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General Management Plans
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General management planning results in a shared understanding among NPS managers and the public about the kinds of resource conditions and visitor experiences that will best fulfill the purpose of the park. General management plans zone the park for some variety of resource conditions and experiences (consistent with the discretion allowed under the NPS Management Policies) based on the intrinsic qualities of particular locations and considering the range of stakeholder interests and concerns. The plan looks at the park as a whole and as a part of larger ecological, cultural, and socioeconomic systems. This comprehensive approach helps ensure that the decisions made through general management planning are widely supported and sustainable over time.
General management plans (GMPs) direct park managers to focus on achieving the conditions and experiences prescribed by the plan, but they stop short of directing specific activities, recognizing that managers may have to continuously adapt their approaches to current situations based on changing information or conditions, including changing staffing, budgeting, and scheduling opportunities and constraints.
Visitor experience planning is an integral component of general management plans. Interpretive planners may get involved in any or all phases of a GMP. Critical involvement may occur with Foundation Statements, developing Alternatives, describing the Affected Environment, and defining Environmental Consequences.
For more information on National Park Service planning, visit the National Park Service Planning Website