Protected areas of the United States


Protected areas of the United States

The protected areas of the United States are managed by an array of different federal, state, tribal and local level authorities and receive widely varying levels of protection. Some areas are managed as wilderness while others are operated with acceptable commercial exploitation. By international definitions, the United States had 7448 protected areas, not counting marine areas, as of 2002. These protected areas cover 578,000 square miles (1,500,000 km²), almost 16% of the land area of the United States. [ [http://earthtrends.wri.org/text/biodiversity-protected/country-profile-190.html United States - Biodiversity and Protected Areas - Country Profile ] ] This is also one-tenth of the protected land area of the world. U.S. marine protected areas cover an additional 347,000 square miles (900,000 km²) with varying levels of protection.

Some areas are managed in concert between levels of government. The Father Marquette National Memorial is an example of a federal park operated by a state park system while Kal-Haven Trail is an example of a state park operated by county-level government.

Federal level protected areas

Federal level protected areas are managed by a variety of agencies, most of which are a part of the United States Department of the Interior. National parks, which are managed by the National Park Service are often considered the crown jewels of the protected areas. Other areas are managed by the United States Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is claimed to provide 30 percent of the recreational opportunities on federal lands, mainly through lakes and waterways that they manage.

The highest levels of protection as described by the IUCN, the international conservation agency, are Level I (Wilderness areas) and Level II (National Parks). The United States maintains 12% of Level I and II lands in the world. These lands had a total area of 210,000 square miles (540,000 km²).

A confusing system for naming protected areas results in some types being used by more than one agency. For instance, both the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service operate areas designated "National Preserves" and "National Recreation Areas". Both the NPS and the Bureau of Land Management operate areas called "National Monuments". "Wilderness Areas" are designated within other protected areas managed by various agencies and sometimes wilderness areas span areas managed by multiple agencies.

*List of areas in the National Park System of the United States
*List of National Wild and Scenic Rivers
*List of BLM protected areas
*List of U.S. National Forests, includes National Grasslands
*List of USFS protected areas
*List of U.S. Corps of Engineers protected areas
*List of U.S. marine protected areas
*List of U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
*List of U.S. Wilderness Areas
*List of Biosphere Reserves in the United States

There exist Federal designations of historic or landmark status that may support preservation via tax incentives but do not necessarily convey any protection, including listing on the National Register of Historic Places or designation as a National Historic Landmark. States and local zoning bodies may or may not choose to protect these. [The state of Colorado, for example, is very clear that it does not set any limits on owners of NRHP properties. See [http://coloradohistory-oahp.org/programareas/register/registers.htm "National and state registers", at Colorado Office of Archeology & Historic Preservation] ]

tate level protected areas

Every state has a system of state parks. State parks vary widely from urban parks to very large parks that are on a par with national parks. Some state parks like Adirondack Park are similar to English national parks with numerous towns inside the borders of the park. About half the area of the park, some 3 million acres (12,000 km²), is state-owned and preserved as "forever wild". Wood-Tikchik State Park in Alaska claims to be the largest state park by the definition of contiguous protected area. It is some 1.6 million acres (6500 km²) in size, larger than many U.S. National Parks. Some states operate state game areas and state recreation areas.

* U.S. state parks in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
*List of U.S. state and tribal wilderness areas

Local level protected areas

Various county, city, metropolitan authority, regional park, township, soil conservation district, and other units manage a variety of local level parks. Some of these are little more than picnic areas or playgrounds but others are extensive natural areas. The South Mountain Park/Preserve in Phoenix, Arizona is called the largest city park in the United States. It spans 25 square miles (65 km²) and contains 58 miles (93 km) of trails.

References

External links

* [http://www.blm.gov/nlcs/ National Landscape Conservation System (BLM)]
* [http://www.nps.gov/ National Park Service]
* [http://www.fs.fed.us/ National Forest Service]
* [http://refuges.fws.gov/ National Wildlife Refuge System]
* [http://mpa.gov/inventory/inventory.html U.S. Marine Protected Areas]
* [http://www.nps.gov/rivers/ National Wild and Scenic Rivers]
* [http://www.usace.army.mil/public.html#Recreation U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Recreation]
* [http://digital.library.unt.edu/govdocs/crs/search.tkl?q=%22wildlife+refuge%22&search_crit=fulltext&search=Search&date1=Anytime&date2=Anytime&type=form Read Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports regarding US National Wildlife Refuges]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • List of areas in the United States National Park System — National Park Service logo. The National Park System of the United States is the collection of physical properties owned or administered by the National Park Service. This includes all areas designated National Parks and most National Monuments,… …   Wikipedia

  • Topic outline of the United States — For an alphabetical index of this subject, see the List of United States related articles. The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district. The country is situated mostly in central …   Wikipedia

  • Gun violence in the United States — is associated with the majority of homicides and over half the suicides.cite web |url=http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/suicide.htm |title=Self inflicted Injury/Suicide |publisher=National Center for Health Statistics |accessdate=2006 11 06] cite… …   Wikipedia

  • Economic history of the United States — The economic history of the United States has its roots in European settlements in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The American colonies progressed from marginally successful colonial economies to a small, independent farming economy, which… …   Wikipedia

  • Popular sovereignty in the United States — The American Revolution marked a departure in the concept of popular sovereignty as it had been discussed and employed in the European historical context. With their Revolution, Americans substituted the sovereignty in the person of the English… …   Wikipedia

  • Seacoast defense in the United States — Seacoast defense was a major concern for the United States from its independence until World War II. Before airplanes, America s enemies could only reach her from the sea, making coastal forts an economical alternative to standing armies or a… …   Wikipedia

  • Reconstruction Era of the United States — In the history of the United States, the term Reconstruction Era has two senses: the first covers the entire nation in the period 1865–1877 following the Civil War; the second one, used in this article, covers the transformation of the Southern… …   Wikipedia

  • Native Americans in the United States — This article is about the indigenous people of the United States. For other indigenous people see Indigenous peoples by geographic regions Native Americans …   Wikipedia

  • Concealed carry in the United States — U.S. Firearms Legal Topics Assault weapons ban ATF Bureau Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act Concealed carry in the U.S. Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban …   Wikipedia

  • Gun politics in the United States — Gun politics in the United States, incorporating the political aspects of gun politics, and firearms rights, has long been among the most controversial and intractable issues in American politics.cite book author=Wilcox, Clyde; Bruce, John W.… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.