A Handbook for Managers of Cultural Landscapes with Natural Resource Values Conservation Study Institute
San Francisco Bay, California, photo by Nora Mitchell
San Francisco Bay, California, photo by Nora Mitchell
Executive Summary
An Overview of Cultural Landscape Preservation
An Overview of the Case Studies
Gathering and Utilizing Information
Communications: Getting Staff to Work Together
The Management Planning Process
Working with Others Outside the Site
Needs Assessment
Findings Golden Gate Bridge, photo by Nora Mitchell
View Case Studies

The Management Planning Process

It is important that sites develop a comprehensive approach to planning rather than using an ad hoc approach for each individual project. In this way, planners and managers are better able to see the "big picture" and the interrelationships among projects. When evaluation is built into the planning process, the process becomes a learning experience.

Tools and Approaches

Sitewide Work Plans

It was suggested that parks and other protected areas would do well to set priorities for projects sitewide, through a sitewide work plan. This prevents individuals from pursuing project funding and then having to return that funding if other managers determine the project is not a priority, or if the project conflicts with plans or priorities of other divisions.

Post-project Evaluation

After a project has been completed, it is important to step back and look at what worked well and what did not. Time for reflection can be built into the system, becoming a routine part of the process, so that it is no longer possible to immediately go on to the next project without learning something from the last.

In order to evaluate the success of a project, measurable goals and outcomes must be determined in advance. For example, 20 years ago, professionals involved in fire management believed that success was achieved when the fuel load was reduced. Today managers introduce fire as a natural component and are looking for success based on clearly-defined ecological indicators.

Advice from Interviewees

Involve Resource Management Staff in the Planning Process

One interviewee recommended that both cultural and natural resource management be integral, active components of all site planning, and that cultural and natural resource management staff be included "at the table" from the very beginning. It was suggested that resource management staff might be excluded from the site planning process because they are seen as obstacles, pushing to protect everything without compromise. It was also suggested that both cultural and natural resource managers take a more holistic view, realizing that they cannot protect "every blade of grass" and that, at times, there will need to be compromise.

While it may be more enjoyable for resource managers to spend time in the field conducting inventories and collecting data, they should also recognize the importance of using that data to promote protection, which requires time away from the field in planning and negotiation.

Be Realistic about Resource Limitations

When resource managers evaluate management options, they need to be realistic about limitations in staffing and funding. For example, the decision to replant a historic orchard will require initial funding, then continued funding and staffing for maintenance for years to come. It may also mean the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides—even if an integrated pest management (IPM) program is adopted—and the continued monitoring of water quality. This should be viewed as a long-term decision that has a basis in the site's management planning documents and is not the whim of the current site director.

Take Your Time

As a resource manager, it often is not important how quickly goals are achieved but that they are achieved eventually. If we assume that parks and other protected areas exist in perpetuity, managers must accept that it may take a long time to reach a desired end, and that they may not witness that end personally. As long as managers do all that they can to maintain the resources in their care, they should gather all the information possible to make good decisions and not be rushed.

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