City Park Facts - Acreage and Size

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The total park acres category includes any city, county, metro, state, or federal public parkland within the city limits. This can also include water acreage or riparian waterways, and trails. We do not include parkland outside the city limits, even if it is owned by the city park agency. In certain cases, the city has merged with the county (e.g., Charlotte/Mecklenburg County), which is indicated in our reports. In other cases, we survey multiple large cities within one metro region (e.g., in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, we separately report on Los Angles, Long Beach, Anaheim, Santa Ana, and Irvine).

Parkland acreage is separated into three categories: Natural Areas, Designed Areas, and Undeveloped Acres.

Natural areas (including water acreage) are either pristine or reclaimed lands left largely undisturbed and managed for their conservation and ecological value (i.e., wetlands, forests, deserts). While they may have trails and occasional benches, they are not developed for any recreation activities beyond walking, running, and cycling. If particular large parks have both natural and designed areas, we ask the agencies to estimate the amounts that are natural.

Designed areas (including water acreage) are parklands that have been created, constructed, planted, and managed primarily for human use. They include playgrounds, neighborhood parks, mini-parks, picnic meadows, sports fields, plazas, boulevards, and all areas served by roadways, parking lots and service buildings, and facilities. If particular large parks have both natural and designed areas, we ask the agencies to estimate the amounts that are designed.

Undeveloped areas are owned by a public agency but have not yet been developed for public use, are not managed or patrolled, and are not legally open to public use.

The three categories of acreage are combined for a total acreage for each agency. All the agencies within each city are combined for a total acreage for each city.

The 150 Largest City Parks in the U.S.
Acres of Parkland by City and Agency
Acres of Parkland as Percentage of City Area
Acres of Parkland per 1,000 Residents by City
Acres of Parkland by Natural and Designed Acres
New Acres Acquired, by Agency

 
Central Park, New York. Credit: Flickr Feed.