Laws & Policies


The National Park Service carries out its responsibilities in parks and programs under the authority of federal laws, regulations, and Executive Orders, and in accordance with policies and Director's Orders established by the Director of the National Park Service and the Secretary of the Interior.

A person wearing a reflective vest that says Police. They are directing traffic.
Park law enforcement directing traffic to a sobriety check point during a holiday weekend.

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Law Enforcement

Padre Island National Seashore is an area of concurrent federal jurisdiction. All NPS law enforcement functions within the park are carried out by commissioned park rangers within the Division of Visitor & Resource Protection who are duly appointed federal law enforcement officers who are authorized to carry firearms, conduct investigations, make arrests and serve warrants pursuant to law and policy. Their duties include law enforcement, emergency medical services, search and rescue, wildland and structural firefighting, as well as visitor safety, assistance, and information.

Along with the federal laws, regulations, and policies listed, commissioned park rangers also have the authority to enforce applicable Texas Statutes.

Code of Federal Regulations and Other Federal Laws

Federal regulations that apply to all National Park Service sites can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations under Title 36. Among the federal laws that are enforced by commissioned park rangers are those within Title 16 of the United States Code (USC) that apply to the National Park System or all federal lands, federal criminal laws within Title 18 USC and various federal drug laws within Title 21 USC.


Superintendent's Compendium

In the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), superintendents of each unit in the National Park System have the option to develop specific designations, closures, permit requirements, and other restrictions to address unique management needs in their park unit. Within the CFR, superintendents are given the authority to amend, modify, relax, or make more stringent certain regulations. These park-specific regulations are incorporated into a document called the Superintendent's Compendium and are an extension of the CFR. These publications help direct the park's management efforts to best serve the mission of the National Park Service and the needs of visitors.


Common Law and Policy Questions

The following are common law and policy questions and the applicable regulations concerning them. This is not an exhaustive list of rules in the park. If you have questions concerning laws or policies, please review the resources above or contact the park


Report a Crime or Suspicious Activity

Emergency: If you have an emergency, please call 9-1-1.

Non-Emergency: For assistance during a non-emergency situation while visiting the national seashore, please call the Kleberg County dispatch center at (361) 595-8500 ext. 1.

The continued protection of our national parks is a job that involves all of us. If you see something suspicious in any National Park Service (NPS) location, or if you have information that could aid an investigation, stay safe and tell us about it. Talk to any NPS employee for help in reporting suspicious activity, or give the Special Agents of the NPS Investigative Services Branch a call or submit a tip online.

NPS Investigative Service Branch Tip Line: (888) 653-0009 (Voice or Text)

Last updated: May 9, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 181300
Corpus Christi, TX 78480


(361) 949-8068
Malaquite Visitor Center information line.

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