Sustainability in the National Park Service

The National Park Service (NPS) is dedicated to the protection of natural and cultural resources at over four hundred park units across the United States. Within these parks, the NPS must also manage the largest number of constructed assets of any civilian agency in the  federal government, including a range of structures, maintained landscapes, trails, and utility systems.

Since its inception in 1916, the NPS has been a world leader in protecting natural and cultural resources, preserving many of the country's greatest treasures and in the process becoming a model for sustainable resource management - . including sustainable management of facilities and operations to ensure a comprehensive approach to fulfilling an environmental stewardship mission. 

The NPS manages the largest number of constructed assets of any civilian agency in the Federal Government, operating and maintaining more than 67,000 structures spread across over 400 national parks that account for more than 50 million square feet of constructed space (such as visitor centers and historic structures), more than 4 million acres of maintained landscapes (such as campgrounds and battlefields), 17,000 miles of trails, and more than 3,000 utility systems.

image of historic site showing affects of climate change

Climate Change Vulnerability

National Parks conduct Vulnerability Assessments to determine climate change risks to park infrastructure.

The NPS Green Parks Plan features 10 Sustainability Goals including

Green Parks Plan

The NPS Green Parks Plan features 10 goals including "Green Our Rides" to help make park operations more sustainable.

NPS staff attending a meeting about Climate Friendly Parks

Climate Friendly Parks Program

The Climate Friendly Parks (CFP) Program helps parks understand climate change and sustainable operations

Last updated: April 15, 2020