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NPS and USCRN: A Collaboration for the Ages

Courtesy of NOAA

In August 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service (NPS) to safeguard and steward the young but growing National Park System. The NPS mission is to preserve “unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” These preserved and pristine locations provided the perfect opportunity for collaboration with the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) program, which aims to monitor climate in stable, open landscapes.

Map of U.S. Climate Reference Network Stations in National Park Service Units

Since 2002, NCEI has managed and operated the USCRN in partnership with NOAA’s Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division. The USCRN’s mission is to monitor the climate across the United States in pristine locations for the next 50 years and provide user-driven information products based on these measurements. It consists of a systematic and sustained network of stations with sites across the conterminous United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. These stations use high-quality instruments to measure temperature, precipitation, soil conditions, and more.

The USCRN program has collaborated with the NPS since 2003, placing climate-observing stations in national park units around the country. Currently, 25 USCRN stations are located in NPS units. In commemoration of the NPS centennial, the USCRN program will release a series of reports describing the stations located in NPS sites across eight regions of the United States. These reports will also describe the environments in which the stations are located, recount interesting events, and provide a preliminary look at the climatology of these locations. Check out the table below to see all of the USCRN stations located in national parks.

Installation Date Name of Station National Park Service Site Region

Mar 25, 2003

Redding 12 WNW, CA

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

Northwest

Apr 3, 2003

Darrington 21 NNE, WA

North Cascades National Park

Northwest

Jul 10, 2003

Arco 17 SW, ID

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Northern Rockies

Aug 27, 2003

Harrison 20 SSE, NE

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

Great Plains

Sep 25, 2003

St. Mary 1, MT

Glacier National Park

Northern Rockies

Mar 16, 2004

John Day 35 WNW, OR

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Northwest

May 5, 2004

Stovepipe Wells 1 SW, CA

Death Valley National Park

Southwest

May 9, 2004

Baker 5 W, NV

Great Basin National Park

Southwest

May 19, 2004

Bowling Green 21 NNE, KY

Mammoth Cave National Park

East

Jul 1, 2004

Moose 1 NNE, WY

Grand Teton National Park

Northern Rockies

Jul 21, 2004

Dinosaur 2 E, CO

Dinosaur National Monument

Central Rockies

Jul 25, 2004

Montrose 11 ENE, CO

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Southern Rockies

Jul 31, 2004

Los Alamos 13 W, NM

Valles Caldera National Preserve

Southern Rockies

Sep 18, 2004

Medora 7 E, ND

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Great Plains

Dec 16, 2004

Brunswick 23 S, GA

Cumberland Island National Seashore

East

Nov 2, 2005

Cortez 8 SE, CO

Mesa Verde National Park

Southern Rockies

Sep 9, 2006

Quinault 4 NE, WA

Olympic National Park

Northwest

Feb 10, 2007

Everglades City 5 NE, FL

Big Cypress National Preserve

East

Feb 25, 2007

Panther Junction 2 N, TX

Big Bend National Park

Great Plains

Aug 19, 2007

Brigham City 28 WNW, UT

Golden Spike National Historic Site

Central Rockies

Sep 29, 2007

Yosemite Village 12 W, CA

Yosemite National Park

Southwest

Oct 4, 2007

Torrey 7 E, UT

Capitol Reef National Park

Central Rockies

Sep 25, 2009

Port Alsworth 1 SW, AK

Lake Clark National Park

Alaska

Aug 17, 2012

King Salmon 42 SE, AK

Katmai National Park

Alaska

Aug 20, 2015

Denali 27 N, AK

Denali National Park

Alaska