The United States Park Police is a distinct law enforcement division of the National Park Service, with jurisdiction in all NPS sites, but primarily used in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, New York City and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, in and around San Francisco. Law enforcement services in other NPS units are provided by commissioned (sworn peace officer) park rangers. Other special NPS divisions include the Archeology Program, Historic American Buildings Survey, National Register of Historic Places, National Natural Landmarks, the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, the Challenge Cost Share Program, the Federal Lands to Parks, the Hydropower Relicensing Program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the National Trails System and the Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers Program.
The United States Park Police (USPP) is the oldest uniformed federal law enforcement agency in the United States. It functions as a full service law enforcement agency with responsibilities and jurisdiction in those National Park Service areas primarily located in the Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and New York City areas. In addition to performing the normal crime prevention, investigation, and apprehension functions of an urban police force, the Park Police are responsible for policing many of the famous monuments in the United States and share law enforcement jurisdiction in all lands administered by the Service with a force of National Park Rangers tasked with the same law enforcement powers and responsibilities.
The National Park Service operates four archeology-related centers: Harpers Ferry Center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, the Midwest Archeological Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Southeast Archeological Center in Tallahassee, Florida and the Western Archeological and Conservation Center in Tucson, Arizona. The Harpers Ferry Center specializes in interpretive media development and object conservation. The other three focus to various degrees on archaeological research and museum object curation and conservation.
National Park Service training centers include: Horace Albright Training Center, Grand Canyon; Stephen Mather Training Center, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; Historic Preservation Training Center, Frederick, Maryland and Capital Training Center, Washington, D.C.
The Submerged Resources Center is the unit responsible for the submerged areas throughout the National Park system. The SRC is based out of the Intermountain Region's headquarters in Lakewood, Colorado.
Preservation programs (HABS/HAER)
The oldest federal preservation program, the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER), produces graphic and written documentation of historically significant architectural, engineering and industrial sites and structures. Dating from 1934, the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) was chartered to document historic architecture—primarily houses and public buildings—of national or regional significance. Originally a New Deal employment/preservation program, after World War II, HABS employed summer teams of advanced undergraduate and graduate students to carry out the documentation, a tradition followed to this day. Many of the structures they documented no longer exist.
HABS/HAER produces measured drawings, large-format photographs and written histories of historic sites, structures and objects, that are significant to the architectural, engineering and industrial heritage of the U.S. Its 25,000 records are part of the Library of Congress. HABS/HAER is administered by the NPS Washington office and five regional offices.
Historic American Building Survey
In 1933, the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, established the Historic American Building Survey (HABS), based on a proposal by Charles E. Peterson, Park Service landscape architect. It was founded as a make-work program for architects, draftsmen and photographers left jobless by the Great Depression. Guided by field instructions from Washington, D.C., the first recorders were tasked with documenting a representative sampling of America's architectural heritage. After 70 years, there is now an archive of historic architecture. HABS provided a database of primary source material for the then fledgling historic preservation movement.
Historic American Engineering Record
Recognizing a similar fragility in our national industrial and engineering heritage, the National Park Service, the Library of Congress and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) formed the HAER program in 1969, to document nationally and regionally significant engineering and industrial sites. A short while later, HAER was ratified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (AIME). HAER documentation, in the forms of measured and interpretive drawings, large-format photographs and written histories, is archivally preserved in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress, where it is readily available to the public.
Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program
The RTCA program of the National Park Service is designed to assist local communities and the public in preservation of rivers, trails and greenways. Unlike the mainline National Park Programs, these programs take place on non-federal property at the request of the local community. One of their better known programs is Rails to Trails, where unused railroad right-of-ways are converted into public hiking and biking trails.
National Trails System
The National Trails System is a joint mission of the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. It was created in 1968 to establish a system of long-distance National Scenic and National Historic Trails, as well as to recognize existing trails in the states as National Recreation Trails. Several additional trails have been established since 1968, and in 2009 Congress established the first National Geologic Trail.
National Heritage Areas
National Heritage Areas are a unique blend of natural, cultural, historic, and scenic resources. Having developed out of a shared historic, they create a unique whole. Currently (April 2010) there are 49 designated heritage areas. A short listing is shown below.
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