[Tagging] Tagging of State Parks in the US

Kevin Kenny kevin.b.kenny at gmail.com
Wed Aug 7 17:56:42 UTC 2019

On Tue, Aug 6, 2019 at 5:51 PM Clifford Snow <clifford at snowandsnow.us> wrote:
> I've been following this thread but haven't chimed in yet. I wanted to talk to someone that works in State Parks. I contact Neil Lasley with Washington State Parks and asked him his impression of the discussion and how the state view parks.
> Here is what he had to say.
> Good to hear from you! I can provide you with an explanation and some reference literature that points to WACs and RCWs to shed some more light on this. (RCW are state laws and WACs are administrative codes)
> In a nutshell though--tagging them as protected areas sounds like a good idea to me---I support it. I read Kevin Kenny’s reasoning behind wanting to do that, and like he said—while state parks may not be nature-protected areas across the board (some of them are highly developed and definitely aimed more towards public recreation opportunities, and some of them are protected for cultural/historic significance), they are all, in a sense, community-protected areas.
> The state’s definition of a state park is…
> State Park: Land generally greater than 10 acres in size, managed to protect and conserve significant scenic, natural and cultural features and to provide public access, facilities, or programs that through recreational, educational, and interpretive experiences connect visitors with those features.
> I’m probably getting out into the weeds here, but I think it’s worth mentioning that there are also state park properties…
> State Park Properties: Lands owned by the agency that are being held for future development (and lack any real infrastructure).
> A lot of mapping platforms (Google Maps) incorrectly label State Park Properties as full-blown State Parks, which confuses the public and is something we hear about often. (We’ve worked with Google several times to correct this, but they’re very slow to act). Regardless of how State Park Properties are labeled, I think tagging them as protected areas also makes sense.
> A couple of things jumped out at me. First that parks can have a number of uses from recreation to cultural giving possible different classifications to the park. Second, I am aware of the park holdings but had never added them to OSM. But that might be another classification.

Good to hear that there's agreement at least in principle from some of
the people who manage these things!

Yes, there are all sorts of things that come under the 'state park'
umbrella. Some actually are nature reserves, with IUCN categories
anywhere from 1b to 6 - including 2, because some function in the same
way as 'national parks' even though they are non-Federal. Some are
historic sites; some are tourism=museum or leisure=golf_course or
landuse=winter_sports or any one of a number of other things. I'm
trying to establish a 'lowest common denominator' that is at least
safe for 'I don't know/something else' and that can be used to make
them all protected areas - they are all protected with legal language
lite the phrase you got from Washington. In particular, I find it hard
to identify any developed state parks that don't either enjoy
natural-area protection (classes 1b-6), or else fall under classes 21
(community: which appears to be used so far in OSM only for recreation
areas) or 22 (cultural: again, appears to be used in OSM only for
protected historic sites).

New York, too, has undeveloped State Parks. I've tagged them case by
case. They all have the protected_area tagging, but some are
'landuse=brownfield' (to quote Facebook, "it's complicated"), some are
'leisure=nature_reserve' (they're not closed to the public, but they
don't have dedicated facilities to support public access either), and
there are one or two that I've just left with the protected area
tagging and 'access=private' because they belong to the Office of
Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and enjoy protected
status, but are closed to the public.

Some of the undeveloped parks are not listed on the parks.ny.gov web
site but often are recognized and promoted by local governments:
https://www.niskayuna.org/parks/pages/mohawk-river-state-park is an
example. (The page links to a map that is OSM-derived. It's gratifying
to see my own work mapping the park making it back to the local
government! It's also nice to have 50 hectares or so of old-growth
forest right in the middle of suburbia.) Some of the undeveloped ones
are listed: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/49/details.aspx is an example.
I get the impression that the choice is more a function of whether the
staff have had the time to prepare the information, than any formal

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