Geologic Heritage World Heritage Sites

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972. The World Heritage List currently includes 830 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value. These include 644 cultural, 162 natural and 24 mixed properties in 138 Countries. World Heritage designation of natural areas where geology is a primary resource has helped to raise the profile of geologic heritage preservation efforts in Europe, China, and North America.

World Heritage Site

In the United States, the NPS serves as chief steward of the nation's natural and cultural heritage. The Secretary of the Interior, through the National Park Service, is responsible for identifying and nominating U.S. sites to the World Heritage list. The Service's Office of International Affairs provides staff support for U.S. participation in the World Heritage Convention.

There are currently twenty (20) World Heritage sites in the United States (including two sites jointly administered with Canada). The U.S. Department of the Interior, in cooperation with the Federal Interagency Panel for World Heritage has identified many more sites (cultural and natural) as likely to meet the criteria for future nomination to the World Heritage List.

Current World Heritage Sites in the U.S.

  • Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, inscribed 1979
  • Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, inscribed 1992
  • Grand Canyon National Park, inscribed 1979
  • Redwood National Park, inscribed 1980
  • Yosemite National Park, inscribed 1984
  • Mesa Verde National Park, inscribed 1978
  • Everglades National Park, inscribed 1979
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, inscribed 1987
  • Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, inscribed 1982
  • Mammoth Cave National Park, inscribed 1991
  • Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, inscribed 1995
  • Statue of Liberty National Monument, inscribed 1984
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park, inscribed 1995
  • Chaco Culture National Historical Park, inscribed 1987
  • Pueblo de Taos, inscribed 1992
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, inscribed 1983
  • Independence National Historic Site, inscribed 1979
  • Monticello and the University of Virginia, inscribed 1987
  • Olympic National Park, inscribed 1981
  • Yellowstone National Park, inscribed 1978
  • La Fortaleza-San Juan National Historical Site, inscribed 1983
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