We collect no personal information about you when you visit our website unless you choose to provide this information to us. However, we collect and store certain information automatically. Here is how we handle information about your visit to our website.
What We Collect and Store Automatically
If you do nothing during your visit but browse through the website, read pages, or download information, we will gather and store certain information about your visit automatically. This information does not identify you personally. We automatically collect and store only the following information about your visit:
- The Internet domain (for example, "xcompany.com" if you use a private Internet access account, or "yourschool.edu" if you connect from a university's domain) and IP address (an IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to your computer whenever you are surfing the Web) from which you access our website;
- The type of browser and operating system used to access our site;
- The date and time you access our site;
- The pages you visit; and
- If you linked to our website from another website, the address of that website. We use the information we collect to count the number and type of visitors to the different pages on our site, and to help us make our site more useful to visitors like you.
Information Collected for Tracking and Customization (Cookies)
A cookie is a small file that a website transfers to your computer to allow it to remember specific information about your session while you are connected. Your computer will only share the information in the cookie with the website that provided it, and no other website can request it. There are two types of cookies, session and persistent. Session cookies last only as long as your Web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies store information on your computer for longer periods of time.
NPS.gov uses session cookies for technical purposes such as to enable better navigation through the site, or to allow you to customize your preferences for interacting with the site. Like many websites, nps.gov uses "persistent cookie" technology. A persistent cookie is a small text file that this website places on your web browser so that it can gather anonymous summary demographic information, and remember your browser when it is used to visit our site again later—kind of like cookie crumbs! (Hence the name.) These cookies uniquely identify a browser on a computer, but never a person. In other words, if the same person uses Chrome and Internet Explorer, two unique browser cookies will be assigned, one for each browser, so that person will be counted as two different visitors because visits are based on browsers, not computers or persons. We use persistent cookies in two ways, both of which enhance your experience on nps.gov while also protecting your privacy:
- To remember you when your browser comes back to the site, so we don't invite you to take our customer satisfaction survey or receive a newsletter every time you visit.
- To get aggregate metrics on site usage to understand how people are using the site and how we can make it better. We use web metrics services to track activity on nps.gov. Government agencies only ever receive traffic statistics anonymously and in the aggregate.
- To gather anonymous summary demographic information about our visitors such as gender, age range, and areas of interest for adults over the age of 18. We do this by using Google Demographic and Interests reports. When you visit a website that has partnered with the Google Display Network, Google stores a number in your browser using a persistent cookie to remember your visits. This number uniquely identifies a web browser, not a specific person. Browsers may be associated with a demographic category, such as gender or age range, based on the sites that were visited. This demographic information is used to help us better understand our visitors' interests and needs to more effectively develop content to serve you.
Most Internet browsers automatically accept persistent cookies. Although using persistent cookies creates a much better experience for you, this site will also work without them. If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies stored on your machine, you can edit your browser's options to stop accepting persistent cookies or to prompt you before accepting a cookie from the websites you visit.
USA.gov provides instructions for "opting-out" of web measurement and customization technologies, through disabling cookies on your web browser.
If You Send Us E-mail
You may choose to provide us with personal information, as in e-mail with a comment or question. We use the information to improve our service to you or to respond to your request. Sometimes we forward your e-mail to other government employees or authorized concessioners who may be better able to help you. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, we do not share our e-mail with any other outside organizations.
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