ah_medium_white.gifReference Manual 41 (RM-41)

Wilderness Stewardship

may 2013



This Wilderness Stewardship Reference Manual #41 offers comprehensive guidance to National Park Service employees responsible for managing, conserving, and protecting wilderness character and resources found in National Park System units. This Reference Manual serves as the primary level 3 guidance for wilderness stewardship in units of the National Park System, replacing the 1999 version of the reference manual.


Some sections are still being revised while others have undergone a field review with comments from the field incorporated as applicable. The latter are considered in final form and are linked to from this page. In addition, as other level 3 guidance throughout the Service is finalized references to other National Park Service guidance may change.


Additional sections of this guidance will be added to this website as they are finalized. Please check back periodically for additional postings.


1.      Background and Purpose

·         Management Policy 2006, Chapter 6

·         Wilderness Stewardship Program 2011 Business Plan

·         National Park Service Wilderness Reports

o   2000-2001 Report

o   2002-2003 Report

o   2004-2005 Report

o   2006-2007 Report

o   2008-2009 Report

o   2010-2011 Report

o   2012 Report

·         National Park Service Wilderness Definitions

2.      Authority

·         The Wilderness Act of 1964

·         Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980

·         Legislative Guidance Applicable to NPS Wilderness Preservation and Management

3.      Roles and Responsibilities

·         Wilderness Park Superintendent Checklist

·         Wilderness Technical Core Competencies (ACNWTC)

4.      Training and Information

·         Available Wilderness Training (ACNWTC)

·         National Park Service Wilderness Website

·         National Park Service – America’s Wilderness Video Library

·         Views of the National Park Service – Wilderness

·         Views of the National Park Service – Wilderness (Spanish Version)

·         Wilderness.net Website

·         Wilderness.net Toolboxes

·         Membership and Log-in Procedures for Connect.wilderness.net

·         Park Science: Wilderness Stewardship and Science – Winter 2011-2012

5.      Identification and Designation of Wilderness Resource

·         Wilderness Land Status Definitions

·         Wilderness Eligibility Determinations and Wilderness Studies

·         Procedures for Completing Legal Descriptions and Boundary Maps

·         Legislated Boundary Map GIS Data Standards

·         Procedure for Converting Potential Wilderness to Designated Wilderness


6.      Wilderness Stewardship

·         Keeping It Wild: An Interagency Strategy to Monitor Trends in Wilderness Character Across the National Wilderness Preservation System

·         Wilderness Character User Guide: Planning, Management and Monitoring (2014)

·         Wilderness Stewardship Plan Handbook (2014)

·         Wilderness Leadership Council White Papers

o   #1 Cultural Resources and Wilderness

o   #2 What Constitutes Appropriate Conservation and Restoration Activities in Wilderness?

o   #3 Minimum Requirements Decision Process

o   #4 Embracing the Distinction Between Wilderness and Backcountry in the National Park System

·         Minimum Requirements Analysis Toolbox – Wilderness.net

·         Minimum Requirements Decision Guide Worksheets (Download)

o   2012 Carhart Worksheet

o   2013 Generic Worksheet

·         Minimum Requirements Decision Guide – Alaska Supplement

·         Minimum Requirements Analysis for Wildland Fire

·         Minimum Requirements Analysis Case Study Examples

·         Scientific Activities and Research in NPS Wilderness: Guidelines for Wilderness Managers

·         Framework to Evaluate Proposals for Scientific Activities in Wilderness

·         Wilderness Education and Partnership Plan

·         Primary Interpretive Themes for NPS Wilderness

·         Celebrate Wilderness: Wilderness Education and Interpretation Resource Handbook

·         Wilderness Access Decision Tool (1996 USFS)

·         Board of Geographic Names: Principles, Policies, and Procedures


7.      Wilderness Use Management

·         Managing Climbing Activities in Wilderness

·         GPS-based Recreational Activities Policy Review

·         Leave No Trace

o   Principles

o   Video

·         Authority of the Resource

·         Extent Necessary Determination Process for Commercial Services

o   Appendix A:  Definitions

o   Appendix B:  Examples

o   Appendix C:  Flow Chart

o   Appendix D:  Wilderness Purposes and Examples

o   Appendix E:  Decision Document Template

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