A Resource for the Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US)


PAD-US is the official national GIS inventory of public park and open space areas held by public agencies and non-governmental organizations. PAD-US also includes lands protected by conservation easement, and marine protected areas.  Learn more about the status of PAD-US data for each state.

For a general introduction to PAD-US, you can view this 45 minute webinar presentation.


This data is available as follows from the USGS Gap Analysis Program (GAP):

Web services – layers are available for ownership, gap rank (biodiversity protection status), as well as by agency level and as a single feature layer (no categories).  Go to GAP web data services  »

Data download – PAD-US data is in GIS format and can be downloaded wholly or by state, geographic region (Northeast, etc.), or Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) region. ArcGIS layer files for a dozen thematic classifications (Gap rank, management, etc.) are in the data download file and are very useful.  Go to GAP PAD-US data download »


The current version of PAD-US is 1.4 (May 2016).  Under U.S. government circular A-16, PAD-US is the official national inventory of protected lands.  Learn more about current and previous PAD-US data editions »

Go to the official USGS ScienceBase Catalog information on PAD-US 1.4

A report describing data standards and descriptions for PAD-US is available from USGS GAP (PDF) »

Metadata for PAD-US current version – read the PAD-US metadata »

Tools for translating your GIS data into the PAD-US standard are available from USGS GAP »

Citation for PAD-US data:   U.S. Geological Survey Gap Analysis Program (GAP). May 2016. Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US), version 1.4.

For more information on PAD-US, go to the USGS GAP PAD-US web site »


National Conservation Easement Database (NCED) – NCED is managed by a non-governmental organization consortium and currently includes approximately 22 million acres in 100,000 easements. NCED data is integrated into PAD-US. Learn more about NCED »

 NOAA Marine Protected Areas are also included in PAD-US and cover critical coastal and ocean resources.  Learn more about NOAA MPAs

Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) North American Protected Areas Database (PAD-US is the U.S. component).

 World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) – PAD-US is the national contribution to this global database of key protected areas which is a tracking system for the Convention on Biological Diversity.  WDPA is a join project of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Program World Conservation Monitoring Center.    Learn more about WDPA »