Learning Center

What is the difference between the Forest Service, the National Park Service, Department of Wildlife Resources and State Parks?

The Forest Service manages the national forests and grasslands, forestry research and cooperation with forest managers on State and Private Lands. The Forest Service is dedicated to multiple-use management for the sustained yield of renewable resources such as water, forage, wildlife, wood and recreation. Multiple-use means managing resources under the best combination of uses to benefit the American people while ensuring the productivity of the land and protecting the quality of the environment.

The National Park Service focuses on preservation. They preserve, unimpaired, the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation.

State Parks are similar to National Parks but are managed on a state level and can have fewer restrictions.

Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) can be under state or federal management. State DWRs handle fishing and hunting permits while federal wildlife agencies, such as the National Marine Fisheries Service, manage wildlife that crosses state boundaries such as migratory birds and whales and some fish species.