USGS Protected Areas
This vector analysis of the Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US) was created to provide land managers and decision makers with a general summary of management for biodiversity protection, natural resource management, and recreation access. The PAD-US inventory is an aggregation of data from managing entities, or best available sources, representing the U.S. protected areas network and contains many overlapping boundaries. These vector analysis files were created to remove overlapping features and 'flatten' the data to facilitate spatial analysis and the calculation of area statistics. These vector analysis files also allow for other applications that require a representation of overall protection status without overlapping designation boundaries. Alternative formats are available including Comma-separated Value (CSV) tables and a rasterized version to facilitate the combination of protected areas data with other raster data (See PAD-US 3.0 Raster Analysis File associated with this data release; https://doi.org/10.5066/P9KLBB5D ). GAP Status Code, a measure of management intent to protect biodiversity, is used to prioritize overlapping management designations during the data 'flattening' process, with highest priority given to GAP Status 1 areas. See the PAD-US Website https://www.usgs.gov/gapanalysis/PAD-US for more information.
The name of the protected area prioritized in the Vector Analysis File in the PAD-US Unit Name Standard (i.e. full name including the designation type in Proper Case without acronyms, unit identifiers, special characters, space or return errors), complimenting PAD-US 'Local Name'. As null values are not permitted in this standardized field, categorical assignments are sometimes made from the 'Manager Name' field and an automatically-incremented number for each protected area when data gaps occur in source files.
General land manager description standardized for the U.S. See PAD-US Data Manual for “Agency Name to Agency Type Crosswalk” or geodatabase look up table for full domain descriptions. https://www.usgs.gov/core-science-systems/science-analytics-and-synthesis/gap/pad-us-data-manual
Land manager or administrative agency standardized for the U.S. See PAD-US Data Manual or geodatabase look up table for 'Agency Name' for full domain descriptions. https://www.usgs.gov/core-science-systems/science-analytics-and-synthesis/gap/pad-us-data-manual
The prioritized unit's land management description or 'Designation Type', standardized for the U.S. (e.g. 'Area of Critical Environmental Concern', 'Wilderness Area', 'State Park', 'Local Recreation Area', 'Conservation Easement'). See the PAD-US Data Manual for a crosswalk of 'Designation Type' from source data where 'Local Designation Type' may include related designations in various formats (e.g. NWSR, National Recreation River, National Scenic River, Eligible - Recreational, Eligible - Wild, etc.) or the geodatabase look up table for 'Designation Type' domain descriptions.
'GAP Status Code' is a measure of management intent to conserve biodiversity. See PAD-US Data Manual for full domain descriptions. https://www.usgs.gov/core-science-systems/science-analytics-and-synthesis/gap/pad-us-data-manual
GAP Status Code reclassified to maintain prioritization during Raster Analysis File development process. The GAP Priority (GAP_Prity) field was added during Vector Analysis File prioritization to facilitate rasterization as rasters prioritize higher numbers (Gap_Sts 1 becomes Gap_Prity 9, Gap_Sts 2 becomes Gap_Prity 8, Gap_Sts 3 becomes Gap_Prity 7, Gap_Sts 4 becomes Gap_Prity 6, Non-PADUS areas included through the boundaries of interest to stakeholders (State, Congressional District, County, Department of the Interior Region, EcoRegions I-IV, Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Urban Areas).
Level of 'Public Access' permitted (Open, Closed, Restricted, Unknown). See PAD-US Data Manual for full domain descriptions. https://www.usgs.gov/core-science-systems/science-analytics-and-synthesis/gap/pad-us-data-manual
GIS calculated acreage for each polygon.
Federal land, according to the standardized general land manager description attribute.
State land, according to the standardized general land manager description attribute.
Local land, according to the standardized general land manager description attribute.
Native American land, according to the standardized general land manager description attribute.
Private land, according to the standardized general land manager description attribute.
Regional agency special district land, according to the standardized general land manager description attribute.
The designation type description for the area refers to an easement. There are a large variety of easement types, including conservation, forest stewardship, historic or cultural, recreation or education, agricultural, or ranch easement types, in addition to other or unknown easement types.
The designation type description for the area includes the terms 'historic' or 'cultural' area. Excludes areas designated as National Scenic or Historic Trails (NT).
The designation type description for the area includes references to agriculture or ranching.
Lands with GAP status 1 or 2 are considered to be protected as conservation areas. Conservation areas include both public lands and private lands with voluntary conservation easements. GAP 1 and 2 lands are permanently protected from conversion. They allow only natural disturbances (GAP 1) or specific management interventions (e.g., wildfire suppression; GAP 2).
Access is either open or limited. 'Open' areas have no special requirements for public access to the property (may include regular hours of availability). Limited ('restricted') access areas require a special permit from the owner for access, a registration permit on public land (e.g. self-permitting Wild and Scenic River, backcountry Wilderness registration) or have highly variable times when open to use.
'Open' requires no special requirements for public access to the property (may include regular hours of availability).