Discover Cultural Landscapes

"Ocian in view! O! the joy!" William Clark in his journal upon seeing the Columbia River estuary, November 7, 1805

Clark's 1805 Map of the Columbia River shows land, water, and locations.
Capt. William Clark's 1805 map shows the North Shore of the Columbia River, Dismal Nitch, Station Camp, and Cape Disappointment.

NPS Image, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

How do we understand the historic character of a cultural landscape?


We hope that you will visit some of these park cultural landscapes and get to know them for yourself; both those that you immediately connect with, and others that might at first feel a little unfamiliar.

It is also possible to explore cultural landscapes from a distance. Photographs, maps, reports, and other documentation can help provide perspective of the landscape over time.

The photos and reports on these pages represent the history, features, and historic significance of cultural landscapes around the country.
Six people paddle a long canoe through still water.
Canoe paddlers at Netul Landing give contemporary visitors a perspective of the journey taken by the Corps of Discovery.

NPS, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park

Cultural Landscape Photo Galleries and Multimedia: Image collections and videos of cultural landscapes around the country.

Find Your Cultural Landscape: Profiles of park cultural landscapes sorted by region of the National Park Service.

Landscape Features: A cultural landscape blog

Two people dressed in period-era white clothing walk along the ocean shoreline, one carrying two buckets.
Collecting water at the Saltmakers Return, an annual event at Fort Clatsop of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.

NPS Photo

More Resources for Cultural Landscape Exploration

  • National Register of Historic Places - A Cultural Landscape Report identifies landscape characteristics and associated features, values, or associations that make a landscape historically significant, based on National Register criteria. The National Register of Historic Places is an effort to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic resources. This website contains a database of listed properties, the criteria for historic significance and integrity, and guidance on completing a nomination.
  • NPS Focus Digital Library and Research Station - A collection of images, documents, drawings, and maps related to the natural and cultural resources maintained by the National Park Service. Searchable by subject or park, with a research connection to information resources at the National Park Service, other agencies, and university libraries.
  • Multimedia Search - All images and videos at NPS.gov. This link directs to items tagged with "cultural landscape."
  • Teaching with Historic Places - This NPS program uses properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places to introduce a new view of history, social studies, geography, civics, and other subjects. The lesson plans incorporate various resources to help teachers bring historic places into the classroom.
  • Museum Management Program - Publications, lesson plans, online collections, and virtual exhibits connect the public to the experiences held within NPS museum collections.

Last updated: February 2, 2018