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Energy and Minerals

Coal mine outside of Denali National Park

A variety of rights to explore and extract minerals exist in and near national park units. Management of mineral development to prevent or mitigate adverse effects on park resources and values presents complex challenges to National Park Service. Oil and gas development occurs in 13 units with active and potential coal and hardrock mining, coalbed methane, and oil and gas development adjacent to 53 units. Further, at least 22 NPS units contain significant geothermal resources. The NPS strives to work with adjacent land managers and other permitting entities to help ensure that National Park System resources and values are not adversely impacted by external mineral exploration and development.

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Mining Operations Management


In 1976, Congress enacted the Mining in the Parks Act (16 U.S.C. §1901 et seq.), which closed all units of the National Park System to the location of new mining claims. However, mining still occurs in some parks. Learn more...

Oil and Gas Management

drill rig

Oil and Gas operations in many parks can cause adverse effects on natural and cultural resources, visitor uses and experiences, park infrastructure and management, and protect public health and safety. Learn more...

Renewable Energy

desert sunset

Development and use of alternative forms of energy from nuclear power, bio-based fuels, wind, solar, hydropower, and wave and tidal action also pose challenges for park protection. Learn more...

Development Adjacent to Parks

Drill rig on park boundary

Onshore and offshore energy development is rapidly increasing throughout the United States. This includes areas adjacent to units of the National Park System and other special status areas. Learn more...


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Last Updated: November 07, 2013