INCEPTION OF THE SURVEY
The National Park Service was asked early in 1954 what were the remaining opportunities to preserve outstanding stretches of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts--not only places valuable for their scenic qualities and for public recreation, but areas desirable as sanctuaries for unique or rare plant and animal communities.
The question made us stop to think. About 20 years ago the Service conducted a seashore recreation area survey with emergency funds and was able to identify many important, unspoiled natural areas which seemed deserving of preservation for future public use and enjoyment. But time had passed swiftly; a war had intervened, followed by a period of great economic growth and development. No one seemed to know how far development might have spread up and down the coast as a whole, spilling over into or engulfing the quiet natural areas we had once known.
The National Park Service had neither the personnel nor the funds to answer these questions. But as the result of a generous donation of private funds for the purpose, the Service was able to assemble a small professional staff and undertake an 18-month study of the coast and off-shore islands between the Canadian and Mexican borders.
This report records briefly the history of the survey and attempts to classify the 126 areas which were found--many probably too late.
Last Updated: 25-Jun-2007