From mountain top to sea shore, soaring birds to burrowing badgers, our country is home to thousands of plant and animal species living in over two dozen ecoregions. While there is extensive scientific research, conservation and protection of these natural resources in the national parks, the NPS also works with individuals, organizations, and state, local and tribal governments to preserve these resources in communities all over the country. Since 1916, various laws, regulations, executive orders and policies have directed NPS involvement in conservation efforts on every level through a myriad of programs.
Identifying and Preserving Natural Resources
Since 1968, rivers with outstanding scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other important values may be designated as a Wild & Scenic River. NPS staff help communities manage their river-related resources locally by bringing together state, county, and community representatives to preserve the outstanding and remarkable values for which the rivers were designated.
To protect areas “untrammeled by man,” the National Wilderness Preservation System was established. Four agencies of the Department of Interior manage these Congressionally designated areas: Bureau of Land Management, Fish & Wildlife Service, Forest Service and National Park Service.
The National Trails System is a network of scenic, historic, and recreation trails that provide for outdoor recreation, promote the enjoyment and preservation of outdoor areas and historic resources, and encourage public access and citizen involvement. Over 53,000 miles of trails nationwide have been recognized by this designation. The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is America’s first national water trail.
The National Natural Landmarks Program identifies and recognizes the best examples of biological and geological features in both public and private ownership. One fourth of all NNLs are found in the Northeast Region. Regional staff help to develop nominations for new landmarks and find ways to help owners preserve and protect existing landmarks. Every year there is a NNL Photo Contest with the winning photos appearing in the Annual Event Planner.