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Grapevine Mesa Joshua Trees, Arizona. Photo by John H. Pilarski. Dunes Nature Preserve, Indiana. Photo by Christopher Jordan. Volo Bog Nature Preserve, Illinois. Photo by Rodrigo Roesch. Bigelow Mountain, Maine. Photo by David Hobson. Iliamna Volcano, Alaska. Photo by Carol P. Murdock. Burney Falls, California. Photo by Jim Shoemaker. Garden of the Gods, Colorado. Photo by Tery Sim. Valley of Fire, NV. Photo by Joshua Bernick.

National Natural Landmarks Program

"Encourage and support the voluntary conservation of sites that illustrate the nation's geological and biological history, and to strengthen the public's appreciation of America's natural heritage."

National Natural Landmarks Program

The National Natural Landmarks (NNL) Program recognizes and encourages the conservation of sites that contain outstanding biological and geological resources, regardless of landownership type. It is the only natural areas program of national scope that recognizes the best examples of biological and geological features in both public and private ownership. NNLs are owned by a variety of land stewards, and participation in the program is voluntary.

National Natural Landmarks are selected for their outstanding condition, illustrative value, rarity, diversity, and value to science and education. Sites are designated by the Secretary of the Interior, with landowner concurrence, and to-date, nearly 600 landmarks have received the NNL designation within the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The National Park Service administers the program, reports on the condition of the NNLs, acts as an advocate for the protection of designated sites, and raises public awareness of our Nation's natural heritage. Ongoing partnerships with public and private landmark owners allow participants to share information, solve problems cooperatively, and conserve outstanding sites that illustrate the rich and diverse tapestry of the country's natural landscape.

For further information about how the National Park Service's National Natural Landmarks Program is serving its mission, be sure to read our program brochure (PDF - 1.76MB) and biennial report (PDF - 6.34MB).

National Natural Landmarks Program Features

Photo Contest

Bigelow Mountain, ME

For the past decade, the NNL Program has proudly hosted an annual NNL Photo Contest, which has helped raise public awareness of the program and the great diversity of natural features across the country. To see each year's top winners, please visit our photo contest page.
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Biennial Report

2011-2012 NNL Report

The NNL Program produces a biennial report to provide an overview of the program for the previous two years. The report details completed and continuing projects, conservation successes, new landmark designations and boundary expansions, site visits, technical support and conditions at National Natural Landmarks over time. Learn more...

Frequently Asked Questions

Question Mark

What makes a National Natural Landmark significant? Why are they important? How many are there? Are they open to the public? Find out the answer to these questions and many more by visiting this collection of frequently asked questions. Learn more...

National Natural Landmarks Directory

Iliamna Volcano, Alaska.

Some sites designated as NNLs are well known, such as the volcanic crater Diamond Head on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii, the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, or the Rancho La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, California; however, you might be surprised to discover what other sites share the NNL designation. Find NNLs by state using this National Natural Landmarks map directory. Learn more...

Useful Resources

Last Updated: October 22, 2014