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

Quick Start

PAD-US Word Graphic The Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US) is the official national GIS inventory of protected areas, as provided by managing agencies and organizations, and is produced by the USGS. PAD-US is an inventory of land and water, including fee ownerships, overlapping designations, proclamation boundaries, conservation easements, and Marine Protected Areas, that are held by thousands of public agencies and nonprofits. PAD-US is made up of many agencies’ datasets and updated periodically. With version 2.0, PAD-US is mostly complete for Federal areas and most State lands. It’s only about 60 percent complete for all local and regional parks and open space areas, and for conservation easements (which come from the National Conservation Easement Database), but individual states can vary from extremely complete to not very complete at all.

When using PAD-US, remember that . . .

  • Individual source agencies are likely to have the most up to date and official data for their agency. See more information on source agencies (Data Stewards) and to learn more, see memo on using PAD-US data in base maps.   
  • Overlaps and slivers still exist among and between some agencies’ ownership boundaries, but the PAD-US 2.0 Fee layer represents significant improvement from previous versions. 
  • The new ‘Designations’ and ‘Proclamation’ feature classes in PAD-US 2.0 are not ownership layers – The ‘Designation’ feature class contains Wilderness Areas, National Monuments, and other policy boundaries that may not be aligned to ownership boundaries and may be designed to overlap both each other and the ‘Fee’ and ‘Easement’ feature classes. The ‘Proclamation’ feature class shows administrative boundaries for National Forests and Parks, Wildlife Refuges and other lands, not ownership. Learn more about ‘Designation’ and ‘Proclamation’ boundaries here
  • There are many States that still don’t have complete data on urban and regional parks and open space – learn more about our road ahead on data and how you can help fill us to fill in missing data here.
  • Some lands are closed to any public use – review the ‘Access’ attribute in PAD-US to filter data being used to show publicly-accessible lands. For the most accurate and up-to-date public access information, it is always best to contact the source agency.


Tell us about your uses and how we can improve PAD-US


Julie Prior-Magee, PAD-US Dataset Manager
Phone: 575-557-1566
Email: jpmagee@usgs.gov

Lisa Johnson, PAD-US Coordinator / FGDC Federal Lands Working Group co-chair
Phone: 208-874-3102
Email: lisajjohnson@boisestate.edu


You can contact any members of the PAD-US team for your specific needs and questions.