America's Iconic Landscapes

North Cascades National Park

North Cascades
© iStockphoto

North Cascades National Park is at the heart of one of the largest unaltered landscapes in the continental United States, approximately 3 million acres. It has the largest collection of glaciers in the lower 48 states and is home to rare and endangered species such as the grizzly bear and gray wolf.

NPCA is convening a North Cascades task force with representation from the park, adjacent national forests, and other stakeholders. The task force will create a strategy for improving and repairing roads and trails, enhancing visitor experiences and maintaining healthy wildlife populations.

Working with allies, NPCA is devising strategies to foster the ecosystem connection between North Cascades and the Crown of the Continent along the Canadian border.

Crown of the Continent

Crown of the Continent
© iStockphoto

The Crown of the Continent contains the largest contiguous protected landscape in the lower 48 states. It includes an astounding array of both low- and high-elevation ecosystem types, such as boreal forests, Pacific interior rainforests, alpine tundra, windswept prairie, and savanna. The Crown contains 1,200 species of vascular plants, 300 bird species and 65 native mammals, including wolves, grizzlies, wolverines, lynx, and moose. Because of its size, diverse climates, and abundant wildlife, the Crown presents one of the most promising opportunities to achieve landscape-level conservation and withstand climate change.

NPCA has been the leader of active on-theground conservation efforts in the northern Crown for a decade, building a Canadian- American coalition and engaging nontraditional voices at the community level.

NPCA's victories include persuading British Columbia to forego mining activity in the Flathead River Valley, working with the U.S. and Canadian governments to secure a moratorium on energy development in the ecosystem, and helping to introduce legislation that would permanently protect the North Fork of the Flathead River from development.

Great Lakes

Great Lakes
© iStockphoto

The Great Lakes basin is a unique and complicated ecosystem containing forests, marshes, wetlands, dunes, and more than 3,500 species of plants and animals. They hold one-fifth of the world's freshwater supply, so ensuring their health is of the utmost importance.

For the last five years, NPCA has co-chaired a coalition of 115 member organizations - Healing Our Waters – advocating for federal funding and Great Lakes restoration policy. Our efforts have secured new funding for EPA, the NPS, and regional nonprofits to restore the land and waters of the region

NPCA is also working to protect the eight national parks in the Great Lakes Region. At Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore we are working with students and researchers to restore the Great Marsh, to eradicate invasive species and improve Lake Michigan water quality.

Maine Woods

Maine Woods
© iStockphoto

The 10-million-acre Maine Woods contains most of New England's old-growth forest, vast tracts of second-growth forests, wild rivers, lakes, and wetlands. The Maine Woods is a premier reservoir of biological diversity, providing habitat for moose, Canada lynx, marten, fisher, bobcat, red fox, weasels and much more.

NPCA is supporting local efforts to create a new national park, adjacent to Baxter State Park, protecting 10–20 percent of Maine's North Woods. The new park would help preserve the region's unique biotic fabric, strengthen the region's economy, and continue to provide unsurpassed recreational opportunities.

A Maine Woods national park would be a crucial stepping stone in the connectivity of the northeast's boreal woods, which stretch from the Adirondacks northeast through the Green and White Mountains, through the North Woods, to the Acadian Highlands of Nova Scotia and the woods south of the St. Lawrence seaway.

California Desert

California Desert
© iStockphoto

The California desert national parks are places of remarkable biodiversity, stunning scenery, and outstanding recreational opportunities. They encompass almost 6 million acres and contain excellent examples of the Mojave, Sonoran and Great Basin Desert ecosystems.

NPCA is working to add 74,000 acres to California desert national parks, which will conserve habitat, and protect biologically diverse landscapes, ensuring they stay connected. NPCA is advocating for desert aquatic ecosystems, a rare and essential habitat, by supporting legislation to add desert streams to the Wild and Scenic River system.

NPCA is active in protecting landscapes like the proposed Sand-to-Snow and Mojave Trails National Monuments which preserve critical wildlife corridors between the desert scrub and snowcapped San Bernardino Mountains, as well as between Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve.

Colorado River

Colorado River
© iStockphoto

Ten national park units lie along the Colorado River and its tributaries, including icons like Rocky Mountain, Grand Canyon, and Canyonlands national parks. The human demand for dams and diversions has fundamentally changed ecological and environmental processes by destroying habitats, creating unnatural flow, trapping sediments, and altering natural water temperatures.

In 2011 NPCA produced a seminal assessment of this river system, with policy recommendations, economic analysis of parks on the river, and analysis of hydropower and its impact on parks. We are working with regional and national organizations to implement a reform agenda to protect the regions' natural and cultural resources.

NPCA is also working to protect the remarkable landscape surrounding Canyonlands National Park by challenging oil and gas leases that threaten the viewsheds, air and water quality of the park, potential tar-sands development, and destructive use of off-road vehicles.

Southern Appalachians

Southern Appalachians
© iStockphoto

The Southern Appalachian region, which contains Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, the Obed Wild and Scenic River, and other park units, is one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet, and home to some of the largest remaining forestland in the eastern U.S.

NPCA has a multi-pronged campaign to stop mountaintop coal mining from devastating the mountainous headwaters area upstream from Big South Fork National Recreation Area. NPCA is taking legal action and working with policymakers to permanently protect more than 500 miles of ridgelines upstream from the park.

NPCA prevented Georgia's Department of Transportation from building a highway through an historic area called the Ocmulgee Old Fields, directly adjacent to Ocmulgee National Monument. We are now working to build support for preserving this biologically and culturally significant corridor.

Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Bay
© iStockphoto

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in North America, stretching 180 miles, with 12,000+ miles of shoreline, and a 64,000-square-mile watershed. The Bay supports more than 3,600 species of plants and animals. The more than 16 million people living in the region create pressures that threaten the health of the Bay.

With many Bay headwaters originating in national parks like Shenandoah, NPCA is a founding member of the "Choose Clean Water Campaign," a coalition advocating for federal policies to protect and restore local water-quality at dozens of national parks in the region and in the Chesapeake Bay.

NPCA is working to leverage the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail to achieve conservation along the shoreline. We are leading a coalition to protect the natural, historic, and cultural values of Fort Monroe and the 565-acre Old Point Comfort peninsula at the mouth of the James River where it enters the Bay.

Gateway -New York Harbor

Gateway -New York Harbor
© iStockphoto

Gateway National Recreation Area in the New York-New Jersey Harbor is at the juncture of key coastal avian migration routes and it is a nexus where major river systems meet the Atlantic Ocean. Development in the area has left little room for native and migratory species, so every open space serves as a critical ecological stepping stone, offering food and safety to passing species.

NPCA is advocating for the realization of New York City's Floyd Bennett Field, a portion of Gateway, as an iconic urban national park that would bring the region's millions of school children, residents and visitors in touch with nature as well as with the site's aviation history.

NPCA is also co-leading a coalition of park friends, community, and environmental justice groups to build support for the restoration of the NY/NJ Harbor, which includes and surrounds Gateway NRA.

Santa Monica Mountains

Santa Monica Mountains
© iStockphoto

The 150,000 acre Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a biologically diverse gem. It is one of the largest protected areas of Mediterranean-type ecosystems in the world and has more than 1,000 plant species and 500 mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian species.

NPCA is advocating for funding to add Ramirez Canyon to the recreation area, a 110-acre parcel that has oak woodlands and wildlife such as deer, coyote, and mountain lion.

NPCA secured almost 1,000 comments for a study urging the Park Service to expand Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by 500,000 acres to protect wildlife corridors and examine the feasibility of public transportation to help residents access open space.

Big Bend

Big Bend
© iStockphoto

Big Bend National Park features broad expanses of Chihuahuan Desert shrubland and grassland interspersed with smaller areas of high-elevation woodland in the Chisos Mountains. The black bear, mountain lion, and javelina, along with bats, turtles, frogs, toads, and 450 species of birds, either reside in or rely on park resources.

NPCA is advocating for cooperation between the United States and Mexico to preserve the Big Bend- Rio Bravo Region, which is on the border of the two nations. We seek to forge consensus among park officials, scientists, local communities, and others on areas of cooperation needed to protect the unique natural values of the region.

NPCA is helping to lead the movement to protect air- and water quality and to restore ecosystems at Big Bend, in part by cleaning up coal-fired power plants that pollute the park from a distance.

Greater Everglades

Greater Everglades
© iStockphoto

Everglades National Park protects more subtropical land and water than any other part of the United States. The greater Everglades ecosystem is home to some of the most rare and endangered species in the U.S., notably the West Indian manatee and the American crocodile. It is one of the most significant corridors and stopovers for migrating bird and sea-turtle species.

NPCA is helping drive coordinated action by state and federal agencies to advance Everglades restoration, the largest ecosystem restoration in the history of the National Park Service. This effort includes careful monitoring of and advocating for policies relating to expeditious project implementation, regional development and water supply compatible with restoration objectives, and restoring natural water flow by elevating key portions of the Tamiami Trail, a road that cuts through the heart of the Everglades' 'river of grass.'

NPCA is working to protect coral reefs that form underwater ecosystems and provide critical habitats for fish living in marine parks, particularly in Biscayne and Dry Tortugas National Parks; these parks face considerable threats from the stress of boat groundings, overfishing, coral disease, and marine debris. We are also working with anglers and scientists to protect Florida Bay in part through a free boater-education course, www. ecomariner.org, to help reduce damage done to critical seagrass habitat by boat propellers.

Greater Yellowstone

Greater Yellowstone
© iStockphoto

Greater Yellowstone is home to grizzly bears, wolves, elk, pronghorn antelope, and other icons of the West. Its 20 million acres stretch across three states and include Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, six national forests, BLM lands and the Wind River Indian Reservation. Connecting habitat across these many boundaries provides the best hope for Yellowstone's wildlife to thrive in the face of climate change.

NPCA is restoring a seasonal migration route for Yellowstone's northern pronghorn herd by working with landowners and volunteers to remove and modify fences, greatly improving pronghorn migration and access to critical winter habitat.

NPCA is working with land managers and allies to provide bison with snow-free winter habitat outside Yellowstone, reversing decades-long policies that have prevented bison from leaving the park.

Bristol Bay

Bristol Bay
© iStockphoto

The Bristol Bay watershed of southwest Alaska supports the largest and most diverse wild salmon ecosystem on the planet. Bristol Bay salmon accounts for 50% of the global sockeye harvest each year. Katmai and Lake Clark National Parks and Preserves protect the iconic Katmai brown bears, wild landscapes and traditional cultures in the 23 million acre Bristol Bay ecosystem.

NPCA, Bristol Bay tribes and allies are partnering to protect the watershed from a proposed industrial gold and copper mining district, including the controversial Pebble Mine, right next to our national parks. If built, Pebble's open-pit mine would be the largest in North America, jeopardizing the clean waters of our last great wild salmon fishery and every living creature it supports. In February 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency responded to our pleas for help, initiating a rapid ecosystem assessment that will bolster future protective action under the Clean Water Act.

NPCA and NPS partnered on an economic study in 2010 which reported that visitors to Katmai National Park spend nearly $50 million each year which adds 647 jobs annually to the Bristol Bay economy – more than triple previous estimates.

landscape
Bristol Bay Greater Yellowstone Greater Everglades Big Bend Santa Monica Mountains New York Harbor Chesapeake Bay Southern Appalachians Colorado River California Desert Maine Woods Great Lakes Crown of the Continent North Cascades

Learn more about NPCA's Landscape Conservation Campaign.

National Parks Conservation Association
National Parks Conservation Association

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