The diversity of the parks is reflected in the variety of titles given to them. These include such designations as national park, national preserve, national monument, national memorial, national historic site, national seashore, and national battlefield park.
Although some titles are self explanatory, others have been used in many different ways. For example, the title “national monument” has been given to natural reservations, historic military fortifications, prehistoric ruins, fossil sites, and to the Statue of Liberty.
In recent years, both Congress and the National Park Service have attempted to simplify the nomenclature and to establish basic criteria for use of the different official titles. Brief definitions of the most common titles follow.