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

PAD-US Data and Maps

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.

Here’s an illustration of how PAD-US is put together by many federal, state, and NGO partners. (1mb JPG)


PAD-US data is available as follows from the USGS Gap Analysis Project (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 »

Statisticssummary statistics providing many views of PAD-US data are available from USGS »


Well-designed national and state-by-state maps of PAD-US data can be downloaded from the USGS PAD-US web site ».

These maps can be used many ways, including using the JPG images for presentations and reports, and making large or small prints from the more detailed PDFs. They all feature excellent cartography from GreenInfo Networklearn more and see examples of this map design (based on prior PAD-US data edition) »


The current version of PAD-US is 3.0.  Under U.S. government circular A-16, PAD-US is the official national inventory of protected lands.

Go to the official USGS ScienceBase Catalog information on PAD-US 3.0 »

The PAD-US data manual is available from USGS »

Metadata for PAD-US current version – read the PAD-US metadata »   (see also Data.gov entry)

Citation for PAD-US data:  U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Gap Analysis Project (GAP), 2022, Protected Areas Database of the United States (PAD-US) 3.0: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/P9Q9LQ4B.

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 »