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Keeping Track of What The National Park Service Is Up To In Your State


A new Internet feature provided by the National Park Service lets you search the country state-by-state to explore the National Park System...and lots of other Park Service-affiliated sites, such as wild and scenic rivers, historic register sites, or historic trails.

As it continues to improve its web presence, the National Park Service has made it easier for you to find information on the parks in your well as on other Park Service-related entities, such as properties on the national register, or wild and scenic rivers, or historic trails.

To find your home state, or any state that interests you for that matter, simply type in the core url of the Park Service -- -- and follow that forward slash with the name of the state you want to explore. So if you wanted to research Utah, it'd look like this: .

On the resulting landing page you'll find a map of the state dotted with locations of NPS-affiliated sites, whether they be national parks, national monuments, wild and scenic rivers, historic sites, locations on the national register, historic trails, you name it.

Position your cursor over a dot and a box opens explaining what the dot represents. Click on the name, or one of the names, that appears and you'll be taken to a page that provides some background on that specific site.

These pages also offer a list of the Park Service-connected highlights you can find in the specific state you're researching, provide a "by the numbers" breakdown of the Park Service in that state, and even let you add or remove layers of data. So, for instance, if you simply wanted to find the "national parks" in a state and not its battlefields, or national monuments, or projects funded with Land and Water Conservation Funds, you can do that.

This first phase of the project provides details on the following NPS-related programs:

  • Land and Water Conservation Fund
  • American Battlefield Protection Program
  • Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance
  • Save America’s Treasures
  • Preserve America
  • Certified Local Governments
  • Federal Lands to Parks
  • National Register of Historic Places
  • Historic Rehabilitation Tax Incentives.

The bottom line: This is a great resource for doing initial research for a visit.


Too much information!!

Some of those overlays are clearly included to impress members of Congress, especially all the grant layers.  It's nice to have the data online, but it shouldn't dominated the page.  And do we really need to know about certified local governments?

Most frustrating: the disappearing national park units.  Go to Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana.  Now try to find Herbert Hoover, Lincoln Home, and Lincoln Boyhood Home.  What was easy on the old interface is now appallingly difficult.

Bob, true, in some states the NPS overloads one with information. But there is an option to clicking on every single dot to see what's beneath it (if you don't know in general where the site in question is located):

In the upper righthand corner of the map there's a button you can click to get a listing of all the units in question in that state.

When I click on New Jersey and narrow the selection down to National Parks in list view I see my beloved Pinelands National Preserve.  But in map view it is not there.  So what if the Preserve covers just about the whole southern half of the state from Burlington/Ocean counties on down?  I want to see a big honkin' orange button there.

The new "map design" of the states to me is an example of trying to fix something that wasn't broken.  Where Web 2.0 developers get involved and take something easy to read and make it more complicated.  (Just for a point of reference, I am a web product developer.)

99% of the time when looking at the Map view, I want to see the locations of National Parks.  In the past this has been a great reference point as my wife and we plan trips, now it requires a "mouse-over" to determine if there is a park there.

For example, if one looks at the Arkansas map at and wants to know where the 7 National Parks are, one would find it extremely difficult if not impossible to find them.  I urge the NPS to either go back to the way it was, or to provide clickable labels or some other way find the National Park sites.


I don't think I like it at all.  As others have said, "Too Much Information."  This will almost certainly take away much of the usefulness of the website for normal people who just want to learn what they need to know while planning a vacation or short trip.

I note that in Utah, when I clicked off all the extraneous junk in those side boxes, all that was left was the national PARKS.  Timpanogos Cave and Golden Spike aren't there.

How about returning to the older version and putting all this extra stuff in a side box that people may access if they are curious.  Normal people have no need to know which local governments are "certified."  (Whatever that means . . . )  It will probably be only us ABnormal people who are certified NPS nutcases who will have any possible interest there.

I just tried entering the NPS website the traditional way.  It came up with all the boxes I had unchecked still unchecked.  All that was left was national parks.  No national monuments.

But were those boxes unchecked because I'd already done that through Traveler's website?

This will take some more exploring . . . .

Ditto to Jeff's comments (March 15, 11:08 am).  The new maps are a mess!  They have buried the national park units (especially the small ones) so that you can't even find them!  Go back to the way it was! 

I'm in line with everyone else. This is way too difficult. I just want to go to a state and find the parks, all the parks and nothing but the parks. This app might be nice once you're there and want to find a particular site. But for trip planning it's horrendous. Put Google on your smart phone and get back to the way it was.

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