For the more information about the geologic resources of the National Park Service, please visit

America's Geologic Heritage

Discover your Geologic Heritage

An area's geologic heritage is the foundation for its scenic grandeur. Internationally recognized geologic features such as Old Faithful, Delicate Arch, Devils Tower, and Half Dome are icons of America's geologic heritage.

Discover your Geologic Heritage

Geologic Heritage encompasses the significant geologic features, landforms, and landscapes characteristic of our Nation which are preserved for the full range of values that society places on them, including scientific, aesthetic, cultural, ecosystem, educational, recreational, tourism, and other values. Geologic Heritage sites are conserved so that their lessons and beauty will remain as a legacy for future generations.

Such areas generally have great potential for scientific studies, use as outdoor classrooms, and enhancing public understanding and enjoyment. Geologic heritage sites are fundamental to understanding dynamic earth systems, the succession and diversity of life, climatic changes over time, evolution of landforms, and the origin of mineral deposits.

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America's Geologic Heritage: An Invitation to Leadership book cover

Geologic Heritage in the National Parks

Geologic heritage sites can be found throughout the National Park System. The National Park System contains 259 parks with fossil resources, 94 parks with 4,700 known caves, and another 59 parks with known karst systems. Ninety-seven parks protect 7,500 miles of shoreline, 52 parks contain geothermal systems, 38 parks have volcanoes as a major feature, and 37 have active glacial features. Parks also contain a tremendous diversity of landforms including dunes, arches, canyons, buttes, and escarpments. Park museum collections have more than 35,000 geological specimens and nearly 416,000 paleontological specimens.

In addition to these geologic resources, the Park Service is responsible for administering the National Natural Landmarks program and the National Register of Historic Places, and provides support for U.S. participation in the World Heritage Convention. Each of these programs contribute to the preservation of America's geologic heritage.

Featured Programs

Fossil Resources


Learn about the conservation, protection, and interpretation of fossils. All fossils in the National Park System are protected and managed in keeping with Paleontological Resources Preservation Act (PRPA) Learn more...

Cave and Karst Resources


Caves are some of the most fragile and easily damaged environments on earth. All caves on National Park Service-administered lands are deemed to be significant and protected under the National Cave Resources Protection Act. Learn more...

Geologic Heritage Conservation


An overview of National Park Service programs that contribute to the preservation of America's geologic heritage. Learn more...

Park Geology Tour


The best geologist is the one who has seen the most rocks. Explore America's geologic heritage through a thematic tour of park geology, Park Geology Fieldnotes webpages, and visit the "geologic wonders" of national parks. Learn more...


Related Links

Key Contacts

Jim F WoodJim F Wood
Geologic Heritage and Education Program Coordinator
Geologic Resources Division
12795 West Alameda Parkway
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
(303) 969-2149 (office)
Contact - Jim F Wood

Tim ConnorsTim Connors
Geologic Data and Information Lead, and Geologic Resources Planning Team
Geologic Resources Division
12795 West Alameda Parkway
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
(303) 969-2093 (office)
(720) 346-0575 (cell/text)
Contact - Tim Connors

Harold (Hal) PrangerHarold (Hal) Pranger
Geologic Features and Systems Branch Chief
Geologic Resources Division
12795 West Alameda Parkway
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
(303) 969-2018 (office)
Contact - Hal Pranger

Geologic Resources Division Mailing Address
National Park Service
Geologic Resources Division
P.O. Box 25287
Denver, Colorado 80225-0287



Last Updated: November 10, 2015