The National Park Service embraces civic engagement as a philosophy and a fundamental discipline and practice. The Park Service’s commitment to civic engagement is founded on the central principle that preservation of the nation’s heritage resources relies on continued collaboration between the Service and American society. Civic engagement involves building and sustaining relationships with neighbors and other communities of interest, both near and far. It requires communicating by both talking and listening. Through its practice of civic engagement, the Service will actively encourage a two-way, continuous, and dynamic conversation with the public.
To learn more about the evolution of civic engagement within the National Park Service, see Timeline & Past Accomplishments.
Civic engagement will take place on many levels to strengthen understanding of the full meaning and contemporary relevance of park resources and values, with a goal of reinforcing both the Service’s and the public’s commitment to the preservation and stewardship of cultural and natural heritage resources.
This practice will promote civic responsibility by building long-term, collaborative relationships with a broad range of communities, which in turn will foster a widespread investment in stewardship of the nation’s resources and improve mutual understanding, decisions, and work products. Through these efforts, the Service will also learn from the communities it serves.
The Park Service must actively seek to understand the values and connections that our changing population has, or does not have, for natural and cultural heritage if it is to remain responsible and relevant to public needs.
For more information, see section 1.7 of the NPS Management Policies 2006. See also NPS Director’s Order #75A on Civic Engagement and Public Participation.