NPS National Capital Region Web Guide to Natural Communities
NatureServe has worked closely with the National Park Service (NPS) for many years to classify, describe, and map the natural communities in national park units across the country. Central to this effort has been the use of the U.S. National Vegetation Classification (USNVC), a federally accepted standard that NatureServe helped develop and now maintains in collaboration with federal agencies and the Ecological Society of America. The USNVC provides a consistent framework for documenting the diversity of vegetation within and across park units and other federal and state lands. This information is crucial to efforts to enhance both understanding and management of the parks’ public natural resources.
NatureServe is now working with NPS to develop printed and online field guides to the natural communities within the nation’s parks — part of a larger initiative that will start with eleven parks located in the National Capital Region (NCR). These parks, located in the greater Washington, DC, area (listed below), collectively receive more than 20 million visitors each year. The guides will combine written material, photographs, illustrations, and maps with three goals in mind:
- to help NPS effectively manage the natural resources of NCR parks;
- to improve the public’s understanding of the importance of these resources; and
- to enrich visitors’ experiences of parks.
Like the printed Field Guides from which they draw written and visual content, the online Web Guide will highlight the parks’ natural history, natural communities, characteristic plants and animals, land-use patterns, and resource management issues. The Web Guide will provide a compelling user experience by seamlessly integrating these materials with an online map viewer.
NPS NCR Park Units To Be Included in the Web Guide
- Rock Creek Park, District of Columbia
- Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland
- Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland
- Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, District of Columbia & Maryland
- George Washington Memorial Parkway, Virginia & Maryland
- Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia
- Manassas National Battlefield Park, Virginia
- Monocacy National Battlefield, Maryland
- National Capital Parks — East, District of Columbia & Maryland
- Prince William Forest Park, Virginia
- Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Virginia
The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government.