National Park Service

The National Park Service (NPS ) is a federal agency in the United States of America in the portfolio of the Ministry of the Interior of the United States, whose task is to manage the U.S. national parks and other conservation areas and memorials. You have responsibility for more than 380 areas in Federal ownership with cultural, historical or scenic paramount importance.

In addition to the more than 50 national parks include additional properties as national monuments, historical parks, monuments, recreation areas, rivers and coastal areas to the administrative area of ​​the National Park Service, ( 336,000 km ²) which together take up an area of ​​over 83 million acres.

The largest park is Wrangell-St Elias National Park in Alaska, the ( 53,000 km ²) makes up 13.2 million acres 16 % of the area managed by NPS. The smallest park is about 80 square meters of the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Pennsylvania.

History and tasks

As a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Park Service was established on 25 August 1916, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson; driving force was the then minister Franklin Knight Lane. The tasks of the National Park Service are to make to the managed places accessible to the public and to preserve the natural landscape and wildlife and historical monuments for future generations.

This idea was first implemented in 1872 with the opening of Yellowstone National Park. It originally was not the nature in the foreground, but the task of creating natural parks for recreation and pleasure of the population. The tourist aspect was also at the forefront, as in the 1930s as part of the New Deal, the Civilian Conservation Corps in many still relatively undiscovered park roads, trails, campgrounds and visitor centers built first. Since the mid-20th century, in addition to protecting ideas and the formation of the visitors won by the actual in the NPS concept of natural and cultural interpretation is becoming increasingly important. The Mission 66 on the 50th anniversary of the NPS presented over nine years about one billion U.S. dollars available with which the visitor facilities and education was expanded. Since 2007, however, significantly less financially equipped Centennial Initiative runs in preparation for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016.

The National Park Service used since 1952 as the Arrowhead logo. The Sequoia tree and bison represent the flora and fauna of the protected areas, the mountains and the water for the landscape and the Arrowhead ( Arrowhead ) for the historical and archaeological protection goods.


The Board of Directors shall be made by an NPS Director, who is appointed directly by the U.S. President. Founding director was Stephen T. Mather ( term 1916-1929 ), the current (18th ) director since September 25, 2009 Jon Jarvis.

Almost every site of the NPS, the Units so called, has a visitor center with museum and full-time rangers. Large units, especially the national parks have their own academic staff. This is to biologists, historians, paleontologists, forest scientists, geologists and members of other disciplines depending on the focus of the area. Thematically and regional matching smaller units share the academic staff in general.

In the large-scale protected areas in the National Park Service exerts itself from the police force, in most areas this is done by Law Enforcement Ranger at the respective location in Washington, DC, the areas of the NPS in New York City and those in and around San Francisco is up this function of the United States Park Police, a special federal police within the NPS.

The National Park Service had in 2009, which since first time this year were special funds from the economic stimulus plan American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a budget of 2.558 billion U.S. dollars a year. Before the budget was set at around 2 billion and it had for decades been no inflation. For this, new areas were added, so that the service must save massive. Professionals will, in particular in the visitor service, increasingly replaced by volunteer volunteers, maintenance of infrastructure is neglected, the entrance fees of the large protected areas have increased steadily from an experimental beginning in 1992.

Types of protected areas

  • National Parks
  • National Monuments ( support in part by other authorities )
  • National Preserve
  • National Historical Park
  • National Historic Sites
  • National Seashores and Lake Shores
  • National Memorial
  • National Battlefield
  • National Cemetery
  • National Recreation Area
  • National River
  • National Parkway
  • National Historic Trail
  • Other associated areas without their own protection status
  • Other locations with a different dedication, for example, the White House and city parks in Washington, DC

In addition, the National Park Service oversees the programs for National Historic Landmarks and National Natural Landmarks and the National Register of Historic Places, the National Heritage Register of the United States. However, these areas are not in Federal ownership in general.