Enjoying National Places   Leave a comment

The US Department of the Interior runs the National Park Service, which is currently charged with protecting our National Parks, National Monuments, National Historical Sites … and a whole lot of other national places. Here’s how Wikipedia describes them:

As of 2012, there are 401 units of the National Park System. However, this number is somewhat misleading. For example: Denali National Park and Preserve is counted as two units, whereas Fort Moultrie is not counted as a unit because it is considered a feature of the Fort Sumter National Monument.

It’s a complex puzzle, with National Preserves sometimes overlapping other areas — like National Parks or National Monuments. State Parks sometimes overlap National Parks. A rose by any other name … may still be a very pretty place. The National Park Service exists to protect and preserve some of our most beautiful, most significant, or most unusual national assets … so here’s a list of the different designations for the, uh, National Places.

International Historical Site: There’s just one, which is St Croix Island, located in Maine.

National Battlefield: The first of four designations for sites where historic battles were fought on American soil during the armed conflicts that shaped the growth and development of the United States. There are 11 of these.

National Battlefield Park: The second of four designations for sites of domestic American battles … there are four of these. They are Kennesaw Mountain NBP, Manassas NBP, Richmond NBP and River Raisin NBP.

National Battlefield Site: The third of four designations for sites of domestic American battles … Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site is very small, and the only area so designated.

National Historical Park: There are 46 of these historical sites, which feature more than the single building or feature that are called National Historical Site.

National Historical Reserve: There’s just one of these, Ebey’s Landing in Washington.

National Historic Site: These usually contain a single historical feature. Sites are owned and operated by the federal government. There are currently 90 of these.

National Lakeshore: There are four, located in Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

National Monument: There are 108 NMs, 80 of which are operated by the National Park Service.

National Military Park: The final of four designations for sites of domestic American battles … there are nine of these. The word “park” is used with the larger sites, it seems.

National Memorial: There are 28 NMs, plus five affiliated NMs that are not operated by the National Park Service.

National Park: There are 59 NPs. Ken Burns said it best: “America’s Best Idea.”

National Preserve: There are 18 National Preserves, which are very similar to National Parks. However, “resource extraction” is allowed from the National Preserves. That would include logging and mining, for example.

National River: Of the 15 rivers that are designated as units by the National Park Service, two have the simple designation of National River.

National Recreation Area: There are 18 NRAs.

National Recreational River: Of the 15 rivers that are designated as units by the National Park Service, two have the designation of National Recreational River.

National Reserve: There are three NRs. The first, designated in 1978, is New Jersey’s Pinelands National Reserve.  It includes portions of seven counties. It includes over one million acres of farms, forests and wetlands. 56 communities – from hamlets to suburbs – with over 700,000 permanent residents.

National Seashore: There are 10 of these.

National Scenic River or Riverway: Of the 15 rivers that are designated as units by the National Park Service, four have the designation of National Scenic River and two have the designation of National Scenic Riverway.

National Scenic Trail: There are three Trails that are a part of the National Park Service system. There are 18 Historic Trails that are not a part of the National Park Service System. All 21 are a part of the National Trails System.

Parkway: There are six National Parkways, and an additional four affiliated areas.

Scenic & Recreational River: Of the 15 rivers that are designated as units by the National Park Service, two have the designation of Scenic & Recreational River.

Wild & Scenic River: Of the 15 rivers that are designated as units by the National Park Service, three have the designation of Wild & Scenic River.

There are 11 other National Park Service units of various designations, notably including the Capitol Mall and the President’s Park adjacent to the White House.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: