About 12 percent of the United States is protected as natural area. That’s roughly 456,000 square miles of the nation’s total land mass of about 3.8 million square miles.
Now, when most of us think of land set aside to protect nature, at least here in the Southeast, we think of National Parks, we think of National Forests, we think of State Parks. Yet nationwide those three entities only account for about 10 percent of total protected land. What about those remaining 3.3 million square miles?