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Official Park Brochures and Handbooks
The official park brochures and handbooks developed by Harpers Ferry Center are known for their reliability, thoroughness, visual appeal, and standard design elements that contribute to the National Park Service graphic identity. The most traditional and low-tech of the various media, publications remain a core element in a park’s interpretive program. As park visitation increases and personal services decrease, the onsite portability of publications gives them a significant role in providing visitors with interpretive, logistical, and safety information. Publications are also the one interpretive medium visitors can take with them as a souvenir and handy home reference.
Besides highlighting the park’s interpretive themes and subthemes, publications provide accurate maps and tour information and highlight warnings and precautions not only to protect visitors and resources, but to avoid tort claims against the parks. They help park management provide the public with information about environmental and preservation issues and broaden awareness of the need for protection of cultural heritage and conservation areas. Parks can update their brochures when they are due for reprinting—annually in most cases—allowing them to reflect the latest National Park Service policy and the latest cartographic, historical, and scientific research.
Editors, designers, and cartographers work with park staffs to complement the park's own interpretive efforts. They coordinate HFC publications with your other interpretive media for consistency, making sure, for example, that a map on a wayside exhibit agrees with a brochure map.
Other Types of Publications
Harpers Ferry Center also publishes "The National Parks: Index," a reference guide to all the national parks, updated biennially to reflect congressional actions; "The National Parks: Lesser-Known Areas," a guide to areas managed by the National Park Service but not generally known to the public; and "The National Parks: Shaping the System," a history of the National Park System from the earliest federally-protected sites predating the official system to the present.
Harpers Ferry Center also makes its expertise available to parks thinking about producing their own publications. As time allows, HFC staff can serve as consultants on design, cartographic, editorial, and printing concerns. We can review site bulletins, make two-color versions of maps available for use in park publications, and in general assist park staffs with a variety of publishing needs.
How to Order Official NPS Publications
Publication Reprint Program
Besides producing new brochures and handbooks, HFC has an extensive reprint program to ensure that parks have a continuing supply of these publications. Reprint work involves correcting and reprinting a park brochure or handbook before the current supply is exhausted. Brochures are generally reprinted every year—or every two to three years depending on park visitation—and handbooks every three to four years. HFC keeps more than 330 park brochures and more than 60 handbooks in print. Publications Printing Specialist Trevor Bentz is the main contact person for questions relating to brochure or handbook reprints (phone: 304-535-6414, Email Contact Form). Reprinting Publications
Harpers Ferry Center has an initial contact point to assist parks with their media needs. Parks should call or email us to request creation of a new publication, to get answers to technical publications questions, to obtain publications cost estimates, or for HFC assistance in developing and producing publications. Copies of park brochures are available by contacting the specific park's website via NPS.gov. Contact Us