header image: nps.govUS Department of InteriorNational Park ServiceNational Park Service
Visitors hiking in a park.

The National Park Service is a bureau within the United States Department of the Interior. It is headed by a Director, and the organization consists of a headquarters office, seven regional offices and multiple park and support units. (See organization chart (pdf - 17k))

Headquarters Organization
The headquarters office consists of the Office of the Director and six Associate Directors. It is located in Washington, DC.

The headquarters office provides national level leadership and advocacy; policy and regulatory formulation and direction; program guidance; budget formulation; legislative support; accountability for programs and activities managed by the field and key program offices. It manages Servicewide programs that by their nature can most effectively be carried out from a central location.

The Director, Deputy Directors, Comptroller, Chief Information Officer, Associate Directors, Regional Directors and the Chief, United States Park Police comprise the National Leadership Council. In consultation with the Council, the Director establishes overall policy and strategic direction for the National Park Service, determines the Service's overall legislative goals and strategies, and guides implementation of Servicewide goals and objectives.

National Program Centers are part of the Headquarters office. They provide professional and technical support services to regions and park units. A list of the national program centers and the associate director to whom each reports is listed below.

National Program Center Location
Accounting Operations Center Herndon, VA
Harpers Ferry Center Harpers Ferry, WV
Denver Service Center Denver, CO
National Center for Cultural Resources Washington, DC
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training Natchitoches, LA
National Center for Recreation and Conservation Washington, DC

Field Organization
There are seven regions in the National Park Service. (See map of regions (jpg - 174k)) Each region is headed by a regional director. The regional directors report to a Deputy Director. The regional director is the line manager for all park superintendents within his/her region. The regional director is responsible for strategic planning and direction, policy oversight, and assistance in public involvement, media relations, and strategies for parks and programs within the region. Each regional director serves as the principal authority and spokesperson for the area as a whole and ensures consistency with national policies and priorities. As line manager, the regional director is also responsible for program coordination, budget formulation and financial management.

Park units are the basic management entity of the National Park Service. Each is headed by a superintendent (or park manager) who may be responsible for more than one park unit. Park superintendents report to regional directors. The superintendent manages all park operations to achieve program goals. The superintendent also develops and fosters external partnerships. They direct and control all program activities, including: interpretation and education; visitor services; resource management and protection; facility management; and other administrative functions, such as procurement, contracting, personnel, and financial management. In addition, superintendents are field representatives for all National Park Service programs. The diversity of the parks is reflected in the variety of titles given to them. These include such designations as national park, national preserve, national monument, national memorial, national historic site, national seashore, and national battlefield.