National Parks Services

By: Meghan, Amiel, Katie and Aman

Purpose of NPS

  • Conserve scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide enjoyment for the public and leave unimpaired enjoyment for future generations
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How NPS manages land and what kinds of services it oversees

  • Directly overseeing operation is the Department’s (Department of the Interior) Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks

  • Properties are administered in units. The system as a whole is known as a national treasure for the United States, however, a majority of the small reservations are privately owned

  • 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

  • Antiquities Act: first law to establish that archeological sites on public lands are important public resources. It obligates federal agencies that manage the public lands to preserve for present and future generations the historic, scientific, commemorative, and cultural values of the archaeological and historic sites and structures on these lands. It also authorizes the President to protect landmarks, structures, and objects of historic or scientific interest by designating them as National Monuments

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Land Use Practices

  • Before inception of the preserve: hunting, oil and gas extraction, operation of off-road vehicles, private land ownership, cattle grazing by various Native American tribes

  • Now: Hiking, fishing, hunting, canoeing, and research

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Sustainable Practices

  • Laws have been put in place to utilise renewable energy (ex: must get at least 30% of water heating energy from solar power), reduce water usage, and reduce building energy consumption

  • Executive Order 11990 - Protection of Wetlands: NPS must minimize the destruction and degradation of wetlands

  • Executive Order 13653 - Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change: requires NPS to identify opportunities for smarter, more climate-resilient investments

  • Executive Order 13693 - Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade: requires reduction in water consumption, reduces greenhouse gasses emitted by NPS vehicles, movement toward net zero energy, waste, and water for existing NPS buildings by 2025

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Criticisms About NPS' Practices

  • The NPS is politically vulnerable and susceptible to lobbying and special interest groups due to its reliance on both federal and private funding.

  • History is underfunded and less emphasized in comparison to natural resources

  • Environmental critics say that the NPS is not adhering to the Wilderness Act, which calls for the preservation of wilderness areas, where vehicles are prohibited and construction is restricted. Today, only about 5 percent of U.S. land is considered “wilderness”. The NPS has been accused of violating this act by not setting clearly defined boundaries for wilderness areas and not conducting land assessments.

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Goals of Services Provided

  • Enjoyment, education, and inspiration for the public through natural preserves

  • Encouraging public interests in nature

  • Celebrating local heritage and culture

  • To promote and regulate the use of national parks

  • To conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife

  • Increase visitation to natural parks

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Human Interaction Goals

  • Transformative experiences based on human interaction with natural and cultural resources; interaction should both educate and inspire

How Much Land NPS Oversees

  • Manages almost 400 sites in the National Park system

  • Covers 84.6 million acres (3.4% of U.S. land) in every state and the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands

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Laws and policies relevant to management of NPS

  • NPS created on August 25, 1916 by Congress and signed by Woodrow Wilson through the National Park Service Organic Act

  • Antiquities Act (1906): passed by Congress and signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt; gives the President of the U.S. authority to, by presidential proclamation, create national monuments from public lands to protect significant natural, cultural, or scientific features

  • Wilderness Act (1964): passed by Congress and signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson; created the National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects federally managed lands that are of a pristine condition

  • Executive Order 13158 (2000): established Marine Protected Areas (or MPAs), which are protected areas of seas, oceans, or large lakes; MPAs restrict human activity for a conservation purpose, typically to protect natural or cultural resources

  • Land and Water Conservation Fund (1965): created by Congress to safeguard natural areas, water resources, and cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americas

    • National parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, rivers and lakes, community parks, trails, and ball fields were set aside due to federal funds from the LWCF

    • Uses revenues created from offshore drilling for oil and gas to support conservation of land and water

  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2009): provides funds to restore and preserve major infrastructures within national parks

  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (2010): launched to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world, the Great Lakes

    • Includes: cleaning up areas of concern, preventing and controlling invasive species, reducing nutrient runoff that contributes to algae blooms, restoring habitat to protect native species

  • Volunteers in the Parks Act of 1969: authorized the Volunteer-in-Parks program to allow public to serve in national parks, providing support and skills for the parks’ enhancement and protection

  • General Authorities Act of 1970: reiterated US government’s intention to bring all federal parklands, as well as historical monuments and scenic sites, under the management of a single agency

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Where NPS' services are located

  • The NPS manages over 400 places, of which more than 50 are national parks. The other areas include historic monuments, landmarks, and sites of historic importance. The headquarters are located in Washington DC, with regional offices around the country
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How each service fits in the UN international companies

  • National Parks: The NPS manages 59 national parks in the United States, and helps protect and preserve the areas.

  • Habitat/Species Management Areas: Some national parks or areas protected by the NPS help protect threatened or endangered species of plants and animals, as well as to conserve shrinking habitats. Yellowstone is one such example, as it protects the grizzly bear, the gray wolf, and the bald eagle, in addition to countless other organisms.

  • Protected Landscapes and Seascapes: The NPS protects numerous National Seashores and Lakeshores and National Parks that protect landscapes. Cape Hatteras National Seashore was one of the earliest protected shores.

  • National Monuments: Monuments that are protected by the NPS have significant cultural or historic importance. The first protected national monument was Devils Tower National Monument
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