Parks and Recreation in the United States: State Park Systems



Jan. 14, 2009


Issue Brief

Reading time

1 minute


There are over 6,600 state park sites in the United States covering 14 million acres of land. These parks provide a wide range of recreation opportunities in accessible, relatively closeto-home settings. In fact, state parks serve two and a half times as many visitors as the National Park System with only 16 percent of the acreage. The systems vary widely across states, however, and have changed over time. In this Resources for the Future (RFF) backgrounder, we provide some history about state parks, discuss the variation in acreage, facilities, and funding for parks across states, and show trends in state park visitation over time in the United States. We also report on a recent survey of state park directors that we conducted and identify current challenges and the outlook for the future.


Related Content