Located in the heart of urban America, Gateway National Recreation Area brings National Park Service programs closer to more people than ever before. It is truly a “gateway” to the national park experience. When Gateway National Recreation Area was added to the National Park System in 1972 it brought a new concept of national public lands. National parks weren’t just ‘out west’ anymore, they were right here at the doorstep of the country’s largest city.
Gateway covers more than 40 square miles in New York and New Jersey. That’s an area nearly twice the size of the island of Manhattan. The park attracts over 9 million visitors a year—making it the third most visited National Park in America. Why does Gateway attract so many people?
The woods, waters and beaches at Gateway are the perfect place for ocean swimming, nature walks, sailing, bicycling, bird watching, camping, astronomy and fishing. In the middle of these natural areas, you can stroll through an historic aircraft hangar or tour forts that reveal important stories in our nation’s history.
All of this natural beauty is surrounded by a metropolitan area that is the nation’s center for media, finance, education and medicine; and it is home to the largest, most diverse population in the United States. Because of this setting, Gateway offers a premiere national park experience to millions of people and engages a multitude of people as partners and stakeholders in the great challenges of the new century. We hope you will join us as we shape the Gateway journey for the next generation.
National parks exist in increasingly complex environments with competing and varied demands placed upon them. The U.S. population is growing older and more diverse, children are spending less time outdoors, and technology is bringing rapid changes. The National Park Service is challenged to stay relevant in a fast paced and ever changing environment. The new General Management Plan will help us build common ground to navigate the years ahead.
What's in a Name?
There are almost 400 national parks in the United States and the diversity of these parks is reflected in the variety of titles given to them. These include such designations as national park, national preserve, national recreation area, national historic site and national monument, to name just a few. Gateway is designated a national recreation area. These are lands and waters set aside for recreational use by acts of Congress and now includes major areas in urban centers, like Gateway National Recreation Area.