• Thanks to your support, 2016 was a record-breaking year for Kids to Parks Day! Watch our KTP Day 2016 summary video.​

    Mapping our progress


  • Since 1983, NPT has supported and assisted in acquiring inholdings and in developing public and private partnerships to promote the acquisition and preservation of parks, wildlife refuges, historic landmarks, public lands, and water ways. We have completed more than 100 park projects benefiting 49 national park units and other public lands in 33 states. To learn more about about our work and how you can get involved, contact Dick Ring, NPT Park Projects Director.

  • Buddy Bison® School Program: Because Kids Need Parks and Parks Need Kids

    The Buddy Bison school program was created in 2009 to engage diverse children from Title I schools with their local, state and national parks to teach environmental education and the numerous benefits of outdoor recreation. If parks are to survive, the face of those parks must change and under-served communities must have access to these local cultural and environmental resources. More than 80% of the students in the Buddy Bison school program qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch, predominantly in inner city communities. This program has been used in 60 schools across the country in grades pre-K through 8th in public, public charter and private schools across the country (20 states and Washington D.C.).

    This experiential learning program enhances existing school curricula throughout the year with emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) as well as history, language arts, reading, geography, the arts, and outdoor recreation. Students also learn about the careers of professionals who support our parks-- and the importance of stewarding our public lands. And in addition to bringing kids to parks, we bring parks to kids by arranging schools visits from our many conservation partners.

    To learn more about how you can get involved, contact Billy Schrack, NPT Director of Youth Programs.

Contacts: Mike Litterst, mike_litterst@nps.gov 202-513-0354

Jeffrey G. Olson, Jeffrey_olson@nps.gov 202-208-6843

By: National Park Service (NPS)

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2013 – More than 282 million people visited America's national parks in 2012, an increase of more than 3 million over 2011. It was the sixth highest annual visitation in the history of the National Park Service, despite nearly 2 million fewer visitors as a result of park closures caused by Hurricane Sandy.

"The National Park Service strives to represent all that America has to offer," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "People come to national parks for many reasons – for recreation and to learn about American history by strolling through a battlefield. They come to listen to a park ranger at Independence National Historical Park and marvel at the Continental Congress. And people come to national parks for old-fashioned enjoyment of the great outdoors."

National parks capture the story the United States, from its earliest days to the modern era. Jarvis said, "The dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial and the opening of the César E. Chávez National Monument in 2012 help us to continue to explore how our nation of many faces and many voices has developed."

The challenges left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy will become part of American history, too. The storm slammed into 70 national park sites from North Carolina to Maine. Some parks closed briefly, others for weeks while the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York remain closed for repairs.

"The Statue of Liberty will reopen by the Fourth of July," Jarvis said. "It'll take longer at the Ellis Island Museum. As we rebuild we keep sustainability front of mind. It is clear that our changing climate will bring more severe weather events, especially to coastal areas, and we must repair our iconic national parks to survive future storms."

There are familiar park names in our Top 10 lists. Gateway National Recreation Area in New York lost nearly 1.2 million visitors from 2011 because of Hurricane Sandy yet still made the Top 10 list of most visited National Park Service sites.

Most Visited Places of the National Park System (2012)

1. Blue Ridge Parkway 15,205,059

2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area 14,540,338

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park 9,685,829

4. George Washington Memorial Parkway 7,425,577

5. Lake Mead National Recreation Area 6,285,439

6. Lincoln Memorial 6,191,361

7. Natchez Trace Parkway 5,560,668

8. Gateway National Recreation Area 5,043,863

9. Gulf Islands National Seashore 4,973,462

10. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area 4,970,802


Most Visited National Parks (2012)

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park 9,685,829

2. Grand Canyon National Park 4,421,352

3. Yosemite National Park 3,853,404

4. Yellowstone National Park 3,447,729

5. Rocky Mountain National Park 3,229,617

6. Zion National Park 2,973,607

7. Olympic National Park 2,824,908

8. Grand Teton National Park 2,705,256

9. Acadia National Park 2,431,052

10. Cuyahoga Valley National Park 2,299,722

National park visitation statistics are viewable at http://www.nps.gov/news/researchlinks.htm Click on Most Visited Parks. Since 1916, the National Park System has recorded more than 12 billion visits.

OneBestPhilan.1617 CMYK