National Park Service

Foundation Documents Program On Target For 2016 Completion

Image of the foundation document for Natural Bridges National Monument that was completed in August 2013.

NPS Photo

The foundation document for Natural Bridges National Monument was completed in August 2013.

February 2014

Since 2012, the National Park Service, including the Washington Park Planning and Special Studies Offices, DSC’s Planning Division, regional planning offices, and the parks, has been developing foundation documents for each park in the national park system.

To date, regional directors and park superintendents have signed 60 completed documents, with another 75 in process and 95 new starts this year. The program is on target to have foundation documents completed for all 401 parks by August 25, 2016.

In 2010, the NPS National Leadership Council executive committee approved a new framework for park planning, employing a more comprehensive approach. At the center of this new dynamic planning portfolio is the foundation document. Foundation documents are intended to provide underlying guidance for management and planning decisions in parks. Although they are not decision documents, they provide guidance for decision making. The documents describe park purpose, park significance, and fundamental resources and values, among other things.

The process of preparing a foundation document aids park managers, staff, and the public in identifying and clearly stating in one document the essential information that is necessary for park management to consider when determining future planning efforts, outlining key planning issues, and protecting resources and values that are integral to park purpose and identity.