News Release

National Natural Landmarks Program reaches 60 years today

Okefenokee Swamp NNL, GA

News Release Date: May 18, 2022


WASHINGTON, DC – Many, but not all of America’s outstanding landscapes are found in national parks. More than 600 of these gems are hiding, some in plain sight, across the U.S. and its territories. They are cared for by public and private land stewards under the umbrella of the National Natural Landmarks (NNL) Program. 

Some NNLs have recognizable names and familiar locations: Diamond Head on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia and the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. Many, many more can be found in quiet corners of America such as Rock City – right near Minneapolis, Kansas. 

May 18 is the 60th anniversary of the National Natural Landmarks Program, a creation of Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall designed to identify and recognize outstanding features that illustrate the geological and ecological story of America. It took two years of nominations and review but in 1964, the program operated by the National Park Service, had its first nine sites. Today there are 602 NNLs nationwide.   

Ray Sauvajot, National Park Service Associate Director for Natural Resources Stewardship & Science said, “Secretary Udall recognized the incredible diversity of America’s natural resources and landscapes, and the landmarks program he created contributes to that story. He also recognized the value of private and public stewardship when it comes to care for these places.” 

Heather Eggleston, National Natural Landmarks Program Director said, “We honor the dedicated stewardship of NNL owners and managers on this 60th anniversary. Their efforts demonstrate the importance of a collaborative approach to conservation.” 

You can find NNLs within city, county or state parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, nature preserves, as well as privately-owned lands. Participation in the program is voluntary and conservation of these areas is accomplished through the dedicated efforts of NNL owners and managers.  

More information about designated sites and how to join the celebration of 60 years of collaborative conservation can be found online at

Last updated: May 18, 2022