California Protected Areas Data Portal


About CPAD

The California Protected Areas Database (CPAD) contains GIS data about lands that are owned in fee and protected for open space purposes by over 1,000 public agencies or non-profit organizations. Download a flyer describing CPAD. To learn about available easement GIS data go to CCED section. For details about CPAD data, please read on!



CPAD 2017a is available as of August 2017.

DOWNLOAD All CPAD files »  (2017a, 103mb zipped shape files - holdings, units, super units, plus CPAD Manual)



Web Data Service:  CPAD 2017a is now available over the web as a data service (available as ArcMap,, Google Earth, ArcGIS Explorer, ArcGIS JavaScript services, with layer symbolization for access, ownership and level). Thanks to the Calif. Natural Resources Agency's Department of Water Resources for providing these services! 

Go to the California Geoportal CPAD Map Server » 



CPAD RELEASE NOTICE - Get the CPAD Version 2017a Release Notice (PDF, 220kb)  

CPAD USER MANUAL - Download the CPAD User Manual (PDF, 570kb)  

CPAD Statistics - Download the CPAD 2017a Statistics Report (PDF 216kb)

CPAD Flyer - Download a two page description of CPAD (see images at right)  (PDF 2.4mb)

CPAD POSTER MAP - Download the poster map at right as a full resolution print PDF (PDF 155mb) 

Learn more about the current and past editions of CPAD »



REVISE:  While CPAD data are very accurate, there will always be some errors or omissions in a data set of this size and complexity. We encourage you to tell us about these gaps by using the MapCollaborator CPAD Edition. »

SHARE:  If you have GIS data for your agency's parks/open spaces, please contact us about sharing that data!

ACQUISITION DATES:  If you have information on the dates that individual parks or other CPAD lands were acquired, you can enter that information in the CPAD Dates MapCollaborator »



The main features of CPAD are:

  • CPAD contains fee lands only (learn more about CCED easement data »)
  • CPAD includes national/state/regional parks, forests, preserves, and wildlife areas; large and small urban parks that are mainly open space (as opposed to recreational facility structures); land trust preserves owned outright; special district open space lands (watershed, recreation, etc.) and other types of open space. Some lands in CPAD are subject to extensive human use (park development, logging, off-highway vehicle use, etc.) - the term "protected" in CPAD is used broadly and allows that in the entire system of these lands some are owned and managed for other than natural resource purposes.
  • Key CPAD attributes include: holding names, ownership, public access, size, manager designation (where available), county and other information.
  • Holdings in CPAD are based on the owning agency - where an agency leases or manages land owned by another agency, the owning agency is the primary reference in the CPAD database (where known, the managing agency is identified in a special field). View the Agency List for more information about the agencies in the CPAD inventory.
  • Wherever possible, CPAD uses assessor parcels to determine the boundaries of holdings. While assessor parcels in rural areas are sometimes not spatially accurate, parcels offer the most consistent framework for integrating data from hundreds of land-owning agencies across the state.
  • CPAD does not include military lands used primarily for military purposes or tribal lands but older GIS data for each of these has been compiled by GreenInfo Network and is available as "supplemental data" - Learn more and download here »



CPAD has three levels of data about protected lands (see diagram at bottom of examples of each data level)

HOLDINGS:   The core element in the CPAD database is the HOLDINGS, which have the most detailed attribute information in CPAD.  Holdings are equivalent to assessor parcels, however CPAD holdings may not full align with such parcels.

UNITS:  Commonly named and owned protected areas within a single county (e.g., "Mt. Diablo State Park") are UNITS, which may be made up of two or more HOLDINGS. A unit may also have just one holding (e.g., an urban park, or another single parcel protected area). UNITS have summary attribute information.  Commonly owned holdings that have different access attributes are defined as different Units.

SUPER UNITS:   Super Units are defined for use as cartographic aids (they show the outer boundary of groups of holdings, that have same name, manager, and access, regardless of county), as well as to suppport application developers working on recreational access projects that focus on knowing who manages sites.

Learn more about CPAD Standards and Structure »

Image of CPAD holdings structure












CPAD logo

CPAD flyer image