National Park Service - Western National Parks Association

National Park Service

To Serve the National Park Service and the American People

Western National Parks Association exists to support the American treasures under the care of the National Park Service (NPS).

Our partnership was forged in 1938 so that WNPA could “aid the preservation and interpretation of Southwestern features of outstanding national interest,” according to then US Secretary of the Interior, Harold L. Ickes.

National Park Service at a Glance

NPS was created in 1916 to manage and preserve the nation’s natural and cultural resources and values for this and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and find inspiration.

It works with tribes, local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals to revitalize communities, preserve and celebrate local history and heritage, and create close-to-home places for people—especially kids and families—to spend time outside having fun.

Fun Facts

  • 423 areas in the National Park System covers more than 85 million acres.
  • National Park Service areas are in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
  • About 20,000 people work as permanent, temporary, and seasonal NPS employees.
  • More than 279,000 people served as park volunteers in 2019.
  • Nearly 327 million visitors were counted in 2019.


WNPA is one of about 60 nonprofit NPS support organizations known as cooperating associations. It’s a formal partnership that helps visitors learn about the science, history, and culture of national parks.

  • WNPA started with an idea by Dale King, a talkative, brilliant junior park naturalist who helped administer Arizona and New Mexico national monuments. King believed free and low-priced publications handed out to visitors at the remote, scattered national monuments in the Southwest would not only help visitors learn about these places, it would help fund the creation of more educational publications for the sites.

  • Under a formal agreement with the NPS, WNPA became a nonprofit publisher and official park service partner. Its activities have expanded to produce products, programs, and services to advance the four pillars of WNPA’s mission: education, interpretation, research and community engagement.

  • WNPA activities on behalf of more than 70 partner parks are aimed at fostering an understanding and appreciation for these national treasures in the hopes that generations today and tomorrow will be inspired to become advocates for the national parks and their long-term preservation.

National Park Service Mobile App

The NPS released their all-encompassing app (appropriately called National Park Service), designed to make planning a trip to a national park easier than ever before. For all of the 423 national parks across America, information about accessibility, lodging, food, hikes, history, and more is available in one place, and visitors can easily access everything they need to thoroughly appreciate and enjoy national parks.

The app is free to download from the NPS website and features a multitude of different elements like audio tours, downloadable maps, and site recommendations, while offering an abundance of information about the history, flora and fauna, and structures that can be discovered at each national park. You can also customize your preferences to tailor your individual experience and easily access the information you need for the national park you want to learn more about.

Since the app is in its beta stage, it will be constantly improved, and more information about each individual national park will be updated and added to the app. Download the app today to spend less time planning your national park visit and more time learning, exploring, and appreciating America’s most exciting locations.