HIKING BASICS

Who Owns National Parks: The Real Keepers of the Nature

arches-national-park
Henry Silva
Written by Henry Silva

National parks are the recreational and cultural heritage centers that remain protected because of their wildlife, natural resources, and the exquisite countryside. Had they not been protected areas, no one would probably respect them, and consequently, we will be risking to see our wildlife being extinct and our cultural heritage being devalued.

Thanks to the National Park Service in the United States that oversees the management and the recreational activities being undertaken in all the parks, we are happy to have the National Parks looking the way they do now. We believe that, so far, we have already answered your question – Who owns National Parks?

National Park in Canada

However, even though the National Park Service in the United States oversees the operational activities of the National Parks, it cannot manage the operations of individual parks as there are plenty of National Parks. So, it relinquishes the operational roles to third parties, through concession management programs.

Each National Park has its management plan, as well as a compliment of staff to take care of the resources, offer the needed hospitality needs of the visitors, educate visitors about the cultural heritage, and many more functional roles.

We have hand-picked a few of the National Parks among a broad range of them in the United States. The aim is to enlighten you with the way the parks are run and owned. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the way these important natural landmarks are being run. It will help you in approaching the relevant people if any inquiries arise. Below, we will start with the world’s first National Park, the Yellowstone in Wyoming.

Yellowstone in Wyoming

This National Park is remarkably the first in the United States and arguably the world since its inception in the year 1872. It is renowned as the playground of volcanoes in the northwest of Wyoming. You get to explore the iconic Old Faithful landmark, exotic forests, the V-shaped Canyon, the mind-blowing lake and the North America’s highest altitude lake, among others.

Yellowstone-National-Park

Let’s not forget the wildlife as well as this National Park has plenty of mammals compared to other parks. About 67 species are found in this park, whereby you get to see, among others, the mule deer, bighorn sheep, black bears and the grizzly. Before embarking on this journey, do read our piece on how to prevent wild animal attacks to keep you safe in the woods.

This is just a snapshot of the expectations in the Yellowstone in Wyoming. Behind the scenes of exploring these things is a team of committed staff and management that shares the same mission as echoed by the National Park Service.

Among other manageable things, the park’s finances, concession operations, infrastructure, facilities, preservation of cultural and natural resources, and the budget are the most important. The management of Yellowstone ensures that these aforementioned priceless resources are being protected for the future generation to find them intact.

The park is precisely comprised of full-time staff and the volunteers, whose main objectives are to live by the mission of the National Park Service.

Yellowstone National Park lily pads

To learn more about this National Park of Yellowstone, we suggest you contact the park’s management on (307) 344-7381 for the recorded information or (307) 344-2117 to inquire about the weather and road info.

In a nutshell, the park’s management does the following:

  • Ensure safety of visitors
  • Ensure compliance with the State’s laws and mandates thereof
  • Disseminate useful information to and educate the public through comprehensive and interpretive programs
  • Maintenance of roads, ancient buildings and trails for hiking enthusiasts
  • Preserve the natural resources encompassed in the park

All these mandates are enabled by a strong synergy between the office of the superintendent, the concessions management, administration personnel and strategic communications. Among others, concession management reinforces the cohesion of third party service delivery, wherein third parties are assigned contracts to provide visitors with, among others, the medical facilities, foods, endorsed activities such as guided tours, boarding and others. That’s the crux of National Park management.

Don’t forget to bring your own homemade first aid kit for added safety on the trail.

Yosemite in California

This is yet another National Park in the United States, which has grown in popularity since its inception in the 1800s. It is also paramount to familiarize yourself with the management of this park in order to understand how it operates and to whom you should send your inquiries or address your concerns. It is under the National Park Service, which then prescribes the mandatory rules to be complied with.

Yosemite in California mirror lake

A snapshot of this park: It is home to incredible, exotic natural wonders that you will explore in a short period of time than you would anywhere else. The glacier-carved beauty, North America’s highest Yosemite waterfalls are some of the attractions that are synonymous with this park. There are also some of the spectacular hiking trails that pass through this park. The Tioga Pass Road and the Tuolumne Meadows lead you into this National Park.

There are lots of activities in this National Park. Consider fishing, rock climbing, hiking, camping, and rafting as some of the endorsed activities offered through concession management. Speaking of that, the Yosemite National Park is under the guard of a devoted team of staff and management personnel, which, of course, include the volunteers. Be prepared by checking out our list of the top minimalist hiking shoes you can use.

In operational roles, concession management plays a significant part in that, whereby third parties are delegated to provide essential services to the visitors. They are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the park.

Yosemite in California glacier point

So when you’re visiting this National Park, you shouldn’t be worried that who will be serving you food and all that because the Yosemite’s Concessions Management issues contracts to specify that the service provider should provide certain services.

For instance, the Yosemite Hospitality LLC, EI Portal Market and the Best Studio Inc. are some of the service providers assigned a mandate. There is also a Fire Management team. All the inquiries about this National Park can be addressed telephonically on (209) 372-0200.

Zion in Utah

The nature’s blessings to the USA are also seen in the abundance of amazing landmarks and resources in Zion National Park. You get to extend your eyesight to the orangey-red rock walls, valleys located 2000 ft above the Zion Canyon.

Zion National Park

This National Park wouldn’t be that beautiful without the priceless efforts put by a determined team of management and employees. Because of them, there are plenty of options to take while in this park. For instance, you get to hike on a short trek to a trio of the Weeping Rock and the Emerald Pools. Alternatively, you can drive on the picturesque Highway 9 via the Virgin River as well as the Checkerboard Mesa area.

More attractions in this National Park include a range of activities that include canyoneering routes and the big-wall climbing. If any of these are your favorites, you should say thanks to the management of this National Park together with the volunteers and full-time staff that work tirelessly to ensure that you, the visitor, get a wow expression. Here’s a list of the finest mountain climbing gear for you to consider, check it out.

Group of people hiking in the Zion Canyon

The Zion National Park has its management plans drafted for the management personnel and staff to live by the mission of the National Park Service. Some of the mandates enshrined in the 2001 general management plans include the following:

  • Management of cultural and natural resources to retain them for future generation
  • Ensure that visitors do not impair the natural resources
  • Equip visitors with the recreational and educational opportunities
  • Maintain the natural resources that include the wildlife and the plants in a bid to retain them for long
  • Reinforce partnership between the public and private organizations in order to ensure a pleasant stay for visitors

Can you imagine the state of Zion National Park without the priceless efforts of management? It’s seemingly unimaginable. The concession contracts are also provided to enable the provision of third party services to visitors. These include lodging, food and medical services, accredited outdoor activities such as climbing and boarding.

Zion National Park management

If you want your inquiries to be attended by management, you can call (435) 772-3256.  Surely management will be glad to help you.

Channel Islands in California

The Channel Islands National Park is another evidence of a great work put together by the management as mandated by the National Park Service. Remarkable about this National Park is southern California coast that extends for about 11 miles.

Channel Islands National Park

Even more, the wildlife and plant species further make this park more remarkable. There are more than 150 species. You will get to see the island deer mouse, island fox, the Coreopsis clinging, the exposed cliffs, whales, sea lions, and the elephant seals.

This National Park is actually one of the America’s newest landmarks. The management of this park has upon its shoulders the protection of the terrestrial and marine natural resources.

These resources are being reserved for future generations. This park, in particular, is under the control of the National Park Service and the Federal Department of the Interior regulations as encompassed in the general management plan published in 1980.

Santa Cruz Island Fox Pup, Channel Islands National Park

The superintendent and other spheres of management, such as the admin staff and concessions management, work in synergy to ensure efficient running of this National Park. Meanwhile, volunteers devote about 70 000 hours on an annual basis. There is a park budget on a yearly basis, which is spent on a number of projects by the management.

Have any inquiries to address with the management? You may call them at (805) 658-5730.

Grand Canyon in Arizona

Measuring about 18 miles wide, this National Park is also the fruits of a dedicated team of management that endeavors to achieve the mandates of the National Park Service. Prepare your eyesight for the exquisite and scenic Colorado River that passes through the park.

Grand Canyon in Arizona

The estimated number of people visiting this park yearly amounts, to 5 million. As such, it turns out to be the second most visited among other parks. Visitors get to hike on many spectacular trails on foot or by mule.

If you are allergic to the concentrated areas in the park, we recommend that you visit the pine-forested North Rim, where 10% of the total 5 million visits. There are essentially many options to explore.

All the scenic views are sustained by the functional management team under the policies and the guidelines as stipulated in the recent general management plan updated in 1995. In the plan, the park’s control is put under public, private agencies, local citizens and the American Indian tribes.

Grand Canyon in Arizona horseshoe bend

In the general management plan, management teams, volunteers, and employees are guided on how to manage the visitors, reserve and protect the natural resources and develop the park, among other guidelines and policies. It is the compliance with the general management plan that has led to the remarkable beauty of this National Park.

Third party service providers are still mandated to provide impeccable services to all the visitors under the supervision of the concessions management. The management ensures that you have the most priceless and unforgettable stay ever. To address your inquiries, please call them at (928) 638-7888.

Olympic National Park in Washington

Embrace the beauty of the nature by exploring the scenic landscape of the Olympic National Park. You will get to explore Mount Olympus, waterfalls, lakes, 11 major rivers, flower-decorated meadows and 7000 feet snowy mountains. There’s more to explore in this park.

Hiker in the Olympic National Park

Your exploration can extend to the Hoh and the Quinault rain forests. Also the Roosevelt elk and the 295 feet Douglas-Fir are worth your eyesight in this park. There is plenty of natural resources and landmarks to explore. All of them are kept clean and maintained regularly. There is no day that you can visit and look as if you are exploring a National Park that has been abandoned year ago.

A round of applause to the dedicated team of management for making this National Park “a dream come true”. Had it not been them, many would certainly hate ever visiting the un-maintained landmarks.

A Creek at Mount Olympus

All other outdoor activities are being offered, predominantly through concession programs whereby concessions management issues the contracts with the external agencies to take care of the visitors.

Final Thoughts on This Topic

Who owns our national parks? We believe that we have responded constructively to your question in this regard. These precious recreational and cultural heritage centers need special care. Without any proper management, some of them could have been abandoned long time ago. The National Park Service in the USA is at helm of owning and maintaining these National Parks.

As it transpires, each park has got its team of management with the common ground of abiding by the mandates stipulated by the National Park Service. Third parties are being assigned duties to help take care of the visitors by providing a plethora of services.

For every park, there is a budget to maintain it and to pay the employees and management personnel. Visitors can address their concerns directly with the management. We have provided you the contact details for every park reviewed above.

Ready for your next adventure? See our article on the best hikes of the world, a must-read piece indeed.

Spring in Yellowstone National Park

If you found our article useful, feel free to share it on social media so that your friends can read it as well. Also, if you have any questions or just want to share some of your experience with our readers, leave a comment in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Henry Silva
Henry Silva

Henry was hiking since he was 4. He was lucky enough to be born in Boulder, Colorado and enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park hikes growing up. His favourite is Longs Peak, which rises to 14,259 feet (4,346 m) above sea level. It is the highest point of the park. Henry likes to explore new hikes and spend his spare time in the wilderness.

  • Rachel Bissell

    Thanks for all the national parks you’ve listed. I’m going to visit the Olympic one in Washington now that I’ve read your article. Have you ever been there? What was it like?

  • Henry Silva

    What a great place to visit! Olympic National Park is huge and offers a lot to see and do! Don’t pass it up! You will truly have a great time backpacking, hiking, and taking photos. Enjoy the scenery and wildlife!

  • Tony Hill

    The places are really nice and I loved these places. Have you visited GRAND CANYON IN ARIZONA? Or any others who visited there?

  • Henry Silva

    Definitely a huge and beautiful place!

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