Last updated: March 27, 2023
Where Can I Find Out More About My Park?
National Capital Region (NCR) Resource Stewardship & Science (RESS) can support your work interpreting, preserving, and maintaining your park. Use the sources below to learn about research done for the parks in natural science, culture, and history, and where you can find it.
NPS Report Libraries & Websites
- The IRMA Data Store- a large collection of NPS natural and cultural resource reports, articles, and geographic data.
- ETIC (Electronic Technical Information Center)- an NPS repository for planning, drawings, designs, and technical reports.
- NPS Library Information Center
- NCR Cultural and Natural Resources (known as RESS; Resource Stewardship and Science)
- NPGallery- a comprehensive library of NPS images, video, audio, maps, presentations, documents and more.
Cultural Resource Records
Historical summaries and why a place is worth preserving
Timelines and lists of important places and features
Historical photos and maps showing how a place has changed over time
Building plans and histories
How your park started and how it has changed over time
In-depth historical overviews and context
- Historic Resource Studies (parks)
- Special History Studies (local or regional themes)
- National Historic Landmark theme studies
- NPShistory.com- an easy to browse, external site updated with publications listed by park
Communities with connections to parks
- Ethnographic Overview & Assessment reports and Rapid Ethnographic Assessment Projects*
- NCR Anthropology Program
Archeological studies of park lands
*Check with your park cultural resource manager for access since some of these reports are restricted for management use only.
Museum Resource Center- National Capital Region- History, Archeology, Natural Resources, and Archives collections.
Natural Resource Data
Animals, Plants, Air, and Water
- Inventory & Monitoring (I&M), the National Capital Region Network. An NPS in-house, long-term natural resource monitoring team
- Park Species Lists from NPSpecies
- Air and Climate data.
- Environmental and Climate Change
- Stream Water Quality monitoring data.
- Natural Resource Condition Assessments reports evaluate natural resource conditions and trends for a park. Initial chapters often provide environmental and landuse history information
- Forest Vegetation monitoring data
- Invasive Plant Species about the team that manages invasive plants in NCR
- Vegetation Maps plant community maps and related data
- Urban Forests
- Geographic data on population density, road density, generic land cover, impervious surfaces, and more
Other Useful Resources
- NPS ArcGIS Online online gateway to NPS geospatial datasets. Search the Open Data portal for publicly-available GIS data including park boundaries, geology, hydrology, soils, vegetation, and water quality.
- Research Permit and Reporting System (RPRS) information on research projects happening in parks. Investigator Annual Reports show what researchers have done and discovered in parks.
- Park Planning and Environmental Comment park planning and environmental documents, projects that are open for public comment, and park policy documents.
- National Center for Preservation Technology and Training publications focused on tools, materials, and approaches to conserving buildings, landscapes, sites, and collections; advances in science and technology related to cultural resources management.
- Park Science - An NPS journal focused on natural and social science and related cultural research related to park planning, management, and policy.
In the National Capital Region (NCR), cultural and natural resources staff form what’s called the Resource Stewardship and Science directorate (RESS). They support park resource managers, superintendents, and others in making well-informed decisions that impact natural and cultural resources. RESS staff also provide technical assistance, analysis, and evaluation of a wide range of resource management issues in biology, ecology, archeology, history, and preservation.
Ultimately, the work of RESS staff supports the National Park Service mission, by helping parks to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife” of parks, and in finding ways for the enjoyment of these resources that will leave them “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
Learn more about NCR’s RESS directorate online and on the NPS-internal RESS site; and more about the National Capital Region.