You know those iconic maps you’re handed at the entrance station when you enter a national park? Well now you can get those online. For free. Park ranger Matt Holly took it upon himself to collect and digitize all the park maps he could, making them available online for pre-planning your next national park adventure. As Holly exclaims on his NPMaps website, “Wooo!”
Holly, who works for the National Park Service’s National Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate, a division that helps the parks manage their natural resources, began to work on the site during the 2013 government shutdown in a bid to digitize the paper maps he’s come to love so much. “Nothing compares to unfolding the map, spreading it out on the table, and plotting your day’s adventure,” he told Smithsonian magazine.
The site is not affiliated with the National Park Service, but instead simply a passion project that Holly works on whenever he gets some free time. NPMaps currently features 1,053 free high-resolution national park maps to view, save, and download in both PDF and .jpg form. A menu helps you navigate all parks alphabetically or sort by state.
In a blog post, Holly revealed his most popular park searches in the past few years. You would think it would be Yosemite or the most visited Great Smoky Mountains and Grand Canyon national parks. But it’s actually Bryce Canyon, with Big Bend coming in a close second.
So if you plan to or want to visit one of our great national parks this summer, start your research over on NPMaps. Thanks for all your hard work Matt!