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Public-images-osm logo.svg park:type
The specific type or function of a park Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: leisure
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areas (and multipolygon relations)should not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Status: in use

The park:type=* tag was originally intended to better define the type of parks being added to OpenStreetMap in a 2009 import around the state of California. There are efforts to hasten its deprecation in favor of more modern tagging schemes. See the table in the Other ideas section for an ongoing, partially complete conversation suggesting new values for old values. (Contribute to it more and/or discuss how close we are to now accepting existing values, when/as tagging might change; the Discussion page suggests one or two systematic steps we might next take to complete this).


This tag has been in use since 2009 when it was deployed in the USA during an import of California State Parks (frequently with a value of "state_park"). As those data included many kinds of what American English calls "park" (but which don't meet more-recently-sharpened leisure=park wiki definitions), this tag was used to more precisely describe the particular kind of State Parks Department "park." Its use expanded, a major reason is due to the widely elastic American English dialect usage of "park" as "a large area of land kept in its natural state for public recreational use."[1]. Example values (click taginfo) include state_park, city_park, state_beach, county_park, national_forest, state_game_land, state_recreational_area, private_park, state_historic_park, state_cultural_preserve, national_recreational_area and community_park. There are thousands (perhaps soon only hundreds) of uses, yet this wiki was begun a decade after this key's introduction and subsequent wider use.

Current usage

In 2019, leisure=park was more precisely wiki-defined to exclude many "non-urban" kinds of what American English calls "parks." So, while "legacy tagging" remains in OSM, discussion continues towards improved tagging schemes. This includes better clarifying what is meant by specific park:type=* tags, having viable alternatives and reaching consensus on logical mappings between old (park:type=*) and new tags. A sketch of some park:type=* tag mappings is below in the Ideas section table. Additions there are encouraged, and the first section of the Discussion page proposes a beginning to a systematic approach to this. This is fluid and specifics are not yet fully defined or agreed upon, these are simply some initial suggestions of replacements to park:type=* tagging. The free-form-text-valued protection_title=* key can go some distance to convey what park:type=* does now (for example, protection_title=State Marine Reserve).

Smaller and neighborhood city parks

Little need change with the tagging of neighborhood or smaller city parks. Here, a park:type=city_park tag (if one exists) can be deleted entirely and/or supplemented with ownership=municipal, operator=* and/or owner=* tags. Parks are assumed to be public, though some are not: distinctions of park:type=private or park:type=permissive tags are better specified with access=*.

Larger and regional (often county-level) parks

At the county level, it remains less clear how to best tag regional and larger (less "human-sculpted") parks, due to blurry semantics of the leisure=park tag, as well as multiple tagging schemes for these being extant in the map. The leisure=park tag's current definition tends to exclude such larger, more natural/landscape parks. That said, in the USA larger parks not managed at the state or national level but don't qualify as "smaller," "neighborhood" or more "human-sculpted" parks can keep leisure=park for now, until this tag is better clarified. One tagging option is leisure=nature_reserve, though this does collide with leisure=park, forcing a best choice between the two values. Some areas might be better tagged landuse=recreation_ground instead of leisure=park, but it is not always clear how the former tag applies or which is correct where both tags overlap. Indeed, the landuse=recreation_ground wiki says there can be conflation of that tag with leisure=park.

Many current park:type=* tags which apply to larger and regional parks, like park:type=county_park and park:type=regional, can and should be replaced with more widely accepted tagging which is more precise. For instance, park:type=regional might be replaced by boundary=protected_area + ownership=* (example values include national, state, county, municipal and conservation_organization, among others). The operator=* tag can also be used where the entity operating the park is different from the government or organization that owns it.

State and national parks

There is unanimity US National Parks should be tagged boundary=national_park. There is strong consensus that state parks in all fifty US states (states being sovereign) also can and do (sometimes) receive the boundary=national_park tag — though application of this tag is inconsistent, especially on state parks. See United_States/Public_lands.

Ideas, helpful concepts

An April 2019 discussion[1] on talk-us points here. Mentioned are the "Existing 4," (as "tags to use on park-like things"): leisure=park, leisure=nature_reserve, boundary=national_park, boundary=protected_area. A 5th might be landuse=recreation_ground, which sometimes, even according to its own wiki, conflates with leisure=park. Of course, use landuse=recreation_ground when appropriate.


One idea (not a solution, but it could help the transition) is a prototype / not-yet-invented park_level=* tag (really, a concept / talking point first envisioned by user:stevea around 2009-2010). The value of the park_level=* key mimics the admin_level=* value of the level of government which operates or owns the land as "the public." For example, a county_park (or county_beach?) might get park_level=6, as admin_level=6 means county-level in the USA. This way, as boundary=national_park is used on both federal-level and state-level parks, park_level=2 and park_level=4 (respectively) can be used and park:type=* moves closer to deletion / deprecation. It is true that park_level=* does not preclude or replace operator=* and/or owner=* tags being applied to "parks," though it could supplement those tags — especially as park_level=* would certainly facilitate park (boundary) rendering: the park_level=* tag could allow different dashing or coloring for different values. (As leisure=park has been more restrictively defined to be urban / municipal-level parks, an imagined park_level=8 tag would likely be correct). To be clear, using park_level=* would not be a direct replacement for the park:type=* key, it could supplement one aspect of it by mimicking the admin_level=* of the park's owner=* or logically derive from ownership=* (facilitating better park boundary rendering).

It appears ownership=* stands tall here, essentially making park:type a dying crutch. Good for us to plan for that and deprecate it kindly. There is still some that park:type might teach us as we wring out last possible useful semantics from it going forward, modernizing our tagging.


There is a "newer" (September 2020) "proposed tag pair" to potentially better (more specifically, "starting from scratch") address these issues: park:public_level=* and park:ownership=*. These are tagged as "status=draft" and in the Discussion page of the former, it is suggested that the wiki be moved to Proposed_features/Key:park:public_level instead. It seems that ownership=*, with free-form text values like "national" and "state" is too restrictive for worldwide usage in OSM, and the potential overlap in semantics with admin_level=* values (as envisioned in park_level) is now seen as a more mature concept whose time might be now. So, at least for parks (not "public lands" in general, as the meaning of this can be so different around the world), this proposed tag pair is emerging.

Other ideas

Other specificity (besides level-of-government) conveyed by current values of park:type=* (such as open space preserve, wilderness, historic, private, beach...) should be better conveyed by modern tagging strategies. For example:

Existing park:type=* value Proposed, more-modern key:value pair(s) Comments
open_space_preserve leisure=nature_reserve
wilderness boundary=protected_area + protect_class=1b In the USA, there are both national- and state-level wildernesses; please clarify with ownership=*, operator=* and/or owner=* tags
historic_preserve leisure=nature_reserve + historic=yes
private access=private If it's a public park that is privately owned, ownership=private can also be used instead of and/or in addition to access=private
beach natural=beach Tagging varies widely. Strictly speaking, tagging natural=* is independent of a park's boundaries. (Landuse vs. landcover). Separate polygons are usually required to express both park (boundary) and beach (edges). leisure=beach_resort can also be used to map the whole area if it is managed, has multiple beaches, or otherwise fits the tag.
national_forest The tag boundary=national_park should be deprecated for National Forests, instead tagging boundary=protected_area + protect_class=6 + additional tags. See United_States/Public_lands
national_recreational_area landuse=recreation_ground + ownership=national
state_game_land ownership=state + landuse=recreation_ground or boundary=protected_area
state_recreational_area landuse=recreation_ground + ownership=state
state_cultural_preserve boundary=protected_area or leisure=nature_reserve + ownership=state
state_natural_preserve leisure=nature_reserve + ownership=state
county_park boundary=protected_area or leisure=nature_reserve + ownership=county
community_park leisure=park + ownership=municipal
city_park leisure=park + ownership=municipal + access=public Can also remain simply as leisure=park, though with less specificity as to ownership and access.
Please enter additional values and their proposed replacement key:value pairs here as additional table rows...

This table is a modestly-populated "seed." A semantically complete table of park:type=* values might be fully developed: better, more-modern OSM-equivalent values could be proposed, then consensus can be built for widely-acceptable proper values to map from old/present park:type=* values to newer, better key-value pairs.

An early "result" from chewing this bubble gum is that there seems to be a sensible tag migration from park:type=* to ownership=*, at least in part for "municipal-level" parks, by replacing park:type=city_park with ownership=municipal.


In short, continuing use of the park:type=* key is discouraged. It may be considered in early stages of being deprecated, yet its legacy usage will continue while OSM's USA community develops better consensus on how to properly tag (especially county-level) "parks" (as is meant by American English, not OSM's now-more-narrow leisure=park definition). For such wider discussion, please use the Discussion page. A related discussion is happening at United_States/Public_lands, though no mention of park:type=* is found there.

See also


  1. Apple MacOS X Mojave (US English) Dictionary, "park," (noun) Definition 1 (US variant)