From the spectacular mountain ranges and glacier fields of Alaska to the Sonoran deserts of the American Southwest, from the volcanic landscapes of Hawaii to the magnificent barrier islands of the northeastern United States, the National Park Service acts as steward for natural resources that have inspired, awed, and brought enjoyment to visitors for more than a century. Responsible for nearly 80 million acres of public land, the National Park Service preserves and protects some of the world's most scenic and important natural resources.
Unfortunately, many National Park Service units are being subjected to a wide variety of impacts. Air pollution degrades the magnificent views of Grand Canyon, while water quality and quantity problems threaten the delicate aquatic ecosystems in Everglades. Many parks today face urban encroachment; many more suffer from the impacts of excessive visitation. Left unchecked, these factors of change could threaten the very existence of many biotic communities within the parks.
The goal of the National Park Service's Natural Resource Inventory and Monitoring Program is to acquire the information and expertise needed by park managers in their efforts to maintain ecosystem integrity in the approximately 250 National park System units that contain significant natural resources. Sitka National Historical Park is in the process of developing a comprehensive inventory and monitoring program that addresses the specific needs of the unique urban park.