The National Park Service is entrusted with managing 88 ocean and Great Lakes parks across 23 states and four territories. Established for their beauty and national significance, these parks conserve over 11,000 miles of coast and 2.5 million acres of ocean and Great Lakes waters, including coral reefs, kelp forests, glaciers, estuaries, beaches, wetlands, historic forts, and shipwrecks. The ocean and coastal parks comprise a system of tremendous ecological and recreational value to the nation. They attract over 90 million visitors each year and generate over $6.9 billion in economic benefits to local communities.
Park managers are confronted with multiple threats to natural and cultural resources from inside and outside of park boundaries. Intense population growth and development, overfishing, climate change, pollution and watershed degradation, shoreline impacts from infrastructure and sea-level rise, invasive species, and recreational overuse are taking their toll on park resources. The NPS has adopted strategies to increase the agency's organizational and scientific capacity to address ocean and coastal issues in partnership with state and federal agencies and local organizations.
Last updated: May 5, 2022