The State of America's National Parks

Center for Park Research Report
Published June 2011

The State of America’s National Parks is the culmination of ten years of research on the condition of natural and cultural resources within America’s national parks. The data for this report were gleaned from the Center’s research on 80 national parks. This research uncovered many examples of serious threats to park resources, including impacts from activities occurring on adjacent lands, concerns related to invasive non-native species, insufficient attention given to the stewardship of cultural resources, and a general lack of sufficient staff and funds to care for and interpret park resources. The Center’s work also documented notable National Park Service successes in protecting park resources, such as restoration projects throughout the park system, collaboration with other land managers, and deployment of teams of trained specialists to address resource management issues shared among parks. With the release of this report, these key findings—as well as recommendations for how to address concerns—are now presented in one place.

The State of America’s National Parks includes chapters on natural and cultural resource conditions, Park Service programs and processes that are successfully meeting the challenge of protecting resources, and the benefits of a landscape conservation approach for preserving natural and cultural resources in national parks and in the surrounding landscapes. A series of recommendations indicates ways to address problems the National Park Service faces as the agency strives to meet its responsibility to care for national park resources. The report urges the administration, Congress, and the Park Service to recognize threats to park resources and act on opportunities to defend the natural and cultural resources our national parks are designed to protect.


Watch a short clip on the State of America’s National Parks by Gary Streiker, NBC News.


View and Download Photos

Click here to download hi-res images from Flickr

View Full Report
(PDF, 3MB, 68 pages)

View Executive Summary
(PDF, 974 KB, 16 pages)

View Appendices
(PDF, 264 KB, 23 pages)

Fact Sheet

National Parks You Didn't Know Were at Risk (PDF)


Learn more about the challenges facing our national parks and some of the ways Park Service staff are addressing those challenges. View our interactive map >

Listen to Our Public Service Announcements

Generously recorded by actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, NPCA’s new radio PSAs highlight the long-standing and new threats that are impacting national park sites across the country.

The media is invited to download and use the :30 and :60 second radio spots.

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Download or Share the PSAs at SoundCloud

Media Roundtable Audio
During a roundtable conversation, experts from the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and its Center for Park Research discussed a new report that provides the first ever broad look at how America’s national parks are faring in the face of pollution, invasive species, climate change, energy development, adjacent land development and chronic funding shortfalls.

Press Release

New Report Shows America's National Parks Are in Jeopardy
June 28, 2011


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