Infographic: If Parks Were Pixels

I have been inspired by a chart found in a recent National Geographic. The chart in the August 2006 issue shows the odds of dying from any particular cause -- 1 in 5 heart disease, 1 in 340,733 fireworks discharge. I liked the chart because it compared these values in relative size. I thought it would be interesting to apply the same graphical treatment to compare the size in acres of our National Parks. It should be noted that the chart below shows only acreage of the 58 National Parks contained within the NPS, it does not include acreage from monuments, preserves, recreation areas, or the rest. The chart appears a little small on this page, to see it in greater detail just click on the image.

National Park Acreage Chart

Wrangell-St Elias is the largest park in the system at 7,662,670 acres (not including the additional acreage of the attached preserve which is nearly another 5 million acres). Wrangell-St Elias represents 14% of all park acreage, or put another way, represents 1 in every 7 acres within all National Parks across the system. On the other end of the scale is Hot Springs National Park, the smallest park in the system at 5,550 acres. Hot Springs represents 1/100th of a percent (0.01%) of all acres within the Parks, or 1 in every 10,000 acres.

This chart only includes 15 of the 58 National Parks, it would have been too cluttered to include more. If you are interested in seeing the "raw data", just let me know and I can post it here. Otherwise, if you'd like to see the National Park Service data for acreage of all park units, click here [pdf].

This chart took a little longer to create than I had originally planned. I had forgotten a bit of basic geometry and had to start over at one point. A circle with a diameter of 50 does not equal half the area of a circle with a diameter of 100 (in fact, it represents only about 25% of the area). Thank goodness for calculators.