Physical Resources & Processes

Top Center: NPS Photo
Left, Bottom Center, and Right Photo Credits: Mason Cummings, NPS

The goal of the National Park Service is to preserve, protect, and understand physical resources and the dynamic processes that affect them. An essential component of this mission is vital signs monitoring, a national effort taking place in cooperation with other federal and state agencies to determine trends in the condition of natural resources. The following are vital signs and other physical resources for which we currently have information. They include ecosystem drivers, the major forces that create and modify our parks and affect virtually all other park resources. Physical resources also include features of the landscape that have been formed and shaped by these drivers, and have become resources of interest themselves.