Places of the Past

Abandoned places captivate our imaginations as we stand in the midst of locations once filled with bustling activity. Deserted, these sites stand in silent testimony to our nation’s past and allow us to ponder and appreciate the past. Ghost towns, for example, like those in Death Valley and along Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes, were once thriving towns that have since been abandoned. And while abandoned mineral lands may pose hazards such as old mines and oil wells, buildings and foundations, and equipment and tools, these sites are also important to us today as cultural resources and habitats. Learn more about how the National Park Service is helping to protect and preserve abandoned places entrusted to our care.

Map of the United States showing all units of the National Park System

Find a Park!

Looking to visit a park? Discover the parks where you can learn more.

Last updated: February 5, 2019