Our History

Since 1916, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of our national parks. With the help of volunteers and partners, we safeguard these special places and share their stories with more than 330 million visitors every year. But our work doesn’t stop there.

We are proud that tribes, local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individual citizens ask for our help in revitalizing their communities, preserving local history, celebrating local heritage, and creating close to home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun.

Taking care of the national parks and helping Americans take care of their communities is a job we love, and we need—and welcome—your help and support.

Our Mission

The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.

Explore general legislation and other laws relating to the National Park Service.

Be Healthy! Have a Fun and Safe Adventure!

Visit your national parks and allow the breathtaking landscapes and engaging historical sites inspire you to be a healthier version of yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually!

Before you go on your trip, explore this website to learn about planning a fun and safe adventure. Find out how you can connect your health to the health of our natural world.

Remember, your parks depend on you to enjoy them responsibly. Your actions can have an impact on park resources and wildlife. Be prepared, understand your limits, and harness the power of your parks. 

Now get out there! An inspiring adventure awaits!

Our Employees

More than 20,000 strong, the uncommon men and women of the National Park Service share a common trait: a passion for caring for the nation’s special places and sharing their stories.


The National Park Service was established to protect and help people experience America’s special places and their stories. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to make sure that park staff can focus on this important mission. Learn more about the budget processhow to do business with the National Park Service, and the law and policies that affect your national parks.

Wildlife and Outdoor Hazards in Parks

National parks provide the opportunity to experience some of the most extraordinary natural and cultural resources in the world! National park environments are very dynamic, ranging from urban to historic to wilderness settings. 

We’ve put together some safety tips on how to be prepared and steps to take if you encounter any of these common hazards during your trip. Remember that every park is unique. Environments and hazards can even vary within a park. Always check the park website for more specific information about local hazards and how to prepare for your specific adventure…and don’t forget to “Ask a Ranger” when you arrive at the park.

How We Are Organized

The National Park Service is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior and is led by a Director nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The Director is supported by senior executives who manage national programs, policy, and budget in the Washington, DC, headquarters and seven regional directors responsible for national park management and program implementation.

Our Official Emblem

The National Park Service arrowhead was authorized as our official emblem in 1951. The components of the arrowhead may have been inspired by key attributes of the National Park System, with the sequoia tree and bison representing vegetation and wildlife, the mountains and water representing scenic and recreational values, and the arrowhead itself representing historical and archeological values. A history of the arrowhead and other elements of NPS visual design is available. The arrowhead is also the registered service mark of the agency (number 4706627), protected by the trademark laws of the United States. The NPS allows limited use of the NPS arrowhead when doing so contributes to our work.

Learn how to request permission to use the arrowhead.

Transparency & Accountability in the National Park Service

The National Park Service (NPS) is committed to transparency and accountability. On this page, you can find information about important issues, discover how and why we make decisions, and learn more about the actions we take. Explore these topics:

Workplace Harassment Response

The NPS Work Environment Survey was designed to assess workplace conditions that NPS employees experience, including the prevalence and context of all forms of harassment and specifically sexual harassment. The survey results will help the National Park Service take appropriate action to better understand the issue and ensure that all NPS employees and NPS work sites share and uphold the values of respect for others, teamwork, fairness, civility, responsibility, and accountability.

The survey was distributed in two parts:

  • In January 2017, all employees hired before December 10, 2016, received a survey. Almost 50 percent of employees responded. Results of the survey are included below.
  • In July 2017, all employees hired after December 10, 2016, received a survey. We expect results from the summer survey in spring of 2018.

Survey Results & Resources

Reports from the Office of Inspector General

Issues identified in investigations by the Department of the Interior Office of Inspector General (DOI OIG) warrant serious concern. The National Park Service works hard to address issues raised in DOI OIG reports, and official NPS responses will be provided here.

National Park Service Testimony to Congress

The National Park Service is sometimes asked testify to Congressional committees on a variety of topics related to national parks and the National Park System. Visit the Legislative and Congressional Affairs site to read statements that have been presented to Congress.

Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey is a tool that measures employees’ perceptions of whether, and to what extent, conditions characterizing successful organizations are present in their agencies.

View the most recent survey results for the Department of the Interior, the parent agency of the National Park Service, and the results for all federal agencies.

Important Links

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