Recreation in Your National Parks

The US National Park Service was established to preserve the scenic natural wonders of the United States and leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. To ensure their longevity, it is important to understand how they will be impacted by rising temperatures, more extreme weather patterns, and rising sea levels.

How a changing climate affects a US national park varies by region; generally, parks in the desert southwest are becoming warmer and drier, parks in the northeast are becoming warmer and wetter, and parks in the Midwest and southeast are becoming warmer. These changes in climate will also likely affect toursim and recreational activities. 

A warming climate and changes in precipitation patterns will likely affect: 

Understanding these challenges is important for park managers so they can preserve our natural and culutral resources. 

What You Can Do:


  • EPA. 2016. "A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change: Recreation." Accessed August 22. 
  • EPA. 2016. "Climate Impacts on Society." Accessed August 22.  
  • EPA. 2016. "EPA's Clean Power Plan, Climate Change and Outdoor Recreation." accessed August 22.
  • Monahan, W, Fisichelli, N. 2014. "Climate Exposure of US National Parks in a New Era of Change." PLoS ONE 9(7): e101302. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101302.
  • NPS. 2009. "Evolution of an Idea." Accessed August 22, 2016. 
  • USGCRP. 2016. "Climate and Health Assessment: Air Quality Impacts." Accessed August 22.