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States that are conserving the most land

  • States that are conserving the most land

    Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls—every state in the nation boasts another natural marvel; land carefully protected from development to preserve its beauty and ecosystem. The United States boasts a whopping 59 national parks and 8,565 state parks, plus countless other national forests and protected areas. Thanks to the government’s dedication to preservation, Americans can still discover natural wonders from sea to shining sea.

    With that in mind, the amount of land preserved does vary widely from state to state. Using data from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Inventory of Protected Areas, Stacker ranked all 50 states—plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico—by the percent of total protected state acres. The amount of each state’s land classified as protected with the designation GAP 1, GAP 2, or GAP 3 was calculated using digital mapping software.

    Read on to see where your home state falls on the list, and learn each state’s most notable large park. Environmentalists might even consider it a road trip bucket list.

    ALSO: States with the most farmland 

  • #52. Kansas

    Percent of total state area protected: < 1% (498,206.1 out of 52.7 million acres)

    Notable large park in this state: Fall River State Park

  • #51. District of Columbia

    Percent of total state area protected: < 1% (118.1 out of 43,734 acres)

    Notable large park in this state: Lincoln Park

  • #50. Iowa

    Percent of total state area protected: 1.69% (607,083.6 out of 36 million acres)

    Notable large park in this state: Brushy Creek State Recreation Area

  • #49. Nebraska

    Percent of total state area protected: 2.20% (1.1 million out of 49.5 million acres)

    Notable large park in this state: Fort Robinson State Park

  • #48. Illinois

    Percent of total state area protected: 3.19% (1.2 million out of 37.1 million acres)

    Notable large park in this state: Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park

  • #47. Texas

    Percent of total state area protected: 3.25% (5.6 million out of 171.9 million acres)

    Notable large park in this state: Big Bend National Park

  • #46. Indiana

    Percent of total state area protected: 3.26% (759,520.2 out of 23.3 million acres)

    Notable large park in this state: Brown County State Park

  • #45. Oklahoma

    Percent of total state area protected: 3.52% (1.6 million out of 44.7 million acres)

    Notable large park in this state: Lake Murray State Park

  • #44. Ohio

    Percent of total state area protected: 3.70% (1.1 million out of 28.7 million acres)

    Notable large park in this state: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

  • #43. Alabama

    Percent of total state area protected: 4.38% (1.5 million out of 33.5 million acres)

    Notable large park in this state: Oak Mountain State Park