil scientist,
geologist) History (curators, historians, preservation
technicians, historic architects, archivists) Fire management (managers, weather specialist,
firefighters, engine captains, crew superintendents, battalion chiefs)
Public Affairs Administration (human resources, finance,
accountants, information technology, budgeting, concessions management)
Locations are varied. Parks exist in the nation’s larger cities like New York City (Federal
Hall Memorial National Historic Site), Atlanta (Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic
Site), and San Diego (Cabrillo National Monument) to some of the remotest areas of the continent
like Hovenweep National Monument in southeastern Utah, to Aniakchak National Monument in King
Salmon, Alaska.===Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP)===
The Volunteers-In-Parks program was authorized in 1969 by the Volunteers in the Parks Act
of 1969. for the purpose of allowing the public to serve in the nations parks providing support
and skills for their enhancement and protection.Volunteers 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 National Park
Service reported that, …137,000 VIPs contributed 5.2 million hours
of service (or 2500 FTEs) valued at $91,260,000 based on the private sector value figure of
$17.55 as used by AARP, Points of Light Foundation, and other large-scale volunteer programs including
many federal agencies. There are 365 separate volunteer programs throughout the National
Park Service. Since 1990, the number of volunteers has increased an average of 2% per year.
FTE stands for Full Time Equivalency or 1 work year. In 2012, the National Park Service
reported that over 221,000 volunteers contributed about 6.4 million hours annually.Additionally,
other types of volunteers also conduct offsite NPS public outreach and education, such as
the Trails & Rails program guides on board certain segments of long-haul Amtrak routes,
who offer passengers insights to the travel area’s natural resources and heritage.
Artist-In-ResidenceAcross 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.==Law enforcement==The National Park Service commonly refers
to law enforcement operations in the agency as Visitor and Resource Protection. There
are several different types of law enforcement employees including Type I and Type II Law
Enforcement Rangers and Special Agents. The United States Park Police is a unit of the
National Park Service, with jurisdiction in all National Park Service areas and certain
other Federal and State lands. Most Law Enforcement Rangers, Park Police Officers, and Special
Agents receive their training through Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). Type
II Law Enforcement Rangers receive their training through FLETC accredited Seasonal Law Enforcement
Academies.===Jurisdiction===
There are several types of National Park Service jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is set by the enabling
legislation for each individual unit of the NPS and is considered part of the Special
Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction of the United States. Law enforcement on NPS lands
with exclusive jurisdiction is solely conducted by NPS Law Enforcement Rangers (field officers)
or the US Park Police. Many NPS units have concurrent jurisdiction and share law enforcement
authority with their state and/or local county law enforcement agencies. Some National Park
Service units have proprietary or partial jurisdiction where law enforcement authority
for certain serious incidents lies with the state or county. Most NPS units have memorandums
of understanding with outside law enforcement agencies, so that policies are in place when
and if outside agency assistance is needed.===Law Enforcement Rangers===
Uniformed Law Enforcement Rangers, Park Police Officers and Special Agents enforce Federal
laws and regulations governing NPS lands and resources. These personnel can also enforce
some or all state laws on NPS lands. As part of that mission, LEOs carry firearms, defensive
equipment, make arrests, execute search warrants, complete reports and testify in court. They
establish a regular and recurring presence on a vast amount of public lands, roads, and
recreation sites. The primary focus of their jobs is the protection of natural resources,
protection of NPS employees and the protection of visitors. To cover the vast and varied
terrain under their jurisdiction, NPS employees use numerous types of vehicles, horses, aircraft,
UTV/ATV’s, snowmobiles, dirt bikes and boats.===Special Agents===
Special Agents are criminal investigators who plan and conduct investigations as part
of the Investigative Services Branch (ISB) concerning possible violations of criminal
and administrative provisions of the NPS and other statues under the United States Code
and/or Code of Federal Regulations. Special agents can be uniformed or plain clothes officers.
Special Agents often carry concealed firearms, and other defensive equipment, make arrests,
carry out complex criminal investigations, present cases for prosecution to U.S. Attorneys,
and prepare investigative reports. Field agents travel a great deal and typically cover several
NPS units and several states. Criminal investigators occasionally conduct internal and civil claim
investigations.===Laws enforced===
Generally speaking the laws enforced on NPS lands are covered in Title 36 Code of Federal
Regulations. The NPS also enforces United States Code. Title 16 of the United States
Code, Title 18 of the United States Code and Title 21 of the United States Code are enforced
most commonly. The National Park Service generally also has the authority to enforce any state
law not covered already by federal laws under the Assimilative Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. § 13.
However, by policy the National Park Service cannot charge violators with a state offense
that has a harsher penalty than an equivalent federal law already on the books. Commissioned
National Park Service employees must follow all policies outlined in DOI reference manuals
and directors orders in performance of their duties.===United States Park Police===The United States Park Police (USPP) is the
oldest uniformed federal law enforcement agency in the United States. It functions as a full
service law enforcement agency with responsibilities and jurisdiction in those National Park Service
areas primarily located in the Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and New York City areas.
In addition to performing the normal crime prevention, investigation, and apprehension
functions of an urban police force, the Park Police are responsible for policing many of
the famous monuments in the United States and share law enforcement jurisdiction in
all lands administered by the Service with a force of National Park Rangers tasked with
the same law enforcement powers and responsibilities.==Special divisions==Other special NPS divisions include the Archeology
Program, Historic American Buildings Survey, National Register of Historic Places, National
Natural Landmarks, the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, the Challenge
Cost Share Program, the Federal Lands to Parks, the Hydropower Relicensing Program, the Land
and Water Conservation Fund, the National Trails System, the Partnership Wild and Scenic
Rivers Program, and the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division.
CentersThe National Park Service operates four archeology-related centers: Harpers Ferry
Center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, the Midwest Archeological Center in Lincoln, Nebraska,
the Southeast Archeological Center in Tallahassee, Florida and the Western Archeological and
Conservation Center in Tucson, Arizona. The Harpers Ferry Center specializes in interpretive
media development and object conservation. The other three focus to various degrees on
archaeological research and museum object curation and conservation.
National Park Service training centers include: Horace Albright Training Center, Grand Canyon;
Stephen Mather Training Center, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; Historic Preservation Training
Center, Frederick, Maryland and Capital Training Center, Washington, D.C.
The Submerged Resources Center is the unit responsible for inventory and evaluation of
submerged resources throughout the National Park system. The SRC is based out of the Intermountain
Region’s headquarters in Lakewood, Colorado.The National Center for Preservation Technology
and Training, located in Natchitoches, Louisiana, conducts research and training in the fields
of archeology, architecture, landscape architecture and materials conservation. Preservation programs (HABS/HAER) The oldest federal preservation program, the
Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER), produces
graphic and written documentation of historically significant architectural, engineering and
industrial sites and structures. Dating from 1934, the Historic American Buildings Survey
(HABS) was chartered to document historic architecture—primarily houses and public
buildings—of national or regional significance. Originally a New Deal employment/preservation
program, after World War II, HABS employed summer teams of advanced undergraduate and
graduate students to carry out the documentation, a tradition followed to this day. Many of
the structures they documented no longer exist. HABS/HAER produces measured drawings, large-format
photographs and written histories of historic sites, structures and objects, that are significant
to the architectural, engineering and industrial heritage of the U.S. Its 25,000 records are
part of the Library of Congress. HABS/HAER is administered by the NPS Washington office
and five regional offices.Historic American Buildings SurveyIn 1933, the National Park
Service, Department of the Interior, established the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS),
based on a proposal by Charles E. Peterson, Park Service landscape architect. It was founded
as a make-work program for architects, draftsmen and photographers left jobless by the Great
Depression. Guided by field instructions from Washington, D.C., the first recorders were
tasked with documenting a representative sampling of America’s architectural heritage. After
70 years, there is now an archive of historic architecture. HABS provided a database of
primary source material for the then fledgling historic preservation movement.
Historic American Engineering RecordRecognizing a similar fragility in our national industrial
and engineering heritage, the National Park Service, the Library of Congress and the American
Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) formed the HAER program in 1969, to document nationally
and regionally significant engineering and industrial sites. A short while later, HAER
was ratified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Institute of Electrical
and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and
the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (AIME). HAER documentation,
in the forms of measured and interpretive drawings, large-format photographs and written
histories, is archivally preserved in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library
of Congress, where it is readily available to the public.Rivers, Trails and Conservation
Assistance ProgramThe RTCA program of the National Park Service is designed to assist
local communities and the public in preservation of rivers, trails and greenways. Unlike the
mainline National Park Programs, these programs take place on non-federal property at the
request of the local community. One of their better known programs is Rails to Trails,
where unused railroad right-of-ways are converted into public hiking and biking trails.
National Trails SystemThe National Trails System is a joint mission of the National
Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. It was created
in 1968 to establish a system of long-distance National Scenic and National Historic Trails,
as well as to recognize existing trails in the states as National Recreation Trails.
Several additional trails have been established since 1968, and in 2009 Congress established
the first National Geologic Trail. National Heritage AreasNational Heritage Areas
are a unique blend of natural, cultural, historic, and scenic resources. Having developed out
of a shared historic, they create a unique whole. Currently (2015) there are 49 designated
heritage areas.==International affairs==
World Heritage Sites World Heritage Sites have enough universally
recognized natural and cultural features that they are considered to merit the protection
of all the peoples in the world. The National Park Service is responsible for 16 of the
19 World Heritage Sites in the United States.Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico
Everglades National Park, Florida Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Independence Hall, Pennsylvania
Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek Park, Alaska, U.S./ B.C. & Yukon, Canada
Mammoth Cave, Kentucky Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
Olympic National Park, Washington Redwood National and State Parks, California
Statue of Liberty, New York Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
(union of Waterton Lakes (Canada) and Glacier (U.S.) parks), Montana & Alberta, Canada
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, extending into Montana and Idaho
Yosemite National Park, California==
Initiatives==24-hr all Taxa BioBlitz: A joint venture of
the National Geographic Society and the National Park Service. Beginning in 2004, at Rock Creek
Parkway, the National Geographic Society and the National Park Service began a 10-year
program of hosting a major biological survey of ten selected national park units. The intent
is to develop public interest in the nations natural resources, develop scientific interest
in America’s youth and to create citizen scientist. 2007: Rock Creek Park, Washington D.C. 661
species 2008: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation
Area, Los Angeles, California. 1,700 species and more pending.
2009: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, near Chicago in northern Indiana. 1,716 species
and still counting. 2010: Biscayne National Park, Miami, Florida.
810 species were identified during this 24-hr event. As classification continues, more species
will be added to the list. 2011: Saguaro National Park, Tucson, Arizona.
During the 24-hours, 859 different species were identified, of which more than 400 were
previously unknown in the park. 2012: Rocky Mountain National Park, in Estes
Park, In August 2012 489 species were identified. 2013: Jean Lafitte National Historical Park
and Preserve, in New Orleans. The BioBlitz will occur on May 17 and 18, 2013 in the park’s
Barataria Preserve. Biological Diversity: Biological Diversity
is the vast variety of life as identified through species and genetics. This variety
is decreasing as people spread across the globe, altering areas to better meet their
needs. Climate Change: Warming of the climate system
is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean
temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global sea levels. (Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, 2007). South Florida Restoration Initiative: Rescuing
an Ecosystem in Peril: In partnership with the State of Florida, and the Army Corps of
Engineers, the National Park Service is restoring the physical and biological processes of the
South Florida ecosystem. Historically, this ecosystem contained some of the most diverse
habitats on earth. Vanishing Treasures Initiative: Ruins Preservation
in the American Southwest: The Vanishing Treasures Initiative began in FY 1998 to reduce threats
to prehistoric and historic sites and structures in 44 parks of the Intermountain Region. In
2002, the program expanded to include three parks in the Pacific West Region. The goal
is to reduce backlogged work and to bring sites and structures up to a condition where
routine maintenance activities can preserve them.
Wetlands: Wetlands includes marshes, swamps, and bogs. These areas and the plants and animals
adapted to these conditions spread from the arctic to the equator. The shrinking wetlands
provide habitat for fish and wildlife, help clean water and reduce the impact of storms
and floods on the surrounding communities. Wildland Fire: Fires have been a natural part
of park eco-systems. Many plants and some animals require a cycle of fire or flooding
to be successful and productive. With the advent of human intervention and public access
to parks, there are safety concerns for the visiting public.===Green Park Plan===
In September 2010, the NPS released its Climate Change Response Strategy, followed in April
2012 by the Green Parks Plan.====Climate Friendly Parks Program====
The Climate Friendly Parks Program is a subset of the Green Parks plan. It was created in
collaboration between the National Park Service 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. Parks in the program offer public education programs about how the parks
are already affected. The program provides climate friendly solutions to the visiting
public, like using clean energy, reducing waste, and making smart transportation choices.
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 vehicles would eliminate 25
TPY emissions entirely.In 2010, the National Park Service estimated that reducing bottled
water could eliminate 6,000 tons of carbon emissions and 8 million kilowatt hours of
electricity every year. The NPS Concessions office voiced concerns about concessions impacts.By
2014, 23 parks had banned disposable water bottles.
In 2015, the International Bottled Water Association stated the NPS was “leaving sugary drinks
as a primary alternative”, even though the Park Service provides water stations to refill
bottles, “encouraging visitors to hydrate for free.” The Water Association made the
national parks one of its top lobbying targets and in July 2015 Rep. Keith Rothfus added
a “last-minute” amendment into Congress’s appropriations bill, blocking the National
Park Service from funding or enforcing the program. The National Park Service discontinued
its ban on disposable water bottles in August 2017.==Related acts====
See also=====
Areas===List of National Parks of the United States
List of areas in the United States National Park System
List of the United States National Park System official units
National Heritage Area National Memorial
National Monument (United States)===People=======
Individuals====Ansel Franklin Hall, first Chief Naturalist
and first Chief Forester of the National Park Service
William Kent (U.S. Congressman), donated early parklands to the government
John F. Lacey, congressman from Iowa Harry Yount, progenitor of the modern national
park ranger====
Roles====National Park People
National Park Ranger===
Related organizations===National Park Foundation
National Parks Conservation Association===
Other links===Land and Water Conservation Fund
National Park Passport Stamps National Park Service Rustic, style of architecture
National Park to Park Highway National Park Travelers Club
National Park Service uniforms United States Senate Committee on Forest Reservations
and the Protection of Game Wilderness preservation systems in the United
States Alt National Park Service==
Sources==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 Register RSS Feed
Records of the National Park Service, 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 The short film National Parks: An American
Legacy (1992) is available for free download at the Internet Archive

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