NPS Case Studies

Attu, Aleutian Islands, 1943

Linking Social Justice to Landscape Conservation

Natural and cultural stories embedded in the landscape are paramount to achieving natural resource conservation.
These are the words of Brenda Barrett, editor of the Living Landscape Observer speaking at cultural heritage conference. During her talk, she recounted a meeting she attended where participants were asked to select an answer to this question: “What is the most important factor to improving landscape practice and policy in the Northeast?” 94% of the participants said the most important factor was to create narrative of the region that motivates the people who live there.
The American landscape is filled with natural and cultural narratives. These stories are exciting, inspiring, and at times, painful. The NPS Cultural Landscapes program is currently exploring the narratives of several cultural landscapes cared for by the National Park Service. They have put together a collection of narratives focusing on social justice. Learn more – step into the stories of the landscapes here.


Los Angeles Leads the Way: Creating Wildlife Corridors in One of America’s Largest Cities

mountain lion
One of the collared mountain lions from the study

For more than 15 years, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area has been on a journey to increase habitat connectivity and landscape linkages throughout the Los Angeles Region.


More than 3.8 million people live next door to Santa Monica Mountains NRA. The National Recreation Area occupies the chaparral-covered hilly landscape just 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles. These mountains are home to a broad range of species including mountain lions, raptors, and bobcats. Increased development pressures led to habitat fragmentation for local wildlife and in 2002, the National Park Service began searching for a way to preserve this habitat…(more)

Chesapeake Large Landscape Conservation PartnershipCoordinated responses across broad geographies

Credit: Dave Harp

The Chesapeake Bay is the nation’s largest estuary and the third largest in the world, with shorelines extending more than 11,000 miles and a watershed encompassing 43 million acres in six states and the District of Columbia. Read about how this partnership was developed, what its doing now to ensure coordinated conservation throughout the watershed, and meet the people working on the project...(more)


Beyond Boundaries: Waterton-Glacier National International Peace Park and the Crown of the Continent

Credit: NPS/GLAC

The designation of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (the World’s first) acknowledged that the environment does not recognize jurisdictional boundaries; that there is a need for cooperation and stewardship in a world of shared resources; and it is in the individual and collective interests of Canadians and Americans to work together cooperatively. Today, those ideas are …(more)


Credit: NPS/Tanya Shenk

A Desert Mosaic: Southwest Desert Large Landscape Conservation Area

Estimated at more than 200 million acres, the Southwest Desert Large Landscape Conservation Area is one of the nation’s largest and newest collaborative conservation efforts. Begun in 2012, it grows out of the Obama Administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative—a program intended to bolster local conservation efforts and improve collaboration across federal agencies and with state and local partners. The National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management are the designated lead agencies for …(more)


Credit blueathena7
Bluegrass along the trail

Mountain Music: A Closer Look at the Blue Ridge Music Trail

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic drive corridor spanning 469 miles across the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. The Blue Ridge Heritage Initiative fostered the creation of a series of heritage trails that cross 50…(more)


Jonathan Putnam, NPS Office of International Affairs

Global Perspectives: The International Aspects of Large Landscape Conservation

Given that this week is the World Park Congress in Sydney, it’s a great time to highlight one of the leaders in the National Park Service working at the International Affairs Office. Jonathan Putnam recently sat down to share his thoughts on …(more)



Baltimore greenspaces

Integrating Community-Based Conservation and Large Landscape Conservation: NeighborSpace of Baltimore County is a local urban land trust started in 2003 to improve livability within the urban-rural demarcation line (URDL) within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by acquiring and improving land for a variety of open space uses, such as small parks, gardens, storm water management and…(more)


The Interwine Credit: Sallinger, 2009

The Intertwine: Conservation on a Large Scale: “Intertwine” means “to twist or twine together, to be mutually involved.” There’s probably no better word to describe the Intertwine Alliance, a broad coalition of 80+ diverse public, civic, private, and … (more)