January 01, 2020 Feature

Historic Leasing and the Unfulfilled Potential to Use Partnerships to Preserve Historic Properties and National Parks

Stephanie M. Regenold, Julie Wilson-McNerney, and Cassie Roberts

The concept of the “national park” is an American innovation that has led to the preservation of thousands of historic sites and millions of acres of parkland in the United States and its territories for the enjoyment and education of the American public and future generations. The National Park System manages more than 85 million acres of public lands, national monuments, and historic properties, comprising a network of 419 parks and sites that protect historic, cultural, and natural resources and tell the stories of significant people and events in our nation’s history. The National Park System protects and interprets an estimated two million archaeological sites, 4,200 historic statues and monuments, and more than 27,000 properties that are listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), including 9,600 buildings. For over a century, domestic and international guests have visited properties in the National Park System. In 2018 alone, over 318 million visitors spent an estimated $20.2 billion in nearby communities, which supported 329,000 jobs and provided a $40.1 billion boost to the national economy.

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