Natural Science, History, & Culture in the National Capital Region

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.

Aerial view of the eastern boundary of Rock Creek Park, showing the divide between forest and urban development.
Looking south along the eastern boundary of Rock Creek Park where NPS works to protect natural, cultural, and historic resources in an increasingly urban setting.

NPS/Thomas Paradis

NPS Report Libraries & Websites

Cultural Resource Records

Cultural resource staff on foot and in a bucket lift clean the Theodore Roosevelt memorial statue.
Cultural resource staff work with volunteers to carefully clean the Theodore Roosevelt memorial statue on Theodore Roosevelt Island.


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

Communities with connections to parks

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 Collections

Museum Resource Center- National Capital Region- History, Archeology, Natural Resources, and Archives collections.

Natural Resource Data

Man uses a tape to measure the trunk of a large forest tree
The Inventory & Monitoring program monitors forest vegetation every year in parks across the National Capital Region.


Animals, Plants, Air, and Water



  • 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.

About Us

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.

Last updated: March 27, 2023