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    Laws, Executive Orders & Regulations

Historic Preservation Laws, Executive Orders, and Regulations


The National Park Service carries out a wide variety of historic preservation work and programs. This work occurs not only in the National Park System, but also in partnership with local communities and preservation groups, state and tribal governments, other federal agencies, and international organizations. Federal law (United States Code [USC] and Public Laws [PL]), federal regulations (Code of Federal Regulations [CFR]), Presidential Executive Orders, and Orders issued by the Director of the National Park Service govern the Park Service's programs. This page provides information about these laws, regulations, and orders.  Please see our standards and guidelines page for additional information about the National Park Service's historic preservation work.

Title 54–National Park Service and Related Programs

The federal laws that govern the National Park Service have been reorganized recently.  In December 2014, Congress created a new title within the United States Code, Title 54, for National Park Service-related laws.  Many of the historic preservation laws listed on this page have been moved to Title 54.  We are in the process of updating this page with the new citations and links.

To access Title 54, please see:

  • Title 54 outline, with links to the text of each section. To view the full text of Title 54, click [View] to the right of "Title 54–National Park Service and Related Programs."
  • Look up a specific section via the United States Code website (e.g., Title 54, Section 300101).

For guidance about Title 54, please see:



Jump to a section: Archeology | Historic Preservation | Maritime | Museums & Archives | National Park Service | Native Americans & NAGPRA | Tax Incentives | Transportation

We are in the process of updating the citations and text of the statutes listed below.



Archeology Protection Laws

Historic Preservation

American Battlefield Protection Act of 1996 (16 USC 469k)

Executive Order No. 11593 Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment (1971)

Executive Order No. 13006 Locating Federal Facilities On Historic Properties In Our Nation's Central Cities (1996)

Executive Order No. 13287 Preserve America (2003)

Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended (40 USC 484(k)(3) and (4))

Historic Sites Act of 1935 as amended (16 USC 461-467)

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 as amended (42 USC 4321, and 4331 - 4335)

National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (16 USC 470 et seq.)

National Historic Landmarks Program (36 CFR 65)

National Marine Sanctuaries Act, as amended (16 USC 1431-1445)

National Register of Historic Places (36 CFR 60) and Determinations of Eligibility for Inclusion in the National Register (36 CFR 63)

National Trust for Historic Preservation, as amended, [Creation and Purpose] (16 USC 468)

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 USC 1332 )

Public Buildings Cooperative Use Act of 1976 (40 USC 601(a))

Procedures for State, Tribal, and Local Government Historic Preservation Programs (36 CFR 61)

Protection of Historic Properties (36 CFR 800)

Theft of Government Property (18 USC 641)

1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (19 USC 2601)


Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1987 (43 USC 2101-2106)

Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 as amended (16 USC 1451-1456)

National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 (NHLPA), 16 U.S.C. § 470w-7

Sunken Military Craft Act (10 USC 113)

Museums & Archives

Disposition of Federal Records (36 CFR 1228)

Disposal of Records (44 USC 3301 et seq.)

Federal Records; General (36 CFR 1220)

Federal Records Act of 1950, as amended (Records Management by Federal Agencies, 44 USC 3101 et seq.)

Museum Properties Management Act of 1955(16 USC 18)

Preservation, Arrangement, Duplication, Exhibition of Records (44 USC 2109)

Research Specimens (36 CFR 2.5)

National Park Service

Mining in the National Parks Act of 1976, (Section 9)(16 USC 1908)

National Park Service Organic Act, Section 1, as amended, [Mission] (16 USC 1)

National Park Service Organic Act (16 USC 1-4, 22, 43)

National Park Service Organic Act, Section 8, as amended, [Reports on Threatened Landmarks and New Area Studies] (16 USC 1a-5)

Native Americans & NAGPRA

American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 as amended (42 USC 1996 and 1996a)

Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940 (16 USC 668-668d)

Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 USC 1531-1543)

Executive Order No. 13007 Indian Sacred Sites (1996)

Lacey Act of 1900 (18 USC 43-44)

Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (16 USC 1361-1407)

Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (16 USC 703-711)

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990, as amended (25 USC 3001 et seq.)

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act:Final Rule (43 CFR 10)

Tax Incentives

Historic Preservation Certifications Pursuant to Section 48(g) and Section 170(h) of The Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (36 CFR 67)

Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended [Qualified Conservation Contributions] (26 U.S.C. 170(h))

Internal Revenue Code of 1990 as amended (Rehabilitation Credit) (26 USC 47)


Department of Transportation Act, as amended [Declaration of Purpose and Section 4(f)] (49 USC 303)

Department of Transportation Act, Section 4(i) as amended (49 USC 5561-5567)

Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 as amended (23 U.S.C. 101(a)(35), 23 U.S.C. 101 note, and 23 U.S.C. 109(b)(c), and (p))