NOTE: A more current version of the Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US) is available: PAD-US 3.0 https://doi.org/10.5066/P9Q9LQ4B.
The USGS Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US) is the nation's inventory of protected areas, including public land and voluntarily provided private protected areas, identified as an A-16 National Geospatial Data Asset in the Cadastre Theme (https://communities.geoplatform.gov/ngda-cadastre/). The PAD-US is an ongoing project with several published versions of a spatial database including areas dedicated to the preservation of biological diversity, and other natural (including extraction), recreational, or cultural uses, managed for these purposes through legal or other effective means. The database was originally designed to support biodiversity assessments; however, its scope expanded in recent years to include all public and nonprofit lands and waters. Most are public lands owned in fee (the owner of the property has full and irrevocable ownership of the land); however, long-term easements, leases, agreements, Congressional (e.g. 'Wilderness Area'), Executive (e.g. 'National Monument'), and administrative designations (e.g. 'Area of Critical Environmental Concern') documented in agency management plans are also included. The PAD-US strives to be a complete inventory of public land and other protected areas, compiling “best available” data provided by managing agencies and organizations. The PAD-US geodatabase maps and describes areas using over twenty-five attributes and five feature classes representing the U.S. protected areas network in separate feature classes: Fee (ownership parcels), Designation, Easement, Marine, Proclamation and Other Planning Boundaries. Five additional feature classes include various combinations of the primary layers (for example, Combined_Fee_Easement) to support data management, queries, web mapping services, and analyses. This PAD-US Version 2.1 dataset includes a variety of updates and new data from the previous Version 2.0 dataset (USGS, 2018 https://doi.org/10.5066/P955KPLE ), achieving the primary goal to "Complete the PAD-US Inventory by 2020" (https://www.usgs.gov/core-science-systems/science-analytics-and-synthesis/gap/science/pad-us-vision) by addressing known data gaps with newly available data. The following list summarizes the integration of "best available" spatial data to ensure public lands and other protected areas from all jurisdictions are represented in PAD-US, along with continued improvements and regular maintenance of the federal theme. Completing the PAD-US Inventory: 1) Integration of over 75,000 city parks in all 50 States (and the District of Columbia) from The Trust for Public Land's (TPL) ParkServe data development initiative (https://parkserve.tpl.org/) added nearly 2.7 million acres of protected area and significantly reduced the primary known data gap in previous PAD-US versions (local government lands). 2) First-time integration of the Census American Indian/Alaskan Native Areas (AIA) dataset (https://www2.census.gov/geo/tiger/TIGER2019/AIANNH) representing the boundaries for federally recognized American Indian reservations and off-reservation trust lands across the nation (as of January 1, 2020, as reported by the federally recognized tribal governments through the Census Bureau's Boundary and Annexation Survey) addressed another major PAD-US data gap. 3) Aggregation of nearly 5,000 protected areas owned by local land trusts in 13 states, aggregated by Ducks Unlimited through data calls for easements to update the National Conservation Easement Database (https://www.conservationeasement.us/), increased PAD-US protected areas by over 350,000 acres. Maintaining regular Federal updates: 1) Major update of the Federal estate (fee ownership parcels, easement interest, and management designations), including authoritative data from 8 agencies: Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Census Bureau (Census), Department of Defense (DOD), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), National Park Service (NPS), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The federal theme in PAD-US is developed in close collaboration with the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Federal Lands Working Group (FLWG, https://communities.geoplatform.gov/ngda-govunits/federal-lands-workgroup/); 2) Complete National Marine Protected Areas (MPA) update: from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) MPA Inventory, including conservation measure ('GAP Status Code', 'IUCN Category') review by NOAA; Other changes: 1) PAD-US field name change - The "Public Access" field name changed from 'Access' to 'Pub_Access' to avoid unintended scripting errors associated with the script command 'access'. 2) Additional field - The "Feature Class" (FeatClass) field was added to all layers within PAD-US 2.1 (only included in the "Combined" layers of PAD-US 2.0 to describe which feature class data originated from). 3) Categorical GAP Status Code default changes - National Monuments are categorically assigned GAP Status Code = 2 (previously GAP 3), in the absence of other information, to better represent biodiversity protection restrictions associated with the designation. The Bureau of Land Management Areas of Environmental Concern (ACECs) are categorically assigned GAP Status Code = 3 (previously GAP 2) as the areas are administratively protected, not permanent. More information is available upon request. 4) Agency Name (FWS) geodatabase domain description changed to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (previously U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service). 5) Select areas in the provisional PAD-US 2.1 Proclamation feature class were removed following a consultation with the data-steward (Census Bureau). Tribal designated statistical areas are purely a geographic area for providing Census statistics with no land base. Most affected areas are relatively small; however, 4,341,120 acres and 37 records were removed in total. Contact Mason Croft (masoncroft@boisestate) for more information about how to identify these records. For more information regarding the PAD-US dataset please visit, https://usgs.gov/gapanalysis/PAD-US/. For more information about data aggregation please review the Online PAD-US Data Manual available at https://www.usgs.gov/core-science-systems/science-analytics-and-synthesis/gap/pad-us-data-manual .
First posted - April 2009 (Version 1.0 - available from the PAD-US: Team firstname.lastname@example.org)
Revised - May 2010 (Version 1.1 - available from the PAD-US Team: email@example.com)
Revised - April 2011 (Version 1.2 - available from the PAD-US Team: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Revised - November 2012 (Version 1.3) https://doi.org/10.5066/F79Z92XD
Revised - May 2016 (Version 1.4) https://doi.org/10.5066/F7G73BSZ
Revised - September 2018 (Version 2.0) https://doi.org/10.5066/P955KPLE
Revised - September 2020 (Version 2.1) https://doi.org/10.5066/P92QM3NT