Let's Celebrate 50 Years of Ocean Conservation and Stewardship
Nearly fifty years ago, a new era of ocean conservation was born by creating a system of national marine sanctuaries. Since then, the National Marine Sanctuary System has grown into a nationwide network of 15 national marine sanctuaries and two marine national monuments that conserve more than 620,000 square miles of spectacular ocean and Great Lakes waters, an area nearly the size of Alaska.
Each national marine sanctuary and marine national monument has its own unique history and purpose. These underwater parks were set aside for both protection and enjoyment, now and in the future—and decisions about how to best manage each of these special places continue to be made using the best available scientific data, as well as extensive public input.
We believe that water is a thread that connects us all. National marine sanctuaries and monuments support coastal communities and drive local economies by providing jobs and opportunities for people to discover, recreate, and form lifelong connections with these spectacular places. The successes throughout the National Marine Sanctuary System show that conservation, economic prosperity, and human well being not only go well together, but they are deeply woven together in our national character.
The National Marine Sanctuary System turns 50 on October 23, 2022. Please join us throughout the next year as we celebrate the history, accomplishments, and beauty of these incredible underwater parks across the United States!
Discover Spectacular Educational Materials
Check out our educational materials that bring the ocean and Great Lakes into your classroom, home, facility, or wherever you learn best.
A Journey Through Time
This timeline provides highlights of the last 50+ years of national marine sanctuaries.
During the campaign, we will follow five focused themes highlighting various aspects of the national marine sanctuary system.
From this October through December, we'll kick-off our 50th celebration and emphasize the history and accomplishments of the sanctuary system over the last 50 years.
From January to March we'll start the new year with a focus on the diversity of education and outreach programs developed and delivered by sanctuaries and our partners throughout the system.
From April to June we'll dive into our sanctuaries and focus on how exploration and research help us understand and manage threats to sanctuary resources.
From July to September, we’ll embark on our "Get Into Your Sanctuary" campaign throughout the sanctuary system by promoting responsible recreation, tourism and stewardship, and explore the various ways in which people build personal connections to these special places.
From October to December we’ll conclude the 50th celebration by inviting people to share why sanctuaries are special places and should be conserved for future generations, celebrating our 50th anniversary in late October 2022, and launching a new strategic vision for the system.
Web Stories and Signature Series Articles
How has America's connection to maritime places changed over the years? How have past presidents shaped the protection of special ocean places? What are some of the most exciting discoveries in your national marine sanctuaries? Each month, check back for new articles that delve into these topics, and more!