What We Do

The National Park System offers spectacular places to experience the beauty and value of America's great waters.

Keeping these places intact or restoring them when damaged is what we do. The National Park Service Organic Act requires us to conserve park resources and values unimpaired for the enjoyment of current and future generations. However, managers of coastal parks are confronting threats from pollution, watershed degradation, overfishing, invasive species, ocean warming, and sea level rise. We are working to protect and restore wildlife, ecosystems, night skies, and natural quiet; increase scientific knowledge; preserve our nation's culture and history; and educate visitors in the face of these challenges.

Nearly half of all American citizens live in coastal counties. As a result, pressures on coastal parks are greater than ever. Park managers and scientists are learning how the ocean responds to local and global changes by studying ocean park ecosystems and cultural landscapes.

With more than 88 million visits per year, protecting the beauty and variety of the 88 ocean and Great Lakes parks requires an equally diverse approach to managing visitor uses. Park managers work to provide access for fishing, boating, swimming, diving, snorkeling, birdwatching, and other activities while conserving the special places that visitors enjoy. More than 180 parks have fishable waters, all of which offer access to a variety of freshwater and saltwater species for recreational fishing.


Last updated: January 26, 2018


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