Nomenclature of The National Park System
The National Park Service uses over 20 different titles for the park units it manages, including national park and national monument.
|Classification as of 2003||Number||Area||Visitors|
|National Military Park, National Battlefield Park, National Battlefield Site, and National Battlefield||25||71,502.49 acres (289 km2)||8,360,261|
|National Historical Park, National Historic Site, and International Historic Site||125||228,260.60 acres (924 km2)||34,407,217|
|National Lakeshore||4||228,995.14 acres (927 km2)||3,728,821|
|National Memorial||27||10,588.45 acres (43 km2)||30,559258|
|National Monument||76||2,027,864.58 acres (8,206 km2)||22,646,428|
|National Park||58||52,095,045.71 acres (210,821 km2)||62,950,968|
|National Parkway||4||177,339.69 acres (718 km2)||29,948,911|
|National Preserve and National Reserve||20||24,191,311.63 acres (97,899 km2)||2,956,325|
|National Recreation Area||18||3,700,277.20 acres (14,974 km2)||50,645,414|
|National River and National Wild and Scenic River and Riverway||15||746,262.99 acres (3,020 km2)||5,999,161|
|National Scenic Trail||3||239,659.27 acres (970 km2)||not available|
|National Seashore||10||595,013.55 acres (2,408 km2)||17,920,507|
|Other Designations (White House, National Mall, etc.)||13||36,826.96 acres (149 km2)||11,156,670|
|Totals||398||84,331,948.26 acres (341,279 km2)||320,309,151|
National Monuments preserve a single unique cultural or natural feature. Devils Tower National Monument was the first in 1906.
National Historic Sites protect a significant cultural resource that is not a complicated site. Examples of these types of parks include Ford's Theatre National Historic Site and William Howard Taft National Historic Site.
National Historical Parks are larger areas with more complex subjects. Appomattox Court House National Historical Park was created in 1940. George Rogers Clark National Historical Park was dedicated in 1936. Historic sites may also be protected in national parks, monuments, seashores, and lakeshores.
National Military Parks, Battlefield Parks, Battlefield Sites, and Battlefields preserve areas associated with military history. The different designations reflect the complexity of the event and the site. Many of the sites preserve important Revolutionary War battles and Civil War battlefields. Military parks are the sites of larger actions, such as Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Vicksburg National Military Park, Gettysburg National Military Park, and Shiloh National Military Park—the original four from 1890. Examples of battlefield parks, battlefield sites, and national battlefields include Richmond National Battlefield Park, Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site, and Antietam National Battlefield.
National Seashores and National Lakeshores offer preservation of the national coast line, while supporting water–based recreation. Cape Hatteras National Seashore was created in 1937. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, created in 1966, were the first national lakeshores.