National Park Service
Management Policies 2006
The Guide to Managing the National Park System
This volume is the basic policy document of the National Park Service (NPS) for managing the national park system. Adherence by NPS employees to policy is mandatory unless specifically waived or modified by the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, or the Director.
In carrying out their responsibilities under
National Park Service
Organic Act and other pertinent statutes, all NPS officials and employees
must be knowledgeable about the laws, regulations, and policies that pertain to
their work. The property clause of the U.S. Constitution, which is the supreme
law of the
The management of the national park system and NPS programs is guided by the Constitution, public laws, treaties, proclamations, executive orders, regulations, and directives of the Secretary of the Interior and the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. NPS policy must be consistent with these higher authorities and with appropriate delegations of authority. Many of the public laws and other guidance affecting the various facets of NPS administration and management are cited for reference purposes throughout these Management Policies. Other laws, regulations, and policies related to the administration of federal programs, although not cited, may also apply. For example, many, but not all, of the legislative requirements of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) are cited at different places throughout these Management Policies. The additional legislative requirements of ANILCA, although not cited, must also be considered in the interpretation and application of these policies, as must all other applicable legislative requirements. It is especially important that superintendents and other park staff review their park’s enabling legislation to determine whether it contains explicit guidance that would prevail over Service-wide policy.
Policy sets the framework and provides direction for all management decisions. This direction may be general or specific; it may prescribe the process through which decisions are made, how an action is to be accomplished, or the results to be achieved. Policy initiatives may originate as a sudden, urgent response to an unanticipated problem or issue, or through a slow, evolutionary process as the Park Service gains increased experience or insight regarding a problem or issue. Sometimes the initiative does not originate within the Park Service, but rather with persons or organizations outside the Park Service who have a strong interest in how the Service manages the parks. However, NPS policy is usually developed through a concerted workgroup and consensus-building team effort involving extensive field review, consultation with NPS senior managers, and review and comment by affected parties and the general public.
All policy must be articulated in writing and
must be approved by an NPS official who has been delegated authority to issue
the policy. Policy must be published or otherwise made available to the
public—particularly those whom it affects—and those who must implement it in
Service-wide policy is articulated by the Director of the National Park Service. NPS employees must follow these policies unless specifically waived or modified in writing by the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary, or the Director. Waivers and modifications will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and previous waivers or modifications will not necessarily be regarded as precedents for future waivers or modifications. A request for a waiver or modification of policy must include a written justification and be submitted to the Director through the Office of Policy, which will coordinate with appropriate program offices.
The policies contained within this document are intended only to improve the internal management of the National Park Service; they are not intended to, and do not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities or entities, its officers or employees, or any other person. Park superintendents will be held accountable for their and their staff’s, adherence to Service-wide policy.
This volume of NPS Management Policies is the basic Service-wide policy document of the National Park Service, superseding the 2001 edition. It is the highest of three levels of guidance documents in the NPS Directives System. The Directives System is designed to provide NPS management and staff with clear and continuously updated information on NPS policy and required and/or recommended actions, as well as any other information that will help them manage parks and programs effectively.
The Management Policies will be revised at appropriate intervals to consolidate Service-wide policy decisions, or to respond to new laws and technologies, new understandings of park resources and the factors that affect them, or changes in American society. Interim updates or amendments may be accomplished through director’s orders (the second level of the Directives System), which also serve as a vehicle to clarify or supplement the Management Policies to meet the needs of NPS managers. Any previously dated statement of policy not consistent with these Management Policies, or with a director’s order that updates, amends, or clarifies policy, is to be disregarded.
Under the Directives System, the most detailed and comprehensive guidance on implementing Service-wide policy is found in “level 3” documents, which are usually in the form of handbooks or reference manuals issued by associate directors. These documents provide NPS field employees with compilations of legal references, operating policies, standards, procedures, general information, recommendations, and examples to assist them in carrying out Management Policies and director’s orders. Level 3 documents may not impose any new Service-wide requirements unless the Director has specifically authorized them to do so, but they may reiterate or compile requirements (for example, laws, regulations, and policies) that have been imposed by higher authorities.
This document is intended to be read in its entirety. While certain chapters or sections provide important guidance by themselves, that guidance must be supplemented by the overriding principles listed below, which provide insight into the reading of this document. In addition there is an interrelationship among the chapters that provides for clarity and continuity for the management of the national park system. Also, the glossary contains important terms that apply throughout the document and should be incorporated into the reading of the document.
Whenever Management Policies are revised in the future they should
· comply with current laws, regulations, and executive orders;
· prevent impairment of park resources and values;
· ensure that conservation will be predominant when there is a conflict between the protection of resources and their use;
· maintain NPS responsibility for making decisions and for exercising key authorities;
· emphasize consultation and cooperation with local/state/tribal/federal entities;
· support pursuit of the best contemporary business practices and sustainability;
· encourage consistency across the system —“one national park system”;
· reflect NPS goals and a commitment to cooperative conservation and civic engagement;
· employ a tone that leaves no room for misunderstanding the Park Service’s commitment to the public’s appropriate use and enjoyment, including education and interpretation, of park resources, while preventing unacceptable impacts;
· pass on to future generations natural, cultural and physical resources that meet desired conditions better than they do today, along with improved opportunities for enjoyment.
Instructions, guidance, and directives of regional or otherwise-limited application supplementary to and in conformance with Service-wide policies may be issued by regional directors or associate directors within formal delegations of authority. Superintendents may issue, within formal delegations of authority, park-specific instructions, procedures, directives, and other supplementary guidance (such as hours of operation or dates for seasonal openings), provided that the guidance does not conflict with Service-wide policy.
This volume addresses only those policies applicable to management of the national park system. It does not address policies applicable to NPS-administered programs that serve the conservation and recreation needs of the nation, but are not directly related to the national park system. Examples include the National Register of Historic Places; the National Historic Landmarks Program; the National Natural Landmarks Program; the Land and Water Conservation Fund Grants Program; the Historic American Buildings Survey; the Historic American Engineering Record; the Historic American Landscapes Survey; the American Battlefield Protection Program; the National Maritime Heritage Grants Program; the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program; the Tribal Heritage Preservation Grants Program; the Preserve America Grants Program; and the National Heritage Areas Program.
The world’s first national park—Yellowstone—was created in 1872, at which time Congress set aside more than one million acres as “a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” The legislation assigned control of the new park to the Secretary of the Interior, who would be responsible for issuing regulations to provide for the “preservation, from injury or spoliation, of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, or wonders, within the park, and their retention in their natural condition.” Other park management functions were to include the development of visitor accommodations, the construction of roads and bridle trails, the removal of trespassers, and protection “against the wanton destruction of the fish and game found within the park” (16 United States Code 21-22).
This idea of a national park was an American
invention of historic consequences, marking the beginning of a worldwide
movement that has subsequently spread to more than 100 countries. However, when
As interest grew in preserving the great
scenic wonders of the West, efforts were also underway to protect the sites and
structures associated with early Native American culture, particularly in the
Antiquities Act of 1906 authorized the President “to declare by public
proclamation [as national monuments] historic landmarks, historic and
prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest
that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled” by the
In 1916 Congress created the National Park Service in the Department of the Interior to promote and regulate the use of the federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations (16 USC 1). (As noted in the Introduction, the terms “National Park Service,” “Park Service,” “Service,” and “NPS” are used interchangeably in this document.)
The number and diversity of parks within the national park system grew as a result of a government reorganization in 1933, another following World War II, and yet another during the 1960s. Today there are nearly 400 units in the national park system. These units are variously designated as national parks, monuments, preserves, lakeshores, seashores, wild and scenic rivers, trails, historic sites, military parks, battlefields, historical parks, recreation areas, memorials, and parkways. Regardless of the many names and official designations of the park units that make up the national park system, all represent some nationally significant aspect of our natural or cultural heritage. They are the physical remnants of our past—great scenic and natural places that continue to evolve, repositories of outstanding recreational opportunities, classrooms of our heritage, and the legacy we leave to future generations—and they warrant the highest standard of protection.
It should be noted that, in accordance with provisions of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, any component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System that is administered by the Park Service is automatically a part of the national park system. Although there is no analogous provision in the National Trails System Act, several national trails managed by the Service have been included in the national park system. These national rivers and trails that are part of the national park system are subject to the policies contained herein, as well as to any other requirements specified in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act or the National Trails System Act.
Congress declared in the National Park System General Authorities Act of 1970 that areas comprising the national park system are cumulative expressions of a single national heritage. Potential additions to the national park system should therefore contribute in their own special way to a system that fully represents the broad spectrum of natural and cultural resources that characterize our nation. The National Park Service is responsible for conducting professional studies of potential additions to the national park system when specifically authorized by an act of Congress, and for making recommendations to the Secretary of the Interior, the President, and Congress. Several laws outline criteria for units of the national park system and for additions to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System and the National Trails System.
To receive a favorable recommendation from the Service, a proposed addition to the national park system must (1) possess nationally significant natural or cultural resources, (2) be a suitable addition to the system, (3) be a feasible addition to the system, and (4) require direct NPS management instead of protection by other public agencies or the private sector. These criteria are designed to ensure that the national park system includes only the most outstanding examples of the nation’s natural and cultural resources. These criteria also recognize that there are other management alternatives for preserving the nation’s outstanding resources.
NPS professionals, in consultation with subject-matter experts, scholars, and scientists, will determine whether a resource is nationally significant. An area will be considered nationally significant if it meets all of the following criteria:
· It is an outstanding example of a particular type of resource.
· It possesses exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the natural or cultural themes of our nation’s heritage.
· It offers superlative opportunities for public enjoyment or for scientific study.
· It retains a high degree of integrity as a true, accurate, and relatively unspoiled example of a resource.
National significance for cultural resources will be evaluated by applying the National Historic Landmarks criteria contained in 36 CFR Part 65 (Code of Federal Regulations).
An area is considered suitable for addition to the national park system if it represents a natural or cultural resource type that is not already adequately represented in the national park system, or is not comparably represented and protected for public enjoyment by other federal agencies; tribal, state, or local governments; or the private sector.
Adequacy of representation is determined on a case-by-case basis by comparing the potential addition to other comparably managed areas representing the same resource type, while considering differences or similarities in the character, quality, quantity, or combination of resource values. The comparative analysis also addresses rarity of the resources, interpretive and educational potential, and similar resources already protected in the national park system or in other public or private ownership. The comparison results in a determination of whether the proposed new area would expand, enhance, or duplicate resource protection or visitor use opportunities found in other comparably managed areas.
To be feasible as a new unit of the national park system, an area must be (1) of sufficient size and appropriate configuration to ensure sustainable resource protection and visitor enjoyment (taking into account current and potential impacts from sources beyond proposed park boundaries), and (2) capable of efficient administration by the Service at a reasonable cost.
In evaluating feasibility, the Service considers a variety of factors for a study area, such as the following:
· boundary configurations
· current and potential uses of the study area and surrounding lands
· landownership patterns
· public enjoyment potential
· costs associated with acquisition, development, restoration, and operation
· current and potential threats to the resources
· existing degradation of resources
· staffing requirements
· local planning and zoning
· the level of local and general public support (including landowners)
· the economic/socioeconomic impacts of designation as a unit of the national park system
The feasibility evaluation also considers the ability of the National Park Service to undertake new management responsibilities in light of current and projected availability of funding and personnel.
An overall evaluation of feasibility will be made after taking into account all of the above factors. However, evaluations may sometimes identify concerns or conditions, rather than simply reach a yes or no conclusion. For example, some new areas may be feasible additions to the national park system only if landowners are willing to sell, or the boundary encompasses specific areas necessary for visitor access, or state or local governments will provide appropriate assurances that adjacent land uses will remain compatible with the study area’s resources and values.
There are many excellent examples of the successful management of important natural and cultural resources by other public agencies, private conservation organizations, and individuals. The National Park Service applauds these accomplishments and actively encourages the expansion of conservation activities by state, local, and private entities and by other federal agencies. Unless direct NPS management of a studied area is identified as the clearly superior alternative, the Service will recommend that one or more of these other entities assume a lead management role, and that the area not receive national park system status.
Studies will evaluate an appropriate range of management alternatives and will identify which alternative or combination of alternatives would, in the professional judgment of the Director, be most effective and efficient in protecting significant resources and providing opportunities for appropriate public enjoyment. Alternatives for NPS management will not be developed for study areas that fail to meet any one of the four criteria for inclusion listed in section 1.3.
In cases where a study area’s resources meet criteria for national significance but do not meet other criteria for inclusion in the national park system, the Service may instead recommend an alternative status, such as “affiliated area.” To be eligible for affiliated area status, the area’s resources must (1) meet the same standards for significance and suitability that apply to units of the national park system; (2) require some special recognition or technical assistance beyond what is available through existing NPS programs; (3) be managed in accordance with the policies and standards that apply to units of the national park system; and (4) be assured of sustained resource protection, as documented in a formal agreement between the Service and the nonfederal management entity. Designation as a “heritage area” is another option that may be recommended. Heritage areas have a nationally important, distinctive assemblage of resources that is best managed for conservation, recreation, education, and continued use through partnerships among public and private entities at the local or regional level. Either of these two alternatives (and others as well) would recognize an area’s importance to the nation without requiring or implying management by the National Park Service.
The most important statutory directive for the National Park Service is provided by interrelated provisions of the NPS Organic Act of 1916 and the NPS General Authorities Act of 1970, including amendments to the latter law enacted in 1978.
The key management-related provision of the Organic Act is as follows:
[The National Park Service] shall promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations hereinafter specified … by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said parks, monuments, and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. (16 USC 1)
Congress supplemented and clarified these provisions through enactment of the General Authorities Act in 1970, and again through enactment of a 1978 amendment to that act (the “Redwood amendment,” contained in a bill expanding Redwood National Park), which added the last two sentences in the following provision. The key part of that act, as amended, is as follows:
Congress declares that the national park system, which began with establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, has since grown to include superlative natural, historic, and recreation areas in every major region of the United States, its territories and island possessions; that these areas, though distinct in character, are united through their inter-related purposes and resources into one national park system as cumulative expressions of a single national heritage; that, individually and collectively, these areas derive increased national dignity and recognition of their superlative environmental quality through their inclusion jointly with each other in one national park system preserved and managed for the benefit and inspiration of all the people of the United States; and that it is the purpose of this Act to include all such areas in the System and to clarify the authorities applicable to the system. Congress further reaffirms, declares, and directs that the promotion and regulation of the various areas of the National Park System, as defined in section 1c of this title, shall be consistent with and founded in the purpose established by section 1 of this title [the Organic Act provision quoted above], to the common benefit of all the people of the United States. The authorization of activities shall be construed and the protection, management, and administration of these areas shall be conducted in light of the high public value and integrity of the National Park System and shall not be exercised in derogation of the values and purposes for which these various areas have been established, except as may have been or shall be directly and specifically provided by Congress. (16 USC 1a-1)
This section 1.4 of Management Policies represents the agency’s interpretation of these key statutory provisions.
Congress intended the language of the Redwood amendment to the General Authorities Act to reiterate the provisions of the Organic Act, not create a substantively different management standard. The House committee report described the Redwood amendment as a “declaration by Congress” that the promotion and regulation of the national park system is to be consistent with the Organic Act. The Senate committee report stated that under the Redwood amendment, “The Secretary has an absolute duty, which is not to be compromised, to fulfill the mandate of the 1916 Act to take whatever actions and seek whatever relief as will safeguard the units of the national park system.” So, although the Organic Act and the General Authorities Act, as amended by the Redwood amendment, use different wording (“unimpaired” and “derogation”) to describe what the National Park Service must avoid, they define a single standard for the management of the national park system—not two different standards. For simplicity, Management Policies uses “impairment” (or a variation thereof), not both statutory phrases, to refer to that single standard.
The fundamental purpose of the national park system, established by the Organic Act and reaffirmed by the General Authorities Act, as amended, begins with a mandate to conserve park resources and values. This mandate is independent of the separate prohibition on impairment and applies all the time with respect to all park resources and values, even when there is no risk that any park resources or values may be impaired. NPS managers must always seek ways to avoid, or to minimize to the greatest extent practicable, adverse impacts on park resources and values. However, the laws do give the Service the management discretion to allow impacts to park resources and values when necessary and appropriate to fulfill the purposes of a park, so long as the impact does not constitute impairment of the affected resources and values.
The fundamental purpose of all parks also
includes providing for the enjoyment of park resources and values by the people
Park purposes are found in the general laws pertaining to the national park system, as well as the enabling legislation or proclamation establishing each unit. In addition to park purposes, in many cases the enabling legislation or proclamation for a park unit may also identify uses that are either mandated or authorized. In the administration of mandated uses, park managers must allow the use; however, they do have the authority to and must manage and regulate the use to ensure, to the extent possible, that impacts on park resources from that use are acceptable. In the administration of authorized uses, park managers have the discretionary authority to allow and manage the use, provided that the use will not cause impairment or unacceptable impacts. In determining whether or how to allow the use, park managers must consider the congressional or presidential interest, as expressed in the enabling legislation or proclamation, that the use or uses continue. Where there is strong public interest in a particular use, opportunities for civic engagement and cooperative conservation should be factored into the decision-making process.
While Congress has given the Service the management discretion to allow impacts within parks, that discretion is limited by the statutory requirement (generally enforceable by the federal courts) that the Park Service must leave park resources and values unimpaired unless a particular law directly and specifically provides otherwise. This, the cornerstone of the Organic Act, establishes the primary responsibility of the National Park Service. It ensures that park resources and values will continue to exist in a condition that will allow the American people to have present and future opportunities for enjoyment of them.
The impairment of park resources and values may not be allowed by the Service unless directly and specifically provided for by legislation or by the proclamation establishing the park. The relevant legislation or proclamation must provide explicitly (not by implication or inference) for the activity, in terms that keep the Service from having the authority to manage the activity so as to avoid the impairment.
The impairment that is prohibited by the Organic Act and the General Authorities Act is an impact that, in the professional judgment of the responsible NPS manager, would harm the integrity of park resources or values, including the opportunities that otherwise would be present for the enjoyment of those resources or values. Whether an impact meets this definition depends on the particular resources and values that would be affected; the severity, duration, and timing of the impact; the direct and indirect effects of the impact; and the cumulative effects of the impact in question and other impacts.
An impact to any park resource or value may, but does not necessarily, constitute an impairment. An impact would be more likely to constitute impairment to the extent that it affects a resource or value whose conservation is
· necessary to fulfill specific purposes identified in the establishing legislation or proclamation of the park, or
· key to the natural or cultural integrity of the park or to opportunities for enjoyment of the park, or
· identified in the park’s general management plan or other relevant NPS planning documents as being of significance.
An impact would be less likely to constitute an impairment if it is an unavoidable result of an action necessary to preserve or restore the integrity of park resources or values and it cannot be further mitigated.
An impact that may, but would not necessarily, lead to impairment may result from visitor activities; NPS administrative activities; or activities undertaken by concessioners, contractors, and others operating in the park. Impairment may also result from sources or activities outside the park. This will be addressed consistent with sections 1.6 and 1.7 on Cooperative Conservation and Civic Engagement.
The “park resources and values” that are subject to the no-impairment standard include
· the park’s scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife, and the processes and conditions that sustain them, including, to the extent present in the park: the ecological, biological, and physical processes that created the park and continue to act upon it; scenic features; natural visibility, both in daytime and at night; natural landscapes; natural soundscapes and smells; water and air resources; soils; geological resources; paleontological resources; archeological resources; cultural landscapes; ethnographic resources; historic and prehistoric sites, structures, and objects; museum collections; and native plants and animals;
· appropriate opportunities to experience enjoyment of the above resources, to the extent that can be done without impairing them;
· the park’s role in contributing to the national dignity, the high public value and integrity, and the superlative environmental quality of the national park system, and the benefit and inspiration provided to the American people by the national park system; and
· any additional attributes encompassed by the specific values and purposes for which the park was established.
Before approving a proposed action that could lead to an impairment of park resources and values, an NPS decision-maker must consider the impacts of the proposed action and determine, in writing, that the activity will not lead to an impairment of park resources and values. If there would be an impairment, the action must not be approved.
In making a determination of whether there would be an impairment, an NPS decision-maker must use his or her professional judgment. This means that the decision-maker must consider any environmental assessments or environmental impact statements required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA); consultations required under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), relevant scientific and scholarly studies; advice or insights offered by subject matter experts and others who have relevant knowledge or experience; and the results of civic engagement and public involvement activities relating to the decision. The same application of professional judgment applies when reaching conclusions about “unacceptable impacts.”
When an NPS decision-maker becomes aware that an ongoing activity might have led or might be leading to an impairment of park resources or values, he or she must investigate and determine if there is or will be an impairment. This investigation and determination may be made independent of, or as part of, a park planning process undertaken for other purposes. If it is determined that there is, or will be, an impairment, the decision-maker must take appropriate action, to the extent possible within the Service’s authorities and available resources, to eliminate the impairment. The action must eliminate the impairment as soon as reasonably possible, taking into consideration the nature, duration, magnitude, and other characteristics of the impacts on park resources and values, as well as the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, National Historic Preservation Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and other applicable laws.
(See Levels of Park Planning 2.3; Evaluating Impacts on Natural Resources 4.1.3; Planning 5.2; General 8.1; Visitor Use 8.2; General 9.1; Glossary definition of Professional Judgment. Also see Director’s Order #12: Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision-making)
The impact threshold at which impairment occurs is not always readily apparent. Therefore, the Service will apply a standard that offers greater assurance that impairment will not occur. The Service will do this by avoiding impacts that it determines to be unacceptable. These are impacts that fall short of impairment, but are still not acceptable within a particular park’s environment. Park managers must not allow uses that would cause unacceptable impacts; they must evaluate existing or proposed uses and determine whether the associated impacts on park resources and values are acceptable.
Virtually every form of human activity that takes place within a park has some degree of effect on park resources or values, but that does not mean the impact is unacceptable or that a particular use must be disallowed. Therefore, for the purposes of these policies, unacceptable impacts are impacts that, individually or cumulatively, would
· be inconsistent with a park’s purposes or values, or
· impede the attainment of a park’s desired future conditions for natural and cultural resources as identified through the park’s planning process, or
· create an unsafe or unhealthful environment for visitors or employees, or
· diminish opportunities for current or future generations to enjoy, learn about, or be inspired by park resources or values, or
· unreasonably interfere with
o park programs or activities, or
o an appropriate use, or
o the atmosphere of peace and tranquility, or the natural soundscape maintained in wilderness and natural, historic, or commemorative locations within the park.
o NPS concessioner or contractor operations or services.
The following graphic illustrates the relationship between appropriate use, unacceptable impacts and impairment.
The Service will also strive to ensure that park resources and values are passed on to future generations in a condition that is as good as, or better than, the conditions that exist today. In particular, the Service will strive to restore the integrity of park resources that have been damaged or compromised in the past. Restoration activities will be guided by the natural and cultural resource-specific policies identified in chapters 4 and 5 of these Management Policies.
(See Planning for Natural Resource Management 4.1.1; Restoration of Natural Systems 4.1.5; Compensation for Injuries to Natural Resources 4.1.6; Restoration of Native Plant and Animal Species 184.108.40.206; Restoration (of Cultural Landscapes) 220.127.116.11.3; Restoration (of Historic and Prehistoric Structures) 18.104.22.168.3; Restoration (of Museum Collections) 22.214.171.124.2. Also see Director’s Order #12 and Handbook.)
The National Park Service embraces appropriate use of the parks because these uses are key to the enjoyment of the parks and the appreciation and inspiration derived from the resources. Park resources have profound effects on those who experience them through appropriate park uses. An “appropriate use” is a use that is suitable, proper, or fitting for a particular park, or to a particular location within a park. Not all uses are appropriate or allowable in units of the national park system, and what is appropriate may vary from one park to another and from one location to another within a park.
In its role as steward of park resources, the National Park Service must ensure that park uses that are allowed would not cause impairment of, or unacceptable impacts on, park resources and values. When proposed park uses and the protection of park resources and values come into conflict, the protection of resources and values must be predominant. A new form of park use may be allowed within a park only after a determination has been made in the professional judgment of the superintendent that it will not result in unacceptable impacts. The National Park Service will always consider allowing activities that are appropriate to the parks, although conditions may preclude certain activities or require that limitations be placed on them. Park superintendents must continually monitor all park uses to prevent unanticipated and unacceptable impacts. If unanticipated and unacceptable impacts emerge, the superintendent must engage in a thoughtful, deliberate process to further manage or constrain the use, or discontinue it.
Appropriate visitor enjoyment is often associated with the inspirational qualities of the parks. As a general matter, preferred forms of enjoyment are those that are uniquely suited to the superlative natural and cultural resources found in the parks and that (1) foster an understanding of and appreciation for park resources and values, or (2) promote enjoyment through a direct association with, interaction with, or relation to park resources.
These preferred forms of use contribute to the personal growth and well-being of visitors by taking advantage of the inherent educational value of parks. Equally important, many appropriate uses also contribute to the health and personal fitness of park visitors. These are the types of uses that the Service will actively promote, in accordance with the Organic Act. Other forms of park uses may be allowed within a park in accordance with the policies found in chapter 8.
(See Park Purposes and Legislatively Authorized Uses 126.96.36.199; Chapter 2: Park System Planning; Process for Determining Appropriate Uses 8.1.2. Also see Director’s Order #17: National Park Service Tourism; 36 CFR 1.5)
Cooperative conservation beyond park boundaries is necessary as the National Park Service strives to fulfill its mandate to preserve the natural and cultural resources of parks unimpaired for future generations. Ecological processes cross park boundaries, and park boundaries may not incorporate all of the natural resources, cultural sites, and scenic vistas that relate to park resources or the quality of the visitor experience. Therefore, activities proposed for adjacent lands may significantly affect park programs, resources, and values. Conversely, NPS activities may have impacts outside park boundaries. Recognizing that parks are integral parts of larger regional environments, and to support its primary concern of protecting park resources and values, the Service will work cooperatively with others to
· anticipate, avoid, and resolve potential conflicts;
· protect park resources and values;
· provide for visitor enjoyment; and
· address mutual interests in the quality of life of community residents, including matters such as compatible economic development and resource and environmental protection.
Such local and regional cooperation may involve other federal agencies; tribal, state, and local governments; neighboring landowners; nongovernmental and private sector organizations; and all other concerned parties. The Service will do these things because cooperative conservation activities are a vital element in establishing relationships that will benefit the parks and in fostering decisions that are sustainable.
The Service will use all available tools to protect park resources and values from unacceptable impacts. The Service will also seek to advance opportunities for conservation partnerships. Superintendents will monitor land use proposals, changes to adjacent lands, and external activities for their potential impacts on park resources and values. It is appropriate for superintendents to engage constructively with the broader community in the same way that any good neighbor would. Superintendents will encourage compatible adjacent land uses and seek to avoid and mitigate potential adverse impacts on park resources and values by actively participating in the planning and regulatory processes of other federal agencies and tribal, state, and local governments having jurisdiction over property affecting, or affected by, the park. If a decision is made or is imminent that will result in unacceptable impacts on park resources, superintendents must take appropriate action, to the extent possible within the Service’s authorities and available resources, to manage or constrain the use to minimize impacts. When engaged in these activities, superintendents should fully apply the principles of civic engagement to promote better understanding and communication by (1) documenting the park’s concerns and sharing them with all who are interested, and (2) listening to the concerns of those who are affected by the park’s actions.
The Service will also cooperate with federal, state, local, and tribal governments, as well as individuals and organizations, to advance the goal of creating seamless networks of parks. These partnership activities are intended to establish corridors that link together, both physically and with a common sense of purpose, open spaces such as those found in parks, other protected areas, and compatibly managed private lands. The Service’s goals in participating in a park network will be to increase protection and enhancement of biodiversity and to create a greater array of educational and appropriate recreational opportunities. When participating in a park network, the Service will not relinquish any of its authority to manage areas under its jurisdiction, nor will it expect other partners to relinquish theirs.
(See Civic Engagement 1.7; Cooperative Planning 188.8.131.52; Cooperative Conservation 3.4; Chapter 4: Natural Resource Management. Also see Director’s Order #17: National Park Service Tourism; Director’s Order #75A: Civic Engagement and Public Involvement)
The Service will embrace civic engagement as a fundamental discipline and practice. The Service’s commitment to civic engagement is founded on the central principle that preservation of the nation’s heritage resources relies on continued collaborative relationships between the Service and American society. Civic engagement will be viewed as a commitment to building and sustaining relationships with neighbors and other communities of interest—both near and far. This will require that the Service communicate by both talking and listening. Through its practice of civic engagement, the Service will actively encourage a two-way, continuous, and dynamic conversation with the public.
Civic engagement will take place on many levels to strengthen understanding of the full meaning and contemporary relevance of park resources and values. The goal of civic engagement will be to reinforce the Service’s and the public’s commitment to the preservation and stewardship of cultural and natural heritage resources.
The Service will welcome people to enjoy their parks in appropriate, sustainable ways. This practice will promote civic responsibility by building long-term, collaborative relationships with a broad range of communities, which in turn will foster a widespread investment in stewardship of the nation’s resources. Park and program managers will seek opportunities to work in partnership with all interested parties to jointly sponsor, develop, and promote public involvement activities and thereby improve mutual understanding, decisions, and work products. Through these efforts the Service will also learn from the communities it serves, including gateway communities.
A better understanding of the changing demographics of our nation is critical to the future of the National Park Service. The Park Service must actively seek to understand the values and connections our changing population has or does not have for natural and cultural heritage if it is to remain responsive and relevant to public needs and desires. This includes understanding why people do or do not visit—or care—about national parks. It is vital that the Service help those who do not visit to understand and support their national park system.
Given the scope of its responsibility for the resources and values entrusted to its care, the Service has an obligation to demonstrate and work with others to promote leadership in environmental stewardship. The Park Service must set an example not only for visitors, other governmental agencies, the private sector, and the public at large, but also for a worldwide audience. Touching so many lives, the Service’s management of the parks presents a unique opportunity to awaken the potential of each individual to play a proactive role in protecting the environment.
Environmental leadership will be demonstrated in all aspects of NPS activities, including policy development; park planning; all aspects of park operations; land protection; natural and cultural resource management; wilderness management; interpretation and education; facilities design, construction, and management; and commercial visitor services. In demonstrating environmental leadership, the Service will (1) fully comply with the letter and the spirit of the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act, and (2) continually assess the impact its operations have on natural and cultural resources so that it may identify areas for improvement. The Service will institute a Service-wide environmental auditing program that will evaluate a broad array of NPS activities to ensure that they meet the highest standards for environmental protection and compliance. The program will also screen for opportunities to implement sustainable practices and tangibly demonstrate the highest levels of environmental ethic.
Successful and sustained accomplishment of the Service’s mission requires sound professional judgment and attentive employment of the most effective and efficient business principles and practices. Opportunities to protect resources and provide opportunities for public enjoyment will be severely limited unless park managers can demonstrate their responsibility to and accountability for concepts ranging from competent management of information technology and finances to the successful management and development of human resources.
The Service will pursue a human resources program that is comprehensive, that is based on competency, and that encompasses the entire workforce, including employees, volunteers, contractors, concession employees, interns, and partners.
Employee development helps organizations achieve greater success. The goals of the Park Service’s employee development activities are to help employees strengthen their skills, knowledge, and experiences, as well as to promote broader employee engagement in the NPS mission. Employee development planning and strategies will be directly linked to core competencies and ensure the highest return on investment for the organization. Employees will also have opportunities to broaden their experiences and to progress in their careers through continuing education, undergraduate and graduate level courses, seminars, training, teaching, attendance at professional workshops and conferences, and other programs sponsored by scholarly institutions. In accordance with section 102 of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998 (16 USC 5912), the Park Service will implement a comprehensive training program for employees in all professional careers and a goal of ensuring that the workforce has the best, up-to-date knowledge, skills, and abilities with which to manage, interpret, and protect the resources of the national park system.
The Service will develop the capacity to
supply future leadership through a strategic and conscious effort to develop a
diverse workforce with the potential to take on leadership positions. This
process will include a collaborative effort among all possible interests
(including pre-employment/educational institutions) to prepare employees to
meet the needs for leadership talent over time. The Service will cultivate
talent for the short term and the long term to ensure the availability of a
sufficient number of people who reflect the diversity of
In accordance with section 103 of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998 (16 USC 5913), the Service will implement a management training and development plan whereby career, professional NPS employees from any appropriate academic field may obtain sufficient training, experience, and advancement opportunity to enable those qualified to move into park management positions, including the position of park superintendent. Similar efforts will be made for central office positions.
The Service will implement a process to
· evaluate the workforce;
· identify the competencies needed by the workforce in each of the career fields;
· evaluate present and future trends;
· develop strategies to address competency gaps;
· benchmark best practices; and
· develop a plan that will allow the Service to meet mission and strategic goals.
In concert with employee development and succession planning, workforce planning will ensure that all elements of the workforce are provided the orientation and training necessary to support the NPS mission.
The safety and health of employees, contractors, volunteers, and the public are core Service values. In making decisions on matters concerning employee safety and health, NPS managers must exercise good judgment and discretion and, above all, keep in mind that the safeguarding of human life must not be compromised. The Service must ensure that all employees are trained and informed on how to do their jobs safely, and that they have the necessary clothing, materials, and equipment to perform their duties with minimal personal risk.
The Park Service will continue to seek ways to
achieve its workforce diversity goals and to recognize workforce diversity as a
sound business practice. Success in achieving workforce diversity will also
enhance the Service’s ability to more successfully connect with park visitors
Increasingly, American citizens who are not employed by the Service make important contributions by supplementing the efforts of the NPS workforce. The Service welcomes their efforts and will continue to use its authority under the Volunteers in the Parks Act of 1969 to
· protect park resources and values;
· improve its service to the public;
· foster stronger ties with the pubic; and
· provide opportunities for the public to learn about and experience the parks.
Pursuant to this statute, volunteers may be recruited without regard to civil service regulations; are covered for tort liability and work-injury compensation; and may be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses while participating in the program. However, volunteers cannot be used for law enforcement work or in policymaking processes, or to displace NPS employees. Volunteers may perform hazardous duties only if they possess the necessary skills to perform the duties assigned to them. Volunteers will be accepted without regard to race, creed, religion, age, sex, color, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation. NPS housing may be used for volunteers.
The future of individual parks and of the Service as an accountable organization depends heavily on (1) the availability, management, and dissemination of comprehensive information, and (2) the Service’s success in the long-term preservation of, management of, and access to that information. NPS information resources exist in a variety of different media, including paper records, electronic documents, maps, databases, photographs, videos, and audio recordings. The Service will implement professional quality programs to preserve, manage, and integrate these resources and make them accessible. The Service will also use tools and technologies that will enhance
· information capture in permanent and durable forms;
· information management that is required by NPS policy and by legal and professional standards, including information security;
· management of electronic, textual, and audiovisual information resources, including still images, for continuous accessibility by NPS staff and the public;
· Internet and World Wide Web capabilities, while maintaining information security;
· geographic information systems (GIS);
· the understanding and management of the nation’s natural and cultural resources; and
· the accessibility and availability of information to persons with disabilities.
The Service is committed to the widest
possible availability and sharing of knowledge and to fostering discussion
about the national park system,
When producing or acquiring new works (such as images, graphic designs, logos, writing, Web sites, or other proprietary information) through acquisition by donation, contracting, partnerships, or other means, the Service will acquire the appropriate copyrights and any necessary releases whenever there is a current or anticipated need for unrestricted access to those works. The Service will respect the rights of owners of copyrights to control how their works are used and comply with fair use standards when information or works are not licensed for dissemination.
(Also see Director’s Order #67: Copyright and Trademarks)
Although it is the general NPS policy to share information widely, the Service also realizes that providing information about the location of park resources may sometimes place those resources at risk of harm, theft, or destruction. This can occur, for example, with regard to caves, archeological sites, tribal information, and rare plant and animal species. Some types of personnel, financial, and law enforcement matters are other examples of information that may be inappropriate for release to the public. Therefore, information will be withheld when the Service foresees that disclosure would be harmful to an interest protected by an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Information will also be withheld when the Park Service has entered into a written agreement (e.g., deed of gift, interview release, or similar written contract) to withhold data for a fixed period of time at the time of acquisition of the information. Such information will not be provided unless required by the Freedom of Information Act or other applicable law, a subpoena, a court order, or a federal audit.
NPS managers will use these exemptions sparingly, and only to the extent allowed by law. In general, if information is withheld from one requesting party, it must be withheld from anyone else who requests it, and if information is provided to one requesting party, it must be provided to anyone else who requests it. Procedures contained in Director’s Order #66: FOIA and Protected Resource Information will be followed to document any decisions to release information or to withhold information from the public. Director’s Order #66 also provides more detailed information regarding the four specific statutes and an executive order that exempt park resource information from FOIA disclosure.
(See Natural Resource Information 4.1.2; Studies and Collections 4.2; Caves 184.108.40.206; Research 5.1; Confidentiality 5.2.3; Access to Interpretive and Educational Opportunities 7.5.2. Also see Director’s Orders #5: Paper and Electronic Communications; #19: Records Management; #84: Library Management; and #11C: Web Publishing. Also see Reference Manual 53, chapter 5)
All practicable efforts will be made to make NPS facilities, programs, services, employment, and meaningful work opportunities accessible and usable by all people, including those with disabilities. This policy reflects the commitment to provide access to the widest cross section of the public and ensure compliance with the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Specific guidance for implementing these laws is found in the Secretary of the Interior’s regulations regarding enforcement of nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in Department of the Interior programs (43 CFR Part 17, Subpart E), and the General Services Administration’s regulations adopting accessibility standards for the Architectural Barriers Act (41 CFR Part 102-76, Subpart C).
A primary principle of accessibility is that, to the highest degree practicable, people with disabilities should be able to participate in the same programs, activities, and employment opportunities available to everyone else. In choosing among methods of providing accessibility, higher priority will be given to methods that offer programs and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate. Special, separate, or alternative facilities, programs, or services will be provided only when existing ones cannot reasonably be made accessible. The determination of what is practicable will be made only after careful consultation with persons with disabilities or their representatives. Any decision that would result in less than equal opportunity is subject to the filing of an official disability rights complaint under the departmental regulations cited above.
(See Physical Access for Persons with Disabilities 5.3.2; Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities 8.2.4; Accessibility of Commercial Services 10.2.6.2. Also see Americans with Disabilities Act and Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards)
The Park Service will provide timely and accurate information to the public and news media in accordance with applicable laws, departmental policy, and director’s orders. Park managers should identify appropriate opportunities to inform and educate the public about park resources and values and ways to enjoy them. Every effort should be made to provide early notification of changes in park management practices and conduct active civic engagement pursuant to Director's Order #75A. Park managers should keep the public informed of ongoing events in parks, especially as they may affect visitors and gateway communities. In some instances, certain information about individuals or events may need to be withheld for privacy, security, or other reasons, consistent with the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act of 1974.
(Also see Director’s Order #66: FOIA and Protected Resource Information)
Managers are responsible for the quality and timeliness of program performance, increasing productivity, controlling costs, mitigating the adverse aspects of agency operations, and ensuring that programs are managed with integrity and in compliance with applicable law. Management accountability systems will be designed and implemented to add value and contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of NPS programs.
The National Park Service will comply with OMB (Office of Management and Budget) Circular A-123, the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act of 1982 (31 USC 3512), and the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (31 USC 1115), which require that all federal agencies and individual managers take systematic and proactive measures to (1) develop and implement appropriate, cost-effective management controls for results-oriented management, (2) assess the adequacy of management controls in federal programs and operations, (3) identify needed improvements, (4) take corresponding corrective action, and (5) report annually on management controls.
The concept of management accountability will be applied to all strategies, plans, guidance, and procedures that govern programs and operations throughout the Park Service, including those at the park level, the program center level, and the Service-wide level. The Service will, through its organization, policies, and procedures, implement systems of controls to reasonably ensure that
· programs achieve their intended results;
· resources are used consistently with the NPS mission;
· programs and resources are managed to prevent waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement;
· laws and regulations are followed; and
· reliable and timely information is obtained, maintained, reported, and used for decision making.
The Park Service will strive to be an effective and efficient steward of appropriated and nonappropriated funds and services. These include revenues from recreation, concessions, and other fees, as well as financial and in-kind support from cooperating associations, friends’ groups, other partnership entities, and volunteers. The Park Service will attempt to meet management goals consistently through strategic planning that anticipates budget requirements, changing conditions, and reasonably foreseeable trends and events.
The Service will continually implement best management practices to achieve financial sustainability, including
· analyzing and revising work processes to achieve greater efficiency;
· making full use of information technology;
· anticipating and addressing funding availability through accepted business practices;
· ensuring that the out-year budget implications of decision-making are carefully considered in planning and other processes;
· ensuring that both short- and long-term costs of facility development and operation are factored into the project formulation and selection process;
· using value-based decision-making processes such as value analysis, capital asset planning, benefit-cost analysis, life-cycle cost estimating, risk analysis, and total cost of ownership analysis;
· linking performance management elements to achieving and maintaining financial sustainability;
· embracing preventative maintenance and management that prevents the degradation of park resources and facilities, thereby avoiding costly restoration or rehabilitation efforts; and
· using best financial management practices to ensure transparent information and public accountability consistent with proven financial accounting standards.
The Service will continually seek improvement and innovation in the areas covered by the following subsections.
The National Park Service will provide visitor and administrative facilities that are necessary, appropriate, and consistent with the conservation of park resources and values. Facilities will be harmonious with park resources, compatible with natural processes, esthetically pleasing, functional, energy- and water-efficient, cost-effective, universally designed, and as welcoming as possible to all segments of the population. Park facilities and operations of all sizes will demonstrate environmental leadership by incorporating sustainable practices to the maximum extent practicable in planning, design, siting, construction, and maintenance.
The Park Service will also continue to improve the budget formulation and accounting and financial reporting processes, particularly related to park specifics and assets, including heritage assets, by making them more transparent. The goal of these efforts will be to ensure that
· funds are spent in support of a park’s purpose or NPS mission;
· funds are spent in an efficient, transparent, and effective manner;
· a park’s request for funding is credible; and
· there are adequate funds and staff to conserve and protect the resources for which parks are responsible and provide for the enjoyment of the same.
The Service recognizes the benefits of cooperative conservation (in accordance with Executive Order 13352, Facilitation of Cooperative Conservation), as well as the significant role partners play in achieving conservation goals and funding conservation initiatives on behalf of the national park system. The Service has had many successful partnerships with individuals; organizations; tribal, state, and local governments; and other federal agencies that have helped fulfill the NPS mission. Through these partnerships, the Service has received valuable assistance in the form of educational programs, visitor services, living history demonstrations, search-and-rescue operations, fund-raising campaigns, habitat restoration, scientific and scholarly research, ecosystem management, and a host of other activities. These partnerships, both formal and informal, have produced countless benefits for the Service and for the national park system.
Benefits often extend into the future, because many people who participate as partners connect more strongly with the parks and commit themselves to long-term stewardship. The Service will continue to welcome and actively seek partnership activities with individuals, organizations, and others who share the Service’s commitment to protecting park resources and values and providing for their enjoyment. The Service will embrace partnership opportunities that will help accomplish the NPS mission provided that personnel and funding requirements do not make it impractical for the Service to participate and that the partnership activity would not (1) violate legal or ethical standards, (2) otherwise reflect adversely on the NPS mission and image, or (3) imply or indicate an unwillingness by the Service to perform an inherently governmental function.
In the spirit of partnership, the Service will also seek opportunities for cooperative management agreements with state or local agencies that will allow for more effective and efficient management of the parks, as authorized by section 802(a) of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998 (16 USC 1a-2(l)).
Whenever groups are created, controlled, or managed for the purpose of providing advice or recommendations to the Service, the Service will first consult with the Office of the Solicitor to determine whether the Federal Advisory Committee Act requires the chartering of an advisory committee. Consultation with the Office of the Solicitor will not be necessary when the Service meets with individuals, groups, or organizations simply to exchange views and information or to solicit individual advice on proposed actions. This act does not apply to intergovernmental meetings held exclusively between federal officials and elected officers of state, local and tribal governments (or their designated employees with authority to act on their behalf) acting in their official capacities, when (1) the meetings relate to intergovernmental responsibilities or administration, and (2) the purpose of the committee is solely to exchange views, information, or advice relating to the management or implementation of federal programs established pursuant to statute that explicitly or inherently share intergovernmental responsibilities or administration.
(See Public Involvement 220.127.116.11; Partnerships 4.1.4; Studies and Collections 4.2; Independent Research 5.1.2; Agreements 5.2.2; Interpretive and Educational Partnerships 7.6; Volunteers in Parks (VIPs) 7.6.1; Cooperating Associations 7.6.2; Enforcement Authority 8.3.4; Chapter 10: Commercial Visitor Services. Also see Director’s Orders #7: Volunteers in Parks; #17: National Park Service Tourism; #20: Agreements, #21: Donations and Fundraising; #27: Challenge Cost-share Program; #32: Cooperating Associations; #75A: Civic Engagement and Public Involvement; NPS Guide to the Federal Advisory Committee Act; Executive Order 13352 (Facilitation of Cooperative Conservation)
The National Park Service has a unique
relationship with American Indian tribes, which is founded in law and
strengthened by a shared commitment to stewardship of the land and resources.
The Service will honor its legal responsibilities to American Indian tribes as
required by the Constitution of the
The formal legal rationale for the relationship between the National Park Service and tribes is augmented by the historical, cultural, and spiritual relationships that American Indian tribes have with park lands and resources. As the ancestral homelands of many American Indian tribes, parks protect resources, sites, and vistas that are highly significant for the tribes. Therefore, the Service will pursue an open, collaborative relationship with American Indian tribes to help tribes maintain their cultural and spiritual practices and enhance the Park Service’s understanding of the history and significance of sites and resources in the parks. Within the constraints of legal authority and its duty to protect park resources, the Service will work with tribal governments to provide access to park resources and places that are essential for the continuation of traditional American Indian cultural or religious practices.
In accordance with the Presidential
Consultations, whether initiated by a tribe or the Park Service, will be respectful of tribal sovereignty. The Federal Advisory Committee Act does not apply to consultation meetings held exclusively between federal officials and elected officers of tribal governments or their designees.
Tribal needs for privacy and confidentiality of certain kinds of information will be respected. Such information will be deemed confidential when authorized by law, regulation, or policy. Before beginning government-to-government consultations, park managers will consider what information is necessary to record. Culturally sensitive information will be collected and recorded only to the extent necessary to support sound management decisions and only in consultation with tribal representatives.
Mutually acceptable consultation protocols to guide government-to-government relationships will be developed at the park and program levels with assistance from regional and support offices as needed. The protocols will be developed with an understanding of special circumstances present at individual parks. These protocols and the actual consultation itself will be informed by national, regional, and park-based subject matter experts.
NPS managers will be open and candid with tribal governments during consultations so that the affected tribes may fully evaluate the potential impact of the proposal and the Service may fully consider tribal views in its decision-making processes. This means that government-to-government consultation should begin at the earliest possible stages of planning.
Activities carried out on park lands may
sometimes affect tribal trust resources.
Trust resources are those
natural resources reserved by or for Indian tribes through treaties, statutes,
judicial decisions, and executive orders, which are protected by a fiduciary
obligation on the part of the
In considering a proposed program, project, or action, the Service will ensure that effects on trust resources are explicitly identified and evaluated in consultation with potentially concerned tribes and that they are addressed in planning, decision, and operational documents. With regard to activities that may impact Indian trust resources or tribal health and safety, the Service will consult with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Office of the Solicitor, and other offices and agencies, as appropriate.
(Also see Secretarial Order 3206, June 5, 1997)
The National Park Service administers parks
The need for management policies in the National
Park Service was first articulated by
Secretary Lane stated that administrative policy should adhere to three broad principles based on the 1916 Organic Act:
First, that the national parks must be maintained in absolutely unimpaired form for the use of future generations as well as those of our own time; second, that they are set apart for the use, observation, health, and pleasure of the people; and third, that the national interest must dictate all decisions affecting public or private enterprise in the parks.
Today’s national parks have become important
to our nation in more ways than
Secretary Lane’s guiding principles remain fundamentally valid, and they serve as a useful reminder of the need for a sustained commitment to park resource protection so that they are left unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. The Service’s commitment to protecting the national parks and ensuring public enjoyment for present and future generations is embodied in this 2006 edition of Management Policies.
Park planning helps define the set of resource conditions, visitor experiences, and management actions that, taken as a whole, will best achieve the mandate to preserve resources unimpaired for the enjoyment of present and future generations. NPS planning processes will flow from broad-scale general management planning through progressively more specific strategic planning, implementation planning, and annual performance planning and reporting, all of which will be grounded in foundation statements.
The National Park Service will use planning to bring logic, analysis, public involvement, and accountability into the decision-making process. Park planning and decision-making will be conducted as a continuous, dynamic cycle, from broad visions shared with the public to individual, annual work assignments and evaluations. Each park will be able to demonstrate to decision-makers, staff, and the public how decisions relate to one another in terms of a comprehensive, logical, and trackable rationale.
Decision-makers and planners will use the best available scientific and technical information and scholarly analysis to identify appropriate management actions for protection and use of park resources. Analysis will be interdisciplinary and tiered. Tiering is a staged approach to environmental analysis that addresses broad programs and issues in initial or systems-level analyses. Site-specific proposals and impacts are analyzed in subsequent studies. The tiered process supports decision-making on issues that are ripe for decision and provides a means to sustain those decisions. The focus of analysis starts with the park as a whole (including its global, national, and regional contexts) and then moves to site-specific details. At key points of planning and decision-making, the Park Service will identify reasonable alternatives and analyze and compare their differences with respect to
· consistency with the park’s purpose;
· the quality of visitor experiences;
· the impacts on park resources;
· short- and long-term costs; and
· environmental consequences that may extend beyond park boundaries.
Public participation in planning and decision-making will ensure that the Service fully understands and considers the public’s interests in the parks, which are part of the public’s national heritage, cultural traditions, and community surroundings. The Service will actively seek out and consult with existing and potential visitors, neighbors, American Indians, other people with traditional cultural ties to park lands, scientists and scholars, concessioners, cooperating associations, gateway communities, other partners, and government agencies. The Service will work cooperatively with others to improve the condition of parks; to enhance public service; and to integrate parks into sustainable ecological, cultural, and socioeconomic systems.
Managers will be held accountable for identifying and accomplishing measurable long-term goals and annual goals that are incremental steps to carrying out the park mission. Such planning is a critical and essential part of the NPS performance management system that is designed to improve the Park Service’s performance and results. Park staff will monitor resource conditions and visitor experiences and plan, track, and report performance. If goals are not being met, managers will seek to understand why and take appropriate action. The goals will be periodically reassessed, taking into account new knowledge or previously unforeseen circumstances, and then the planning cycle will be reinitiated at the appropriate point.
A documented, comprehensive, logical, trackable rationale for decisions will be created through several levels of planning that are complementary and become increasingly detailed. The process begins with determining why the park was established and what resource conditions and visitor experiences should exist there; the process will become increasingly focused on how resource conditions and visitor experiences should be achieved.
The following planning elements are part of an interrelated framework that will inform NPS decision-making:
· Foundation Statement — The planning process begins with the development of a foundation statement that is based on the park’s enabling legislation or presidential proclamation and that documents the park purpose, significance, fundamental resources and values, and primary interpretive themes. It also includes any relevant laws and executive orders that apply to the national park system or to the individual park unit. The foundation statement is generally developed (or reviewed and expanded or revised, if appropriate) early, as part of the public and agency scoping and data collection for the general management plan (GMP). Once a park has developed a complete foundation statement, it should remain relatively stable from one GMP cycle to the next, although new scientific and scholarly information may require expansion and revision to reflect the most current knowledge about what is most important about the park. General management planning is the most appropriate context for developing or reviewing a foundation statement because of the comprehensive public involvement and NEPA analysis that occurs during general management planning. The foundation statement may be vetted within the agency and with the public, then formally adopted as part of the final general management plan, or may be produced as a stand-alone foundation document for the park unit.
· General Management Plan — This is a broad umbrella document that sets the long-term goals for the park based on the foundation statement. The general management plan (1) clearly defines the desired natural and cultural resource conditions to be achieved and maintained over time; (2) clearly defines the necessary conditions for visitors to understand, enjoy, and appreciate the park’s significant resources, and (3) identifies the kinds and levels of management activities, visitor use, and development that are appropriate for maintaining the desired conditions; and (4) identifies indicators and standards for maintaining the desired conditions. For wild and scenic rivers and national trails, the analogous documents are a comprehensive river management plan and comprehensive management plan, respectively. Each of these plans has requirements very similar to a general management plan, so units usually refer to these plans as GMPs. Additional requirements for river and trail studies are covered in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the National Trails System Act.
· Program Management Plans — These more detailed documents follow the general management plan and provide program-specific information on strategies to achieve and maintain the desired resource conditions and visitor experiences, including identification of appropriate visitor use where applicable (for example, resource stewardship strategy and comprehensive interpretation plan).
· Strategic Plans — These plans provide 1- to 5-year direction and objective, measurable, long-term goals. The long-term goals will define the resource conditions and visitor experiences to be achieved in the near future, for which the superintendent will be held accountable. Results on progress towards these goals will be reported annually. These goals are based on the park’s foundation statement; an assessment of the park’s natural and cultural resources; park visitors’ experiences; and the park’s performance capability given available personnel, funding, and external factors.
· Implementation Plans — These plans provide project-specific details needed to implement an action in an area of a park and explain how the action(s) helps achieve long-term goals.
· Annual Performance Plans —Annual goals and an annual work plan that will guide park efforts for a fiscal year are contained in annual performance plans.
· Annual Performance Reports — These reports contain an accounting of annual results in relation to annual goals.
Park managers and regional directors are responsible for ensuring that planning is properly conducted within this planning framework and making management decisions that are supported by public involvement, the best available information, and analysis. However, many parks may initially lack one or more of these planning elements. In the interim, management will be guided by the park’s foundation statement, strategic plan, and other current approved plans. No major new development or other major commitment of park land or natural or cultural resources will be authorized without an approved general management plan.
(See Visitor Use 8.2)
The order of plan development will generally flow from broad general management plans to progressively more specific implementation plans.
When determining a plan’s scope, it will be important to distinguish which issues can most appropriately be addressed by general management planning, and which can be most appropriately addressed by more detailed strategic or implementation planning. Each level of planning has a distinct function, and all levels are designed to interrelate with a minimum of duplication and confusion. At each level, plans will be written to make the links and relationships among the planning levels apparent to readers.
Environmental analysis of alternatives and public involvement required under section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 USC 4332(2)(C)) will be conducted at any level of planning in which the decisions to be made constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. Normally, NEPA analysis and public participation will be done at the general management planning level, when the overall direction for the park’s future is decided, and again at the implementation planning level before funding and resources are committed to carry out specific actions (see 2.3.1 and 2.3.4, below). In keeping with the Council on Environmental Quality guidelines for NEPA compliance, environmental analysis for more specific programs or actions will follow, or flow from, earlier NEPA documents for the broader general management plan.
(See Civic Engagement 1.7. Also see Director’s Orders #2: Park Planning, and #12: Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision-making)
The Park Service will maintain a general management plan for each unit of the national park system. The purpose of each general management plan, which will begin with the development of a foundation statement for the park unit, will be to ensure that the park has a clearly defined direction for resource preservation and visitor use. This basic foundation for decision-making will be developed by an interdisciplinary team, in consultation with relevant NPS offices, other federal and state agencies, local and tribal governments, other interested parties, and the general public. The management plans will be based on full and proper use of scientific and scholarly information related to existing and potential resource conditions, visitor experiences, environmental impacts, and relative costs of alternative courses of action.
The approved plan will create a realistic vision for the future, setting a direction for the park that takes into consideration the environmental and financial impact of proposed facilities and programs and ensures that the final plan is achievable and sustainable. The plan will take the long view, which may project many years into the future, when dealing with the time frames of natural and cultural processes. The first phase of general management planning will be the development of the foundation statement. The plan will consider the park in its full ecological, scenic, and cultural contexts as a unit of the national park system and as part of a surrounding region. The general management plan will also establish a common management direction for all park divisions and districts. This integration will help avoid inadvertently creating new problems in one area while attempting to solve problems in another.
General management plans will meet all statutory requirements contained in 16 USC 1a-7(b) and will include
· the types of management actions required for the preservation of park resources;
· the types and general intensities of development (including visitor circulation and transportation patterns, systems, and modes) associated with public enjoyment and use of the area, including general locations, timing of implementation, and anticipated costs;
· visitor carrying capacities and implementation commitments for all areas of the park; and
· potential modifications to the external boundaries of the park—if any—and the reasons for the proposed changes.
For NPS-administered components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System and the National Trails System, comprehensive management plans will meet all the statutory requirements of 16 USC 1271-1287 or 16 USC 1244.
Each park’s approved general management plan will include a map that delineates management zones or districts that correspond to a description of the desired resource and visitor experience conditions for each area of the park. Management zoning will outline the criteria for (or describe the kind of) appropriate uses and facilities necessary to support these desired conditions. For example, highly sensitive natural areas might tolerate little, if any, visitor use, while other areas might accommodate much higher levels of use. Even in historic structures, one floor might be most appropriate for exhibits, while another could accommodate offices or administrative uses. Some desired conditions may apply parkwide, but the delineation of management zones will illustrate where there are differences in intended resource conditions, visitor experiences, and management activities.
Interdisciplinary teams, including park managers and technical experts, will prepare general management plans. Planning teams will work with the park superintendent and regional directors and consult with other park staff, NPS leadership, other agencies with jurisdiction by virtue of law or expertise, other knowledgeable persons, and the public concerning future management of park resources. The superintendent will be involved with all phases of the plan’s development. The superintendent and regional director have ultimate responsibility for the contents of the plan, ensuring that there is consistency in direction and decisions between parks with similar resources and values. The regional director is the official responsible for approving general management plans.
Decisions documented in general management plans and other planning products, including environmental analyses and documentation, will be based on current scientific and scholarly understanding of park ecosystems and cultural contexts and the socioeconomic environment both internal and external to the park. The collection and analysis of information about park resources will be a continuous process that will help ensure that decisions are consistent with park purposes.
Members of the public—including existing and potential visitors, park neighbors, American Indians, other people with traditional cultural ties to lands within the park, concessioners, cooperating associations, other partners, scientists and scholars, and other government agencies—will be encouraged to participate during the preparation of a general management plan and the associated environmental analysis. Public involvement strategies, practices, and activities will be developed and conducted within the framework of civic engagement. (Whereas civic engagement is the philosophy of welcoming people into the parks and building relationships around a shared stewardship mission, public involvement—also called public participation—is the specific, active involvement of the public in NPS planning and other decision-making processes.) Public involvement will meet NEPA and other federal requirements for
· identifying the scope of issues;
· developing the range of alternatives considered in planning;
· reviewing the analysis of potential impacts; and
· disclosing the rationale for decisions about the park’s future.
The Park Service will use the public involvement process to
· share information about legal and policy mandates, the planning process, issues, and proposed management directions;
· learn about the values placed by other people and groups on the same resources and visitor experiences; and
· build support for implementing the plan among local interests, visitors, Congress, and others at the regional and national levels.
Whenever groups are created, controlled, or managed for the purpose of providing advice or recommendations to the Service, the Service will first consult with the Office of the Solicitor to determine whether the Federal Advisory Committee Act requires the chartering of an advisory committee. Consultation with the Office of the Solicitor will not be necessary when the Service meets with individuals, groups, or organizations simply to exchange views and information, or to solicit individual advice on proposed actions. This act does not apply to intergovernmental meetings held exclusively between federal officials and elected officers of state, local, and tribal governments (or their designated employees with authority to act on their behalf) acting in their official capacities, when (1) the meetings relate to intergovernmental responsibilities or administration, and (2) the purpose of the committee is solely to exchange views, information, or advice relating to the management or implementation of federal programs established pursuant to statute that explicitly or inherently share intergovernmental responsibilities or administration.
Alternative futures for the park will be explored and assessed during general management planning and environmental analysis. Within the broad parameters of the park mission and mission goals, various approaches to park resource preservation, use, and development may be possible, some of which may represent competing demands for the same resource base. The general management plan will be the principal tool for resolving such issues. The range of alternatives will examine different combinations of management zoning, within the limits of laws, regulations, and policies governing national parks.
The analysis of alternatives will meet the program standards for NPS implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act and related legislation, including the National Historic Preservation Act. In most cases, an environmental impact statement (EIS) will be prepared for general management plans. In a few cases, the regional director, in consultation with the NPS Environmental Quality Division, through the Associate Director for Natural Resource Stewardship and Science, may approve an exception to this general rule if
· completion of scoping demonstrates that there is no public controversy concerning potential environmental effects; and
· the initial analysis of alternatives clearly indicates there is no potential for significant impact by any alternative.
Where the National Environmental Policy Act and sections 106 and 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 USC 470f and 470h-2, respectively) both apply, NEPA procedures will be used to inform the public about undertakings having the potential to affect properties listed on, or eligible for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places, consistent with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s regulatory provisions governing coordination with the National Environmental Policy Act and the NPS nationwide programmatic agreement on section 106 compliance (36 CFR Part 800). The tiered approach to environmental analysis will be used as often as possible, in accordance with 40 CFR 1502.20.
General management planning will be conducted as part of cooperative regional planning and ecosystem planning whenever possible. NPS participation in cooperative regional planning will be undertaken with the hope of better coordinating and focusing the independent efforts of multiple parties. NPS participation in such planning efforts will acknowledge the rights and interests of other landowners. While being consistent with NPS management policies and park goals, plans will identify and consider potential effects outside and inside park boundaries, and plans will identify ways to enhance beneficial effects and mitigate adverse effects.
Potential national wild and scenic rivers will be considered in planning for the use and development of a park’s water and related land resources. The Park Service will compile a complete listing of all rivers and river segments in the national park system that it considers eligible for the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. General management plans and other plans potentially affecting river resources will propose no actions that could adversely affect the values that qualify a river for the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. After a determination of eligibility is made, a decision concerning whether or not to seek legislation to designate a river or river segment may be made only through a general management plan, an amendment to a general management plan, or the legislative review process.
The Wilderness Act directs agencies responsible for managing wilderness to study wilderness resources and values. The Park Service will develop wilderness studies and plans as part of the comprehensive planning framework for each park. Managers are encouraged to incorporate these studies and plans within general management plans when possible. To preserve Congress’s prerogative to designate wilderness, general management plans and other plans potentially affecting eligible wilderness resources will propose no actions that could adversely affect the wilderness characteristics and values that make them eligible for consideration for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System.
Lands and waters found to possess the characteristics and values of wilderness, as defined in the Wilderness Act, can be studied to develop a recommendation to Congress for wilderness designation in a general management plan/wilderness study. Where designated wilderness exists, park mangers have a responsibility to develop and maintain a wilderness management plan or equivalent planning document to guide the preservation, management, and use of these resources. A comprehensive management plan for wilderness is appropriately done in tandem with a general management plan, and wilderness should be taken into consideration in subsequent program management and implementation plans.
When wilderness eligibility and suitability are evaluated as a part of the GMP process, a determination of eligibility or suitability will not necessarily mean that the Service will seek designation. After the determination is made, a decision concerning whether to seek legislation to designate wilderness may be made only through a general management plan, an amendment to a general management plan, or the legislative review process.
General management plans for park system
As necessary, general management plans will be reviewed and amended or revised, or a new plan will be prepared, to keep them current. GMP reviews may be needed every 10 to 15 years, but may be needed sooner if conditions change significantly. If conditions remain substantially unchanged, a longer period between reviews would be acceptable. Even in parks with strong traditions and established patterns of use and development, managers will be responsible for assessing whether resources are threatened with impairment, the visitor experience has been degraded, or the park’s built environment is difficult to sustain. Periodically reassessing the general management plan will give everyone with a major stake in the park an opportunity to revalidate the park’s role in the nation and in the region and reevaluate whether the kinds of resource conditions and visitor experiences being pursued are the best possible mix for the future.
An approved management plan may be amended or revised, rather than a new plan prepared, if conditions and management prescriptions governing most of the area covered by the plan remain essentially unchanged from those present when the plan was originally approved. Amendments or revisions to a general management plan will be accompanied by a supplemental environmental impact statement or other suitable NEPA analysis and public involvement.
(See Chapter 1: The Foundation; Chapter 3: Land Protection; Chapter 4: Natural Resource Management; Chapter 5: Cultural Resource Management; Chapter 6: Wilderness Preservation and Management; Chapter 8: Use of the Parks; Chapter 9: Park Facilities; Chapter 10: Commercial Visitor Services. Also see Director’s Orders #2: Park Planning; and #12: Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision-making)
Program management planning for a park provides a bridge between the broad direction provided in the general management plan and specific actions taken to achieve goals. These plans provide a comprehensive approach for a single park program area across most or all of the park. Program management planning may include special emphasis plans, such as a park resource stewardship strategy, a comprehensive interpretive plan, a land protection plan, a visitor use plan, a fire management plan, an asset management plan, or a management stewardship plan. Integrated, interdisciplinary approaches to program planning are encouraged. Program management plans will provide comprehensive recommendations about specific actions needed to achieve and maintain the desired resource conditions and visitor experiences.
The Service is committed to performance management and accountability. Managers are responsible for the quality and timeliness of program performance, increasing productivity, controlling costs, mitigating the adverse aspects of agency operations, and ensuring that programs are managed with integrity and in compliance with applicable laws. Strategic planning will be conducted for the National Park Service as a whole, and every park, program, and central office will be covered by a strategic plan. Strategic plans will address both Service-wide and local outcomes. Park-related strategic plans will be recommended by the superintendent, approved by the regional director, and consistent with the department’s overall strategic plan. Strategic plans will contain:
· mission statement and purpose from the foundation document;
· long-term performance goals (with performance targets);
· a short description of the strategies chosen to accomplish the goals;
· a description of how the annual goals will relate to the long-term goals;
· a description of the analysis used to establish or revise goals;
· a section that identifies the civic engagement strategy used to involve stakeholders and communities in the development of the strategic plan;
· an identification of the key external factors that could significantly affect achievement of the goals; and
· a list of those who developed the plan.
Information in park strategic plans is used to compile Service-wide achievements; therefore, these plans must contain similar information.
The park’s strategic plan will be consistent with the Department of the Interior’s strategic plan and the park’s general management plan, and it will build from the foundation statement. Parks that lack a current general management plan will work from their existing plans or an updated foundation document. A strategic plan will focus on a shorter time frame than a general management plan, target measurable results; and not require the comprehensive resource analysis, consultation, and compliance required for a general management plan.
Should a park decide, through its strategic planning process, that a major shift in direction or emphasis is needed, the strategic plan will identify the need for a new general management plan or a GMP amendment. Strategic plans may also identify the need for more detailed program management or implementation plans.
Implementation planning will focus on how to implement activities and projects needed to achieve the desired conditions identified in the general management plan, strategic plan, and program management planning documents. Implementation plans may deal with complex, technical, and sometimes controversial issues that often require a level of detail and thorough analysis beyond that appropriate for other planning documents.
Implementation plans may concentrate on individual projects or components of the general management plan, and they may specify the techniques, disciplines, equipment, infrastructure, schedule, and funding necessary to accomplish outcomes.
Implementation plan details may vary widely and may direct a finite project (such as reintroducing an extirpated species or developing a trail) or a continuous activity (such as maintaining a historic structure). Examples of implementation plan details include management plans for specific species and habitats, site designs, off-road-vehicle management plans, and interpretive media plans. Details will generally be deferred until the activity or project under consideration has attained sufficient priority to indicate that action will be taken within the next two to five years and will be included in an annual work plan. This will help ensure that decisions about how to best achieve a certain goal are relevant, timely, and based on current data. As a means for providing flexibility in the face of changing natural conditions, park managers are encouraged to use an adaptive management approach when appropriate (see glossary for definition of adaptive management).
Technical specialty teams under the direction of the program leader in the park (usually a division chief) or in the regional office will develop implementation plans, and the plans will be approved by the superintendent (or at a higher level when appropriate).
Development of an implementation plan may overlap other planning efforts if this is appropriate for the purposes of planning efficiency or public involvement. However, the decisions made for the general management plan will precede and direct more detailed decisions regarding projects and activities. Major new development or rehabilitation and major actions or commitments aimed at changing resource conditions or visitor use in a park must be consistent with an approved general management plan.
Many actions taken by the National Park Service, unless categorically excluded from further NEPA analysis, require public involvement and analysis of alternatives. They also require compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act and related legislation. Although general management planning addresses key environmental quality and cultural resource issues at the programmatic level over the long term, resolution of resource issues must continue during implementation planning. This will generally be accomplished through the appropriate NEPA and NHPA section 106 compliance processes and the application of the tiered approach to environmental analysis.
The National Park Service will use all available authorities to protect lands and resources within units of the national park system, and the Park Service will seek to acquire nonfederal lands and interests in land that have been identified for acquisition as promptly as possible. For lands not in federal ownership, both those that have been identified for acquisition and other nonfederally owned lands within a park unit’s authorized boundaries, the Service will cooperate with federal agencies; tribal, state, and local governments; nonprofit organizations; and property owners to provide appropriate protection measures. Cooperation with these entities will also be pursued, and other available land protection tools will be employed when threats to resources originate outside boundaries.
The National Park Service is required by the 1916 Organic Act to protect and preserve unimpaired the resources and values of the national park system while providing for public use and enjoyment. A number of park units have nonfederally owned lands within their authorized boundaries. When nonfederal lands exist within park boundaries, acquisition of those lands and/or interests in those lands may be the best way to protect and manage natural and cultural resources or provide for visitor enjoyment. When acquisition is necessary and appropriate, the Park Service will acquire those lands and/or interests as promptly as possible, consistent with departmental land transaction and appraisal policies. Practical, cost-effective alternatives will be considered and pursued by the Service to advance protection and management goals.
The boundaries of most park units are not based strictly on ecological processes or other resource protection principles, and park units are increasingly subject to impacts from external sources. Examples include air pollution, water pollution, and the loss of scenic vistas, natural quiet, and wildlife habitat. To fulfill NPS protection responsibilities, strategies and actions beyond park boundaries may be employed. External threats may be addressed by using available tools—such as gateway community planning and partnership arrangements; NPS educational programs; and participation in the planning processes of federal agencies and tribal, state, and local governments. Strong fulfillment of Service responsibilities is required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and other applicable laws to minimize impacts on park resources and values.
The Park Service may employ a variety of different methods, as appropriate, for protecting park resources. These methods will be considered in the land protection planning process for each unit. Examples include
· acquisition of fee-simple real property interest, possibly with arrangements for some rights to be reserved;
· acquisition of less-than-fee real property interests, such as easements or rights-of-way; and
· cooperative approaches, such as cooperative agreements, participation in regional consortiums, local planning and zoning processes, or other measures that do not involve federal acquisition of any interest in real property.
Federal fee-simple ownership (all of the rights associated with real property) provides the Service with the greatest ability to protect and manage resources and provide for public use and enjoyment. Less-than-fee interests (some of the rights associated with real property) require a federal commitment to monitor and enforce the Service’s interest in the affected property. Acquisition of less-than-fee interests may be appropriate in instances in which the Service needs only a specific interest in land, or in which it needs to modify uses of the land to protect resources or values but full fee ownership is not required or possible.
Acquisition of fee-simple interests is a critically important and effective land protection method for lands within park unit boundaries. The Service may employ, as appropriate, a broad strategy to protect land and resources, including innovative techniques; partnerships; participation in the planning and decision-making processes of other federal agencies; and vigilance at the regional and local levels of government where nonfederal land use decisions are generally made.
Some park units created by Congress have been specifically authorized to continue historical or traditional activities such as farming, ranching, or low-density residential uses. Congress may also restrict the method of acquisition or prohibit acquisition without owner consent. In all cases, the Park Service will acquire the lands and/or interests in land only by the method or methods authorized.
When nonfederal land is identified for acquisition, the Service will make every reasonable effort to reach an agreement with the owner on the purchase price, in accordance with the uniform appraisal standards for departmental land transaction policies. If an agreement cannot be reached, the Service will take further steps in accordance with authorities and congressional directions that apply to the unit in question. NPS policy is to acquire lands and interests in lands from willing sellers, and condemnation is generally considered only as a last resort. However, acquisition by condemnation is sometimes necessary to establish just compensation, to clear a title, or to prevent imminent damage or unacceptable threats to park resources and values.
(See Condemnation 3.8)
Planning for the protection of park lands will be integrated into the planning process for park management. Land protection plans (LPPs) should be prepared to determine and publicly document what lands or interests in land need to be in public ownership and what means of protection are available to achieve the purposes for which the unit was created. These plans will be prepared for each unit of the national park system containing nonfederal land or interests in land within its authorized boundary. A thorough review of a park’s authorizing statutes and complete legislative history will be conducted as part of the land protection planning process.
Land acquisition priorities will be guided by a park unit’s land protection plan. Superintendents will ensure that land protection plans are developed, and periodically reviewed and updated to identify what land or interests in land would facilitate achieving park purposes. These purposes and the desired conditions for resources and visitor experiences are normally defined in the park’s general management plan. Strategic plans define what results can be accomplished in the foreseeable future—usually a five-year period. Land protection plans will be coordinated with general management plans, strategic plans, and other plans for resource management and visitor use. Decisions about acquisition within park boundaries will consider the relationship between the park and its adjacent lands. Superintendents have the responsibility to be aware of uses or activities that are planned for lands around the park that may have impacts on park resources and opportunities for visitor enjoyment.
A land protection plan should be simple and concise and document (1) what lands or interests in land would advance park purposes through public ownership, (2) what means of protection are available to achieve park purposes as established by Congress, (3) the protection methods and funds that will be sought or applied to protect resources and to provide for visitor use and park facility development, and (4) acquisition priorities. Historic structures and objects on the land under consideration within the land protection plan will be evaluated for their relevance to the park mission and the scope of the park museum collection. The land protection plan will specify those structures and objects that benefit the public through public ownership and identify the appropriate source of funding. Personal property not identified for acquisition should be removed by the property owner. For acquisition of water rights, see chapter 4, section 4.6.2.
When appropriate, the land protection plan may serve as a vehicle for addressing land protection issues external to a park’s boundaries. When external impacts or opportunities are addressed, plans will clearly distinguish between the authorities related to land acquisition and the authorities for the Service to cooperate with other entities beyond the park boundary.
Superintendents will be aware of and monitor state government programs for managing state-owned submerged lands and resources within NPS units. When there is potential for such programs to adversely impact park resources or values, superintendents will make their concerns known to appropriate state government officials and encourage compatible land uses that avoid or mitigate potential adverse impacts. When federal acquisition of state-owned submerged lands and resources within NPS units is not feasible, the Park Service will seek to enter into cooperative agreements with state governments to ensure the adequate protection of park resources and values.
External threats may originate with proposed uses outside a park that may adversely impact park resources or values. Superintendents will therefore be aware of and monitor land use proposals and changes to adjacent lands and their potential impacts. They will also seek to encourage compatible adjacent land uses to avoid or to mitigate potential adverse effects. Superintendents will make their concerns known and, when appropriate, actively participate in the planning and regulatory processes of neighboring jurisdictions, including other federal agencies and tribal, state, and local governments.
In working cooperatively with surrounding landowners and managers a superintendent might, for example, comment on potential zoning changes for proposed development projects, or brief the public and officials about park resources and related studies that are relevant to proposed zoning or other changes. Superintendents should, whenever possible, work cooperatively and communicate their concerns as early as possible in the process to minimize potential conflict. Superintendents should seek advice from the appropriate NPS program managers and the Solicitor’s Office when dealing with complicated external land protection issues and threats, especially those with potential for Service-wide controversy or consequences.
In some cases—such as air or water pollution—the source of a significant threat may be far removed from the park’s boundaries. In such cases the Park Service will coordinate at the regional or national level in making its concerns known and in seeking a remedy to the problem. Threats to parks from external sources should be identified and addressed in the general management plan or in other planning documents. The result will be enhanced public awareness of the far-reaching impacts of these threats and an increased likelihood of remedial actions by those who are responsible.
(See Cooperative Conservation Beyond Park Boundaries 1.6; Evaluating Impacts on Natural Resources 4.1.3; Partnerships 4.1.4; Biological Resource Management 4.4; Removal of Exotic Species Already Present 18.104.22.168; Water Resource Management 4.6; Air Resource Management 4.7; Geologic Resource Management 4.8; Soundscape Management 4.9; Lightscape Management 4.10; Stewardship 5.3. Also see Director’s Order #25: Land Protection, and Reference Manual 25; Director’s Order #75A: Civic Engagement and Public Involvement)
The boundary of a national park may be modified only as authorized by law. For many parks, such statutory authority is included in the enabling legislation or subsequent legislation that specifically authorizes a boundary revision. Where park-specific authority is not available, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, as amended, provides an additional but limited authority to adjust boundaries.
The act provides for boundary adjustments that essentially fall into three distinct categories: (1) technical revisions; (2) minor revisions based upon statutorily defined criteria; and (3) revisions to include adjacent real property acquired by donation, purchased with donated funds, transferred from any other federal agency, or obtained by exchange. Adjacent real property is considered to be land located contiguous to but outside the boundary of a national park system unit.
As part of the planning process, the Park Service will identify and evaluate boundary adjustments that may be necessary or desirable for carrying out the purposes of the park unit. Boundary adjustments may be recommended to
· protect significant resources and values, or to enhance opportunities for public enjoyment related to park purposes;
· address operational and management issues, such as the need for access or the need for boundaries to correspond to logical boundary delineations such as topographic or other natural features or roads; or
· otherwise protect park resources that are critical to fulfilling park purposes.
If the acquisition will be made using appropriated funds, and it is not merely a technical boundary revision, the criteria set forth by Congress at 16 USC 460l-9(c) (2) must be met. All recommendations for boundary changes must meet the following two criteria:
The added lands will be feasible to administer considering their size, configuration, and ownership; costs; the views of and impacts on local communities and surrounding jurisdictions; and other factors such as the presence of hazardous substances or exotic species.
Other alternatives for management and resource protection are not adequate.
These criteria apply conversely to recommendations for the deletion of lands from the authorized boundaries of a park unit. For example, before recommending the deletion of land from a park boundary, a finding would have to be made that the land did not include a significant resource, value, or opportunity for public enjoyment related to the purposes of the park. Full consideration should be given to current and future park needs before a recommendation is made to delete lands from the authorized boundaries of a park unit. Actions consisting solely of deletions of land from existing park boundaries would require an act of Congress.
The National Park Service acquires lands or interests in land within parks when authorized to do so by an act of Congress or by presidential proclamation. Although acquisition outside authorized boundaries is generally prohibited, certain statutes provide limited systemwide authority for minor boundary changes and the acceptance of donated lands adjacent to a park’s boundaries. There is no single statute authorizing land acquisition. There are, however, several laws that provide limited acquisition authority that is applicable systemwide. For most parks, acquisition authority is provided by statutes specific to the park. The Park Service land acquisition process and land protection planning process will comply with all applicable legislation, congressional guidelines, executive orders, and Department of the Interior policies. For delegations of authority for land acquisition, see Director’s Order #25: Land Protection.
When the acquisition of lands and/or interests in land within a park boundary is necessary, the Park Service will consider acquisition by
· purchase with appropriated or donated funds;
· bargain sale;
· transfer or withdrawal from public domain; or
· condemnation, as a last resort.
Funding for land acquisition within the national park system is derived primarily from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. LWCF monies are restricted to uses associated with the acquisition of land and/or interests in land within the authorized boundaries of NPS units. As outlined in Department of the Interior policy, the federal portion of the fund will be used to acquire the lands, waters, and interests therein necessary to achieve the Service’s natural, cultural, wildlife, and recreation management objectives. To implement this policy, the fund will be used in accordance with management objectives for each park unit based on the NPS mission and congressional mandates and in accordance with an analysis of long-range goals for resource protection, safe public access, and park management. As further required by departmental policy, the Service will, to the extent consistent with statutory authorities,
· prioritize acquisition of lands or interests in land within unit boundaries to achieve park purposes consistent with management objectives;
· use to the maximum extent practical, cost-effective alternatives to the direct federal purchase of privately owned lands, and, when acquisition is necessary, acquire or retain only the minimum interests determined by park officials to be necessary to meet management objectives;
· cooperate with landowners; other federal agencies; tribal, state, and local governments; and the private sector to manage land for public use or protect it for resource conservation; and
· formulate, or revise as necessary, plans for land acquisition and resource use or protection to ensure that sociocultural impacts are considered and that the most outstanding areas are adequately managed.
As a general policy and in accordance with congressional direction, condemnation is the acquisition method of last resort for the Park Service when acquiring lands or interests in lands.
It is the Service’s goal to acquire lands or
interests in lands through a cooperative negotiation process with a willing
seller. Under certain circumstances,
however, condemnation may be necessary.
Friendly condemnations with willing sellers may be appropriate to ensure
· it is first determined that other acquisition means will not be successful;
· the acquisition would be consistent with any restrictions applicable to that park unit; and
· approval has been obtained from the Director and any other required sources (e.g., by the Department of the Interior or Congress).
The National Park Service will preserve and protect the natural resources, processes, systems, and values of units of the national park system in an unimpaired condition to perpetuate their inherent integrity and to provide present and future generations with the opportunity to enjoy them.
The National Park Service will strive to understand, maintain, restore, and protect the inherent integrity of the natural resources, processes, systems, and values of the parks while providing meaningful and appropriate opportunities to enjoy them. The Service recognizes that natural processes and species are evolving, and the Service will allow this evolution to continue—minimally influenced by human actions. The natural resources, processes, systems, and values that the Service preserves are described generally in the 1916 NPS Organic Act and in the enabling legislation or presidential proclamation establishing each park. They are described in greater detail in management plans specific to each park. Natural resources, processes, systems, and values found in parks include
· physical resources such as water, air, soils, topographic features, geologic features, paleontological resources, and natural soundscapes and clear skies, both during the day and at night
· physical processes such as weather, erosion, cave formation, and wildland fire
· biological resources such as native plants, animals, and communities
· biological processes such as photosynthesis, succession, and evolution
· highly valued associated characteristics such as scenic views
In this chapter, natural resources, processes, systems, and values are all included in the term “natural resources.” The term “natural condition” is used here to describe the condition of resources that would occur in the absence of human dominance over the landscape.
The Service manages the natural resources of parks to maintain them in an unimpaired condition for present and future generations in accordance with NPS-specific statutes, including the NPS Organic Act and the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998; general environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Wilderness Act; executive orders; and applicable regulations.
Activities that take place outside park boundaries and that are not managed by the Service can profoundly affect the Service’s ability to protect natural resources inside the parks. The Service will act to protect natural resources from impacts caused by external activities by working cooperatively with federal, state, and local agencies; tribal authorities; user groups; adjacent landowners; and others to identify and achieve broad natural resource goals. By working cooperatively through both formal and informal lines of communication and consultation, the Service will better achieve park management objectives and the protection of parks’ natural resources.
As explained in chapter 1 of these Management Policies, preserving park resources and values unimpaired is the core or primary responsibility of NPS managers. The Service cannot conduct or allow activities in parks that would impact park resources and values to a level that would constitute impairment. To comply with this mandate, park managers must determine in writing whether proposed activities in parks would impair natural resources. Park managers must also take action to ensure that ongoing NPS activities do not cause the impairment of park natural resources. In cases of uncertainty as to the impacts of activities on park natural resources, the protection of natural resources will predominate. The Service will reduce such uncertainty by facilitating and building a science-based understanding of park resources and the nature and extent of the impacts involved.
Natural resources will be managed to preserve fundamental physical and biological processes, as well as individual species, features, and plant and animal communities. The Service will not attempt to solely preserve individual species (except threatened or endangered species) or individual natural processes; rather, it will try to maintain all the components and processes of naturally evolving park ecosystems, including the natural abundance, diversity, and genetic and ecological integrity of the plant and animal species native to those ecosystems. Just as all components of a natural system will be recognized as important, natural change will also be recognized as an integral part of the functioning of natural systems. By preserving these components and processes in their natural condition, the Service will prevent resource degradation and therefore avoid any subsequent need for resource restoration. In managing parks to preserve naturally evolving ecosystems, and in accordance with requirements of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998, the Service will use the findings of science and the analyses of scientifically trained resource specialists in decision-making.
Park units with significant natural resources
range in size from just a few acres to millions of acres and from urban to
remote and wilderness settings. As integral parts of a national park system,
these park units individually and cumulatively contribute to
Science has demonstrated that few if any park units can fully realize or maintain their physical and biological integrity if managed as biogeographic islands. Instead, park units must be managed in the context of their larger ecosystems. The ecosystem context for some species and processes may be relatively small, while for others this context is vast. In any case, superintendents face the challenge of placing each of the resources they protect in their appropriate ecosystem context and then working with all involved and affected parties to advance their shared conservation goals and avoid adverse impacts on these resources.
Superintendents must be mindful of the setting in which they undertake the protection of park resources. The practicability of achieving a natural soundscape may be quite reasonable at a park unit in a remote setting, but the same may not be true at a popular roadside viewpoint in the same park unit, or at a park unit in a more urban locale. Similarly, the restoration and maintenance of natural fire regimes can advance more rapidly and on a larger landscape scale in wilderness areas where considerations for public safety and the protection of private property and physical developments can usually be readily addressed. However, the restoration and maintenance of natural fire regimes in more developed and highly visited locations with the same considerations can be extremely complicated. The goal of protecting natural resources and values while providing for their enjoyment remains the same in all cases except to the extent that Congress has directly and specifically provided otherwise. The degree to which a park can adequately restore and maintain its natural resources to a desired condition will depend on a variety of factors—such as size, past management events, surrounding land uses, and the availability of resources. Through its planning processes, the Park Service will determine the desired future conditions for each park unit and identify a strategy to achieve them. This strategy should include working cooperatively with adjacent land and resource managers, as appropriate.
The Service will not intervene in natural biological or physical processes, except
· when directed by Congress;
· in emergencies in which human life and property are at stake;
· to restore natural ecosystem functioning that has been disrupted by past or ongoing human activities; or
· when a park plan has identified the intervention as necessary to protect other park resources, human health and safety, or facilities.
Any such intervention will be kept to the minimum necessary to achieve the stated management objectives.
Natural systems in the national park system, and the human influences upon them, will be monitored to detect change. The Service will evaluate possible causes and effects of changes that might cause impacts on park resources and values. The Service will use the results of monitoring and research to understand the detected change and to develop appropriate management actions.
Biological or physical processes altered in the past by human activities may need to be actively managed to restore them to a natural condition or to maintain the closest approximation of the natural condition when a truly natural system is no longer attainable. Prescribed burning and the control of ungulates when predators have been extirpated are two examples. Decisions about the extent and degree of management actions taken to protect or restore park ecosystems or their components will be based on clearly articulated, well-supported management objectives and the best scientific information available.
There may be situations in which an area may be closed to visitor use to protect the natural resources (for example, during an animal breeding season) or for reasons of public safety (for example, during a wildland fire). Such closures may be accomplished under the superintendent’s discretionary authority and will comply with applicable regulations (36 CFR 1.5 and 1.7).
(See The Prohibition on Impairment of Park Resources and Values 1.4.4; Environmental Leadership 1.8; General Management Planning 2.3.1; Facility Planning and Design 9.1.1. Also see Director’s Order #11B: Ensuring Quality of Information Disseminated by the NPS; Director’s Order #75A: Civic Engagement and Public Involvement)
Each park with a significant natural resource base (as exemplified by participation in the Vital Signs component of the Natural Resource Challenge) will prepare and periodically update a long-range (looking at least one to two decades ahead) comprehensive strategy for natural resource management. This long-range strategy will describe the comprehensive program of activities needed to achieve the desired future conditions for the park’s natural resources. It will integrate the best available science and prescribe activities such as inventories, research, monitoring, restoration, mitigation, protection, education, and management of resource uses. The strategy will also describe the natural-resource-related activities needed to achieve desired future conditions for cultural resources (such as historic landscapes) and visitor enjoyment.
Similarly, planning for park operations, development, and management activities that might affect natural resources will be guided by high-quality, scientifically acceptable information, data, and impact assessment. Where existing information is inadequate, the collection of new information and data may be required before decision-making. Long-term research or monitoring may also be necessary to correctly understand the effects of management actions on natural resources whose function and significance are not clearly understood.
(See Decision-making Requirements to Identify and Avoid Impairments 1.4.7; General Management Planning 2.3.1; Land Protection Plans 3.3; NPS-conducted or -sponsored Inventory, Monitoring, and Research Studies 4.2.1; Cultural Landscapes 22.214.171.124; Chapter 8: Use of the Parks; Chapter 9: Park Facilities. Also see 516 DM 4.16—Adaptive Management)
Information about natural resources that is collected and developed will be maintained for as long as it is possible to do so. All forms of information collected through inventorying, monitoring, research, assessment, traditional knowledge, and management actions will be managed to professional NPS archival and library standards.
Most information about park natural resources will be made broadly available to park employees, the scientific community, and the public. Pursuant to provisions of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act, the Service will withhold information about the nature and specific location of sensitive park natural resources—specifically caves and mineral, paleontological, endangered, threatened, rare, or commercially valuable resources— unless the Service determines, in writing, that disclosure of the information would further the purposes of the park; would not create an unreasonable risk of harm, theft, or destruction of resources; and would be consistent with other applicable laws.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Park Service may be able to withhold sensitive natural resource data and information that is used in ongoing law enforcement investigations or subject to national security clearance classification. The Service may be able to withhold data provided through interim project reporting, pending the completion of relevant projects and the receipt of final project reports, as specified in approved scientific research and collecting permits and associated research proposals if the release of information will cause foreseeable harm to the NPS interests. Information that is made available to the public (that is, not withheld under the Freedom of Information Act or other laws) will remain searchable and accessible under the professional and NPS archival and library standards.
(See Information Confidentiality 126.96.36.199; Confidentiality 5.2.3; Interpretive and Educational Programs 7.1. Also see Director’s Order #66: FOIA and Protected Resource Information; Museum Handbook 24-Part II)
Planning, environmental evaluation, and civic engagement regarding management actions that may affect the natural resources of the national park system are essential for carrying out the Service’s responsibilities to present and future generations. The Service will ensure that the environmental costs and benefits of proposed operations, development, and resource management are fully and openly evaluated before taking actions that may impact the natural resources of parks. This evaluation must include appropriate participation by the public; the application of scholarly, scientific, and technical information in the planning, evaluation, and decision-making processes; the use of NPS knowledge and expertise through interdisciplinary teams and processes; and the full incorporation of mitigation measures, pollution prevention techniques, and other principles of sustainable park management.
Every environmental assessment and environmental impact statement produced by the Service will include an analysis of whether the impacts of a proposed activity constitute impairment of park natural resources and values. Every finding of no significant impact, record of decision, and National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 memorandum of agreement signed by the Park Service will contain a discrete certification that the impacts of the proposed activity will not impair park natural resources and values.
The Service will pursue opportunities to improve natural resource management within parks and across administrative boundaries by pursuing cooperative conservation with public agencies, appropriate representatives of American Indian tribes and other traditionally associated peoples, and private landowners in accordance with Executive Order 13352 (Facilitation of Cooperative Conservation). The Service recognizes that cooperation with other land and resource managers can accomplish ecosystem stability and other resource management objectives when the best efforts of a single manager might fail. Therefore, the Service will develop agreements with federal, tribal, state, and local governments and organizations; foreign governments and organizations; and private landowners, when appropriate, to coordinate plant, animal, water, and other natural resource management activities in ways that maintain and protect park resources and values. Such cooperation may include park restoration activities, research on park natural resources, and the management of species harvested in parks. Cooperation also may involve coordinating management activities in two or more separate areas, integrating management practices to reduce conflicts, coordinating research, sharing data and expertise, exchanging native biological resources for species management or ecosystem restoration purposes, establishing native wildlife corridors, and providing essential habitats adjacent to or across park boundaries.
In addition, the Service will seek the cooperation of others in minimizing the impacts of influences originating outside parks by controlling noise and artificial lighting, maintaining water quality and quantity, eliminating toxic substances, preserving scenic views, improving air quality, preserving wetlands, protecting threatened or endangered species, eliminating exotic species, managing the use of pesticides, protecting shoreline processes, managing fires, managing boundary influences, and using other means of preserving and protecting natural resources.
The Service will reestablish natural functions and processes in parks unless otherwise directed by Congress. Landscapes disturbed by natural phenomena, such as landslides, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires, will be allowed to recover naturally unless manipulation is necessary to protect other park resources, developments, or employee and public safety. Impacts on natural systems resulting from human disturbances include the introduction of exotic species; the contamination of air, water, and soil; changes to hydrologic patterns and sediment transport; the acceleration of erosion and sedimentation; and the disruption of natural processes. The Service will seek to return such disturbed areas to the natural conditions and processes characteristic of the ecological zone in which the damaged resources are situated. The Service will use the best available technology, within available resources, to restore the biological and physical components of these systems, accelerating both their recovery and the recovery of landscape and biological community structure and function. Efforts may include, for example
· removal of exotic species
· removal of contaminants and nonhistoric structures or facilities
· restoration of abandoned mineral lands, abandoned or unauthorized roads, areas overgrazed by domestic animals, or disrupted natural waterways and/or shoreline processes
· restoration of areas disturbed by NPS administrative, management, or development activities (such as hazard tree removal, construction, or sand and gravel extraction) or by public use
· restoration of natural soundscapes
· restoration of native plants and animals
· restoration of natural visibility
When park development/facilities are damaged or destroyed and replacement is necessary, the development will be replaced or relocated to promote the restoration of natural resources and processes.
(See Decision-making Requirements to Identify and Avoid Impairments 1.4.7; Restoration of Native Plant and Animal Species 188.8.131.52; Management of Natural Landscapes 184.108.40.206; Siting Facilities to Avoid Natural Hazards 220.127.116.11. Also see Director’s Order #18: Wildland Fire Management)
The Service will use all legal authorities that are available to protect and restore natural resources and the environmental benefits they provide when actions of another party cause the destruction or loss of, or injury to, park resources or values. As a first step, damage assessments provide the basis for determining the restoration and compensation needs that address the public’s loss and are a key milestone toward the ultimate goal, which is restoration, replacement, and/or reclamation of resources for the American public. Pursuant to applicable provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980; the Oil Pollution Act of 1990; the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (as amended by the Clean Water Act of 1977); and the National Park System Resource Protection Act, the Service will
· determine the injury caused to natural resources, assess all appropriate damages, and monitor damages;
· seek to recover all appropriate costs associated with responses to such actions and the costs of assessing resource damages, including the direct and indirect costs of response, restoration, and monitoring activities; and
· use all sums recovered in compensation for resource injuries to restore, replace, or acquire the equivalent of the resources that were the subject of the action.
The Service will encourage appropriately reviewed natural resource studies whenever such studies are consistent with applicable laws and policies. These studies support the NPS mission by providing the Service, the scientific community, and the public with an understanding of park resources, processes, values, and uses that will be cumulative and constantly refined. This approach will provide a scientific and scholarly basis for park planning, development, operations, management, education, and interpretive activities.
As used here, the term studies means short- or long-term scientific or scholarly investigations or educational activities that may involve natural resource surveys, inventories, monitoring, and research, including data and specimen collection. Studies include projects conducted by researchers and scholars in universities, foundations and other institutions; tribal colleges and organizations; other federal, tribal, and state agencies; and NPS staff. The data and information acquired through studies conducted in parks will be made publicly available, consistent with section 4.1.2, and will be obtained and disseminated in accordance with the standards found in Director’s Order #11B: Ensuring Quality of Information Disseminated by the NPS.
The Service will promote cooperative relationships with educational and scientific institutions and qualified individuals when that relationship can assist the Service in obtaining information and when the opportunity for research and study in the parks offers the cooperators a significant benefit to their programs. NPS facilities and assistance may be made available to qualified cooperators who are conducting NPS-authorized studies.
Studies in parks will be preceded by (1) an approved scope of work, proposal, or other detailed written description of the work to be performed; and (2) a written statement of environmental and cultural resource compliance appropriate to the proposed methodology and study site. All studies in parks will employ nondestructive methods to the maximum extent feasible with respect to resource protection, research methodology, and the scientific and management value of the information and collections to be obtained. Although studies involving physical impacts to park resources or the removal of objects or specimens may be permitted, studies and collecting activities that will lead to the impairment of park resources and values are prohibited.
Scientific natural resource collecting activities are governed by 36 CFR 2.5. A very limited number of other types of natural resource collecting are governed by 36 CFR 2.1. In most cases, only small quantities may be collected. The repeated collection of materials to ensure a continuing source of supply for research or propagation is prohibited unless the proposed activity clearly requires repeated collection, as might be the case with a monitoring or park restoration program.
(See Decision-making Requirements to Identify and Avoid Impairments 1.4.7; Managing Information 1.9.2; Research 5.1; Resource Access and Use 18.104.22.168.1; Collecting Natural Products 8.8; Consumptive Uses 8.9; Social Science Studies 8.11. Also see Director’s Order #28B: Ethnography Program; Director’s Order #74: Studies and Collecting; Director’s Order #78: Social Science)
The Service will
· identify, acquire, and interpret needed inventory, monitoring, and research, including applicable traditional knowledge, to obtain information and data that will help park managers accomplish park management objectives provided for in law and planning documents;
· define, assemble, and synthesize comprehensive baseline inventory data describing the natural resources under NPS stewardship, and identify the processes that influence those resources;
· use qualitative and quantitative techniques to monitor key aspects of resources and processes at regular intervals;
· analyze the resulting information to detect or predict changes (including interrelationships with visitor carrying capacities) that may require management intervention and provide reference points for comparison with other environments and time frames; and
· use the resulting information to maintain—and where necessary restore—the integrity of natural systems.
The Service may support studies to (among other things)
· ensure a systematic, current, and fully adequate park information base;
· provide a sound basis for policy, guidelines, and management actions;
· develop effective strategies, methods, and technologies to (1) restore disturbed resources, and (2) predict, avoid, or minimize adverse impacts on natural and cultural resources and on visitors and related activities;
· ensure that plans and actions reflect contemporary knowledge about the natural and cultural context of special natural areas, cultural landscapes, and natural resources having traditional cultural meaning and value to associated human groups;
· determine the causes of natural resource management problems and identify alternative strategies for potentially resolving them;
· understand the ceremonial and traditional resource management practices of Native Americans, subsistence uses by rural Alaska residents, and traditional uses by groups with demonstrated ties to particular natural resources of parks;
· further understand park ecosystems and related human social systems, including visitors and gateway communities, and document their components, condition, and significance; and
· ensure that the interpretation of the parks’ natural resources and issues reflects current standards of scholarship relating to the history, science, and condition of the resources.
Superintendents may authorize NPS staff to carry out routine inventory, monitoring, study, and related duties without requiring an NPS scientific research and collecting permit. With or without an NPS permit, staff will comply appropriately with professional standards and with general and park-specific research and collecting permit conditions. All research and data and specimen collection conducted by NPS employees will be appropriately documented and carried out in accordance with all laws, regulations, policies, and professional standards pertaining to survey, inventory, monitoring, and research. NPS staff will be expected to make their findings available to the public, such as by publication in professional journals or presentation in interpretive programs.
Park inventory, monitoring, and research needs and specific research objectives will be identified in the appropriate management plans for each park, or in park, regional, or Service-wide program plans.
(See Decision-making Requirements to Identify and Avoid Impairments 1.4.7; Natural Resource Information 4.1.2; Restoration of Natural Systems 4.1.5; Weather and Climate 4.7.2; Miscellaneous Management Facilities 9.4.5)
Non-NPS studies conducted in parks are not required to address specifically identified NPS management issues or information needs. However, these studies, including data and specimen collection, require an NPS scientific research and collecting permit. The studies must conform to NPS policies and guidelines regarding the collection and publication of data, the conduct of studies, wilderness restrictions, and park-specific requirements identified in the terms and conditions of the permit. Projects will be administered and conducted only by fully qualified personnel and conform to current standards of scholarship. NPS scientific research and collecting permits may include requirements that permittees provide for parks, within agreed-upon time frames, copies of appropriate field notes, cataloging, and other data; information about the data; progress reports; interim and final reports; and publications derived from the permitted activities.
Natural resource collections include non-living and living specimens. Guidance for collecting and managing specimens and associated field records can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR 2.5) and NPS guidance documents, including the museum handbook. Nonliving specimens and their associated field records are managed as museum collections. Living collections will be managed in accordance with the provisions of a park’s general management plan, the Animal Welfare Act, and other appropriate requirements.
Field data, objects, specimens, and features obtained for preservation during inventory, monitoring, research, and study projects, together with associated records and reports, will be managed over the long term within the museum collection. Specimens that are not authorized for consumptive analysis remain federal property and will be labeled and cataloged into the NPS cataloging system (ANCS+, or its successor) in accordance with applicable regulations (36 CFR 2.5).
(See Paleontological Resources and Their Contexts 22.214.171.124; Collecting Natural Products 8.8; Consumptive Uses 8.9; Natural and Cultural Studies, Research, and Collection Activities 8.10; Social Science Studies 8.11. Also see Director’s Order #24: NPS Museum Collections Management)
Extractive use of park resources for commercial purposes is prohibited except when specifically authorized by law or in the exercise of valid existing rights.
The results of research conducted on any material originating as a research specimen collected under an NPS scientific research and collecting permit (including progeny, replicates, or derivatives) may be used only for scientific purposes and not for commercial purposes without supplemental written authorization from the Park Service. The sale of collected research specimens from the permitted collector to third parties is prohibited; these research specimens remain federal property. Specimens and any material originating as a specimen may be loaned for scientific purposes related to commercial use in accordance with the terms of applicable written authorization from the Park Service.
Similarly, the results of other research conducted under an NPS scientific research and collecting permit that does not involve the collection of specimens may be used for scientific purposes only and may not be used for commercial purposes without supplemental written authorization.
(Also see Director’s Order #74: Studies and Collecting)
The Park Service recognizes that special designations apply to parts or all of some parks to highlight the additional management considerations that those designated areas warrant. These designations include research natural area, experimental research area, wilderness area, national wild and scenic river, national natural landmark, biosphere reserve, and world heritage listing. These designations do not reduce the Service’s authority for managing the parks, although in some cases they may create additional management requirements or considerations.
Research natural areas contain prime examples of natural resources and processes, including significant genetic resources that have value for long-term observational studies or as control areas for manipulative research taking place outside the parks. Superintendents recommend areas of parks to their regional director, who is authorized to designate them as research natural areas. Superintendents cooperate with other federal land managers in identifying park sites for designation and planning research and educational activities for this interagency program.
Activities in research natural areas generally will be restricted to nonmanipulative research, education, and other activities that will not detract from an area’s research values.
Experimental research areas are specific tracts that are set aside and managed for approved manipulative research. Manipulative research is defined as research in which conscious alteration of existing conditions is part of the experiment. The limited situations that may warrant establishment of experimental research areas are identified in Natural Resources Reference Manual 77. Superintendents may recommend areas of the park to their regional director, who is authorized to designate them as experimental research areas.
Parks containing one or more river segments listed in the NPS National Rivers Inventory, or that have characteristics that might make them eligible for the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, will comply with section 5(d)(1) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (16 USC 1276(d)(1)), which instructs each federal agency to assess whether those rivers are suitable for inclusion in the system. The assessments, and any resulting management requirements, may be incorporated into a park’s general management plan or other management plan. No management actions may be taken that could adversely affect the values that qualify a river for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
Park sites that are among the best examples of a type of biotic community or geological feature in a park’s physiographic province may be nominated to the Secretary of the Interior for inclusion in the National Registry of Natural Landmarks. As the agency responsible for maintaining the registry, the Park Service has developed criteria for eligibility (36 CFR Part 62).
Biosphere reserves are sites that are part of a worldwide network of natural reserves recognized for their roles in conserving genetic resources; facilitating long-term research and monitoring; and encouraging education, training, and the demonstration of sustainable resource use. A biosphere reserve is usually representative of a biogeographic province.
With the approval of the NPS Director, parks
may be nominated for recognition as biosphere reserves, or as constituents of
biosphere reserves. Specific guidance for recognition is provided by the United
States Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme based on the general guidance of the
United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Working within the Man and Biosphere Programme, the Park Service may assist in
determining the suitability and feasibility of including parks in
The designation of park lands as biosphere reserves or constituents of biosphere reserves does not alter the purposes for which the parks were established, change the management requirements, or reduce NPS jurisdiction over parks. To the extent practicable, superintendents of parks that are recognized as biosphere reserves will incorporate biosphere reserve objectives into general management plans, implementation plans, action plans, and park interpretive programs. Superintendents will pursue opportunities to use the biosphere reserve designation as a framework for local, regional, and international cooperation.
containing natural features believed to possess outstanding universal value to
humanity may qualify for placement on the World Heritage List under criteria described in
the World Heritage Committee Operational
Guidelines and in accordance with the World Heritage Convention. Before they can be nominated, all such
properties must be assessed according to World Heritage criteria, and before
Any park superintendent who believes that
part or all of the park they manage should be considered for inscription on the
World Heritage List must consult with the NPS Office of International Affairs,
the NPS Director, and the Department of the Interior before proceeding.
Once a property is placed on the World Heritage List, the Park Service will recognize the designation in public information and interpretive programs. Where appropriate, superintendents should use the park’s world heritage status to promote sustainable tourism (tourism that does not adversely impact park resources and values) and the preservation of the world’s natural and cultural heritage. Placement on the World Heritage List will not alter the purposes for which a park was established, or its management requirements, or reduce NPS jurisdiction over the park.
The National Park Service will maintain as parts of the natural ecosystems of parks all plants and animals native to park ecosystems. The term “plants and animals” refers to all five of the commonly recognized kingdoms of living things and includes such groups as flowering plants, ferns, mosses, lichens, algae, fungi, bacteria, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, insects, worms, crustaceans, and microscopic plants or animals. The Service will successfully maintain native plants and animals by
· preserving and restoring the natural abundances, diversities, dynamics, distributions, habitats, and behaviors of native plant and animal populations and the communities and ecosystems in which they occur;
· restoring native plant and animal populations in parks when they have been extirpated by past human-caused actions; and
· minimizing human impacts on native plants, animals, populations, communities, and ecosystems, and the processes that sustain them.
The individual plants and animals found in parks are genetically parts of species populations that may extend across both park and nonpark lands. As local populations within a group of populations naturally fluctuate in size, they become vulnerable to extirpation during periods when their numbers are low. The periodic disappearance of local populations is common in some species, and the regional persistence of these species depends upon the natural recolonization of suitable habitat by individuals from the remaining local populations. Thus, providing for the persistence of a species in a park may require maintaining a number of local populations, often both within and outside the park.
In addition, some populations of vertebrate
and invertebrate animals, such as bats, caribou, warblers, marine turtles,
frogs, salmon, whales, and butterflies, migrate at regular intervals into and
out of parks. For these migratory populations, the parks provide only one of
the several major habitats they need, and survival of the species in parks also
depends on the existence and quality of habitats outside the parks, including
in many cases outside the
In addition to maintaining all native plant and animal species and their habitats inside parks, the Service will work with other land managers to encourage the conservation of the populations and habitats of these species outside parks whenever possible. To meet its commitments for maintaining native species in parks, the Service will cooperate with states, tribal governments, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries, and other countries, as appropriate, to
· participate in local and regional scientific and planning efforts, identify ranges of populations of native plants and animals, and develop cooperative strategies for maintaining or restoring these populations in the parks;
· suggest mutually beneficial harvest regulations for lands and waters outside the parks for populations that extend across park boundaries, such as resident deer or fishes; for short-distance seasonal migrant populations, such as elk or fishes; or for long-distance migrant populations, such as salmon;
· develop data, through monitoring, for use in plant and animal management programs (such as local land management decision-making for assessing resident plant and animal population trends and in international management negotiations for such far-ranging seasonal migrants as geese, whales, and marine turtles);
· present information about species life cycles, ranges, and population dynamics in park interpretive programs for use in increasing public awareness of management needs for all species, both resident and migrant, that occur in parks; and
· prevent the introduction of exotic species into units of the national park system, and remove, when possible, or otherwise contain individuals or populations of these species that have already become established in parks.
The Service will strive to protect the full range of genetic types (genotypes) of native plant and animal populations in the parks by perpetuating natural evolutionary processes and minimizing human interference with evolving genetic diversity.
The restoration of native plants and animals will be accomplished using organisms taken from populations as closely related genetically and ecologically as possible to park populations, preferably from similar habitats in adjacent or local areas. Deviations from this general policy may be made where the management goal is to increase the variability of the park gene pool to mitigate past, human-induced loss of genetic variability. Actions to transplant organisms for purposes of restoring genetic variability through gene flow between native breeding populations will be preceded by an assessment of the genetic compatibility of the populations.
The need to maintain appropriate levels of genetic diversity will guide decisions on what actions to take to manage isolated populations of species or to enhance the recovery of populations of rare, threatened, or endangered species. All resource management actions involving planting or relocating species, subspecies, or varieties will be guided by detailed knowledge of site ecological histories and knowledge of local adaptations, ranges, and habitat requirements.
When native plants or animals are removed for any reason—such as hunting, fishing, pest management, or culling to reduce unnatural population conditions resulting from human activities—the Service will maintain the appropriate levels of natural genetic diversity.
Native species are defined as all species that have occurred, now occur, or may occur as a result of natural processes on lands designated as units of the national park system. Native species in a place are evolving in concert with each other. Exotic species are those species that occupy or could occupy park lands directly or indirectly as the result of deliberate or accidental human activities. Exotic species are also commonly referred to as nonnative, alien, or invasive species. Because an exotic species did not evolve in concert with the species native to the place, the exotic species is not a natural component of the natural ecosystem at that place. Genetically modified organisms exist solely due to human activities and therefore are managed as exotic species in parks.
Whenever possible, natural processes will be relied upon to maintain native plant and animal species and influence natural fluctuations in populations of these species. The Service may intervene to manage populations or individuals of native species only when such intervention will not cause unacceptable impacts to the populations of the species or to other components and processes of the ecosystems that support them. The second is that at least one of the following conditions exists:
· Management is necessary
o because a population occurs in an unnaturally high or low concentration as a result of human influences (such as loss of seasonal habitat, the extirpation of predators, the creation of highly productive habitat through agriculture or urban landscapes) and it is not possible to mitigate the effects of the human influences;
o to protect specific cultural resources of parks;
o to accommodate intensive development in portions of parks appropriate for and dedicated to such development;
o to protect rare, threatened, or endangered species;
o to protect human health as advised by the U. S. Public Health Service (which includes the Centers for Disease Control and the NPS public health service program);
o to protect property when it is not possible to change the pattern of human activities; or
o to maintain human safety when it is not possible to change the pattern of human activities.
· Removal of individuals or parts thereof
o is part of an NPS research project described in an approved management plan, or is part
o of research being conducted by others who have been issued a scientific research and collecting permit;
o is done to provide plants or animals for restoring native populations in parks or cooperating areas without diminishing the viability of the park populations from which the individuals are taken; or
o meets specific park management objectives.
In planning and implementing plant and animal population management actions, the Service will follow established planning procedures, including provisions for public review and comment. The Service will consult, as appropriate, with other federal land-management agencies, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the NOAA Fisheries, state wildlife management agencies, other appropriate state agencies, tribal governments, and others. Such consultation will address (1) the management of selected animal populations, (2) research involving the taking of animal species of interest to these agencies, and (3) cooperative studies and plans dealing with the public hunting and fishing of animal populations that occur across park boundaries.
The Service’s cooperative conservation efforts concerning fish and wildlife management will be consistent with departmental policy articulated at 43 CFR Part 24. This departmental policy recognizes the broad authorities and responsibilities of federal and state agencies with regard to the management of the nation’s fish and wildlife resources; this policy also promotes cooperative management relationships among these agencies. In particular, the policy calls on the Service to consult with state agencies on certain fish and wildlife management actions and encourages the execution of memoranda of understanding as appropriate to ensure the conduct of programs that meet mutual objectives as long as they do not conflict with federal law or regulation.
The Service will assess the results of managing plant and animal populations by conducting follow-up monitoring or other studies to determine the impacts of the management methods on nontargeted and targeted components of the ecosystem.
Whenever the Service removes native plants or animals, manages plant or animal populations to reduce their sizes, or allows others to remove plants or animals for an authorized purpose, the Service will seek to ensure that such removals will not cause unacceptable impacts on native resources, natural processes, or other park resources. Whenever the Service identifies a possible need for reducing the size of a park plant or animal population, the Service will use scientifically valid resource information obtained through consultation with technical experts, literature review, inventory, monitoring, or research to evaluate the identified need for population management; the Service will document it in the appropriate park management plan.
In addition, the Service will manage such removals to prevent them from interfering broadly with
· natural habitats, natural abundances, and natural distributions of native species and natural processes
· rare, threatened, and endangered plant or animal species or their critical habitats
· scientific study, interpretation, environmental education, appreciation of wildlife, or other public benefits
· opportunities to restore depressed populations of native species
· breeding or spawning grounds of native species
Where the need to reduce animal populations may be due to persistent human/animal conflicts, the Service will determine whether or not it can eliminate or mitigate the conflicts by modifying or curtailing the conflicting visitor use or other human activities. Where visitor use or other human activities cannot be modified or curtailed, the Service may directly reduce the animal population by using several animal population management techniques, either separately or together. These techniques include relocation, public hunting on lands outside a park or where legislatively authorized within a park, habitat management, predator restoration, reproductive
intervention, and destruction of animals by NPS personnel or their authorized agents. Where animal populations are reduced, destroyed animals may be left in natural areas of the park to decompose unless there are human safety concerns regarding attraction of potentially harmful scavengers to populated sites or trails or other human health and sanitary concerns associated with decomposition. Live animals or carcasses may be removed from parks according to the provisions of applicable laws, agreements, and regulations, including the granting of preference to Native Americans.
The Service will strive to restore extirpated native plant and animal species to parks whenever all of the following criteria are met:
· Adequate habitat to support the species either exists or can reasonably be restored in the park and if necessary also on adjacent public lands and waters; once a natural population level is achieved, the population can be self-perpetuating.
· The species does not, based on an effective management plan, pose a serious threat to the safety of people in parks, park resources, or persons or property within or outside park boundaries.
· The genetic type used in restoration most nearly approximates the extirpated genetic type.
· The species disappeared or was substantially diminished as a direct or indirect result of human-induced change to the species population or to the ecosystem.
· Potential impacts upon park management and use have been carefully considered.
Programs to restore animal species may include confining animals in small field enclosures during restoration efforts, but only until the animals have become accustomed to the new area or they have become sufficiently established to minimize threats from predators, poaching, disease, or other factors. Programs to restore animal species may also include confining animals in cages for captive breeding to increase the number of offspring for release to the wild or to manage the population’s gene pool. Programs to restore plant species may include propagating plants in greenhouses, gardens, or other confined areas to develop propagation materials (propagules) for restoration efforts or to manage a population’s gene pool.
The Service will survey for, protect, and strive to recover all species native to national park system units that are listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Service will fully meet its obligations under the NPS Organic Act and the Endangered Species Act to both proactively conserve listed species and prevent detrimental effects on these species. To meet these obligations, the Service will
· cooperate with both the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the NOAA Fisheries to ensure that NPS actions comply with both the written requirements and the spirit of the Endangered Species Act. This cooperation should include the full range of activities associated with the Endangered Species Act, including consultation, conferencing, informal discussions, and securing all necessary scientific and/or recovery permits;
· undertake active management programs to inventory, monitor, restore, and maintain listed species’ habitats; control detrimental nonnative species; manage detrimental visitor access; and reestablish extirpated populations as necessary to maintain the species and the habitats upon which they depend;
· manage designated critical habitat, essential habitat, and recovery areas to maintain and enhance their value for the recovery of threatened and endangered species;
· cooperate with other agencies to ensure that the delineation of critical habitat, essential habitat, and/or recovery areas on park-managed lands provides needed conservation benefits to the total recovery efforts being conducted by all the participating agencies;
· participate in the recovery planning process, including the provision of members on recovery teams and recovery implementation teams where appropriate;
· cooperate with other agencies, states, and private entities to promote candidate conservation agreements aimed at precluding the need to list species; and
· conduct actions and allocate funding to address endangered, threatened, proposed, and candidate species.
The National Park Service will inventory, monitor, and manage state and locally listed species in a manner similar to its treatment of federally listed species to the greatest extent possible. In addition, the Service will inventory other native species that are of special management concern to parks (such as rare, declining, sensitive, or unique species and their habitats) and will manage them to maintain their natural distribution and abundance.
The Service will determine all management actions for the protection and perpetuation of federally, state, or locally listed species through the park management planning process, and will include consultation with lead federal and state agencies as appropriate.
Natural landscapes disturbed by natural phenomena, such as landslides, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires, will be allowed to recover naturally unless manipulation is necessary to (1) mitigate for excessive disturbance caused by past human effects, (2) preserve cultural and historic resources as appropriate based on park planning documents, or (3) protect park developments or the safety of people. Landscape and vegetation conditions altered by human activity may be manipulated where the park management plan provides for restoring the lands to a natural condition. Management activities to restore human-altered landscapes may include, but are not restricted to
· removing constructed features, restoring natural topographic gradients, and revegetating with native park species on acquired inholdings and on sites from which previous development is being removed;
· restoring natural processes and conditions to areas disturbed by human activities such as fire suppression;
· rehabilitating areas disturbed by visitor use or by the removal of hazard trees; and
· maintaining open areas and meadows in situations in which they were formerly maintained by natural processes that now are altered by human activities.
Landscape revegetation efforts will use seeds, cuttings, or transplants representing species and gene pools native to the ecological portion of the park in which the restoration project is occurring. Where a natural area has become so degraded that restoration with gene pools native to the park has proven unsuccessful, improved varieties or closely related native species may be used.
Landscape restoration efforts will use geological materials and soils obtained in accordance with geological and soil resource management policies. Landscape restoration efforts may use, on a temporary basis, appropriate soil fertilizers or other soil amendments so long as that use does not unacceptably alter the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of the soil and biological community and does not degrade surface or groundwaters.
In altered plant communities managed for a specified purpose, plantings will consist of species that are native to the park or that are historically appropriate for the period or event commemorated. Communities altered to maintain habitat for threatened or endangered species may only use native plants, and the manipulation of existing plants will be carried out to enhance the recovery of the threatened or endangered species or the recovery of the natural functioning of the plant and animal community that endangered species are a part of. Use of exotic plants must conform to exotic species policy. Use of nonnatural plantings in altered communities may be permitted under any of the following conditions:
· In localized, specific areas, screen plantings may be used to protect against the undesirable impacts of adjacent land uses provided that the plantings do not result in the invasion of exotic species.
· Where necessary to preserve and protect the desired condition of specific cultural resources and landscapes, plants and plant communities generally will be managed to reflect the character of the landscape that prevailed during the historic period. Efforts may be made to extend the lives of specimen trees dating from the historic period being commemorated. An individual tree or shrub known to be of historic value that is diseased beyond recovery and has become hazardous will be removed and may be replaced. While specimen trees or shrubs that need to be perpetuated are still healthy, their own progeny will be propagated from seeds or through vegetative reproduction, such as cuttings.
· Where cultivated crop plants may be needed for livestock or agricultural uses that are allowed as part of the cultural landscape, authorized by federal law, or retained as a property right, with rigorous review given to any proposal to introduce a genetically modified organism.
· Where needed for intensive development areas. Such plantings will use noninvasive native or nonnative historic species and materials to the maximum extent possible. Certain native species may be fostered for esthetic, interpretive, or educational purposes.
Exotic species may not be used to vegetate vista clearings in otherwise natural vegetation.
Limited, recurring use of soil fertilizers or other soil amendments may be allowed only as needed to maintain the desired condition of the altered plant community, and only where such use does not unacceptably alter the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of the soil and biological community or degrade surface or groundwaters.
Public harvesting of designated species of plants and animals, or their components, may be allowed in park units when
· hunting, trapping, subsistence use, or other harvesting is specifically authorized by statute or regulation and not subsequently prohibited by regulation;
· harvest of certain plant parts or unoccupied seashells for personal consumption or use is specifically authorized by the superintendent in accordance with 36 CFR 2.1(c)(1);
· recreational fishing is not specifically prohibited; or
· commercial fishing is specifically authorized by statute or regulation.
Where harvesting is allowed and subject to NPS control, the Service will allow harvesting only when (1) the monitoring requirement contained in section 4.4.2 and the criteria in section 126.96.36.199 above have been met, and (2) the Service has determined that the harvesting will not unacceptably impact park resources or natural processes, including the natural distributions, densities, age-class distributions, and behavior of
· harvested species
· native species that the harvested species use for any purpose, or
· native species that use the harvested species for any purpose
In consultation and cooperation, as appropriate, with individual state or tribal governments, the Service will manage harvesting programs and any associated habitat management programs intended to restore and maintain habitats supporting harvested plant or animal populations to conform with applicable federal and state regulations.
Habitat manipulation for harvested species may include the restoration of a disturbed area to its natural condition so it can become self-perpetuating, but this will not include the artificial manipulation of habitat to increase the numbers of a harvested species above its natural range in population levels.
The Service may encourage the intensive harvesting of exotic species in certain situations when needed to meet park management objectives.
The Service does not engage in activities to reduce the numbers of native species for the purpose of increasing the numbers of harvested species (i.e., predator control), nor does the Service permit others to do so on lands managed by the National Park Service.
The Service manages harvest to allow for self-sustaining populations of harvested species and does not engage in the stocking of plants or animals to increase harvest. In some special situations, the Service may stock native or exotic animals for recreational harvesting purposes, but only when such stocking will not unacceptably impact park natural resources or processes and when
· the stocking is of fish into constructed large reservoirs or other significantly altered large water bodies and the purpose is to provide for recreational fishing; or
· the intent for stocking is a treaty right or expressed in statute, other applicable law, or a House or Senate report accompanying a statute.
The Service will not stock waters that are naturally barren of harvested aquatic species.
Exotic species will not be allowed to displace native species if displacement can be prevented.
In general, new exotic species will not be introduced into parks. In rare situations, an exotic species may be introduced or maintained to meet specific, identified management needs when all feasible and prudent measures to minimize the risk of harm have been taken and it is
· a closely related race, subspecies, or hybrid of an extirpated native species; or
· an improved variety of a native species in situations in which the natural variety cannot survive current, human-altered environmental conditions; or
· used to control another, already established exotic species; or
· needed to meet the desired condition of a historic resource, but only where it is noninvasive and is prevented from being invasive by such means as cultivating (for plants), or tethering, herding, or pasturing (for animals). In such cases, the exotic species used must be known to be historically significant, to have existed in the park during the park’s period of historical significance, to be a contributing element to a cultural landscape, or to have been commonly used in the local area at that time; or
· an agricultural crop used to maintain the character of a cultural landscape, with rigorous review given to any proposal to introduce a genetically modified organism; or
· necessary to provide for intensive visitor use in developed areas and both of the following conditions exist:
o Available native species will not meet park management objectives.
o The exotic species is managed so it will not spread or become a pest on park or adjacent lands.
· a sterile, noninvasive plant that is used temporarily for erosion control; or
· directed by law or expressed legislative intent.
Domestic livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats, horses, mules, burros, reindeer, and llamas are exotic species that are maintained in some parks for commercial herding, pasturing, grazing, or trailing; for recreational use; or for administrative use for maintaining the cultural scene or supporting park operations. The policies applicable to the grazing of commercial domestic livestock are discussed in chapter 8, section 8.6.8. The Service will phase out the commercial grazing of livestock whenever possible and manage recreational and administrative uses of livestock to prevent those uses from unacceptably impacting park resources.
All exotic plant and animal species that are not maintained to meet an identified park purpose will be managed—up to and including eradication—if (1) control is prudent and feasible, and (2) the exotic species
· interferes with natural processes and the perpetuation of natural features, native species or natural habitats, or
· disrupts the genetic integrity of native species, or
· disrupts the accurate presentation of a cultural landscape, or
· damages cultural resources, or
· significantly hampers the management of park or adjacent lands, or
· poses a public health hazard as advised by the U. S. Public Health Service (which includes the Centers for Disease Control and the NPS public health program), or
· creates a hazard to public safety.
High priority will be given to managing exotic species that have, or potentially could have, a substantial impact on park resources, and that can reasonably be expected to be successfully controlled. Lower priority will be given to exotic species that have almost no impact on park resources or that probably cannot be successfully controlled. Where an exotic species cannot be successfully eliminated, managers will seek to contain the exotic species to prevent further spread or resource damage.
The decision to initiate management should be based on a determination that the species is exotic. For species determined to be exotic and where management appears to be feasible and effective, superintendents should (1) evaluate the species’ current or potential impact on park resources; (2) develop and implement exotic species management plans according to established planning procedures; (3) consult, as appropriate, with federal, tribal, local, and state agencies as well as other interested groups; and (4) invite public review and comment, where appropriate. Programs to manage exotic species will be designed to avoid causing significant damage to native species, natural ecological communities, natural ecological processes, cultural resources, and human health and safety. Considerations and techniques regarding removal of exotic species are similar to those used for native species (see 188.8.131.52 NPS Actions That Remove Native Plants and Animals).
(Also see Executive Order 13112 (Invasive Species))
All park employees, concessioners, contractors, permittees, licensees, and visitors on all lands managed or regulated by the National Park Service will comply with NPS pest management policies.
Pests are living organisms that interfere with the purposes or management objectives of a specific site within a park or that jeopardize human health or safety. Decisions concerning whether or not to manage a pest or pest population will be influenced by whether the pest is an exotic or a native species. Exotic pests will be managed according to both the policies in this section (4.4.5) and the exotic species policies in section 4.4.4. Native pests will be allowed to function unimpeded, except as noted below. Many fungi, insects, rodents, disease organisms, and other organisms that may be perceived as pests are, in fact, native organisms existing under natural conditions and are natural elements of the ecosystem. Also, native pests that were evident in pesticide-free times are traditional elements in park cultural settings.
The Service may control native pests to
· conserve threatened, rare, or endangered species, or unique specimens or communities;
· preserve, maintain, or restore the historical integrity of cultural resources;
· conserve and protect plants, animals, and facilities in developed areas;
· prevent outbreaks of a pest from invading uninfested areas outside the park;
· manage a human health hazard when advised to do so by the U. S. Public Health Service (which includes the Centers for Disease Control and the NPS public health program); or
· to otherwise protect against a significant threat to human safety.
The Service conducts an integrated pest management (IPM) program to reduce risks to the public, park resources, and the environment from pests and pest-related management strategies. Integrated pest management is a decision-making process that coordinates knowledge of pest biology, the environment, and available technology to prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage by cost-effective means while posing the least possible risk to people, resources, and the environment.
The Service and each park unit will use an
IPM approach to address pest issues. Proposed pest management activities must
be conducted according to the IPM process prescribed in Director’s Order #77-7:
Integrated Pest Management.
Under the Service’s IPM program, all pesticide use on lands managed or regulated by the Service, whether that use was authorized or unauthorized, must be reported annually.
A pesticide, as defined by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, is any substance or mixture that is used in any manner to destroy, repel, or control the growth of any viral, microbial, plant, or animal pest. Except as identified in the next paragraph, all prospective users of pesticides in parks must submit pesticide use requests, which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account environmental effects, cost and staffing, and other relevant considerations. The decision to incorporate a chemical, biological, or bioengineered pesticide into a management strategy will be based on a determination by a designated IPM specialist that it is necessary and other available options are either not acceptable or not feasible. Pesticide applications will only be performed by or under the supervision of certified or registered applicators licensed under the procedures of a federal or state certification system.
Insect repellents, bear deterrent sprays, and insecticides applied to persons or to livestock must conform to NPS policies and approval procedures, except that pesticides used under the following conditions do not require approval:
· cleansers and disinfectants used in restrooms and restaurants
· personal insect repellents, insecticides, and bear deterrent sprays that employees or park visitors personally obtain and use to meet personal needs
· insect repellents and insecticides applied to personally owned pets and pack and saddle stock
The application or release of any bio-control agent or bioengineered product relating to pest management activities must be reviewed by designated IPM specialists in accordance with Director’s Order #77-7 and conform to the exotic species policies in section 4.4.4.
Pesticides must not be stockpiled. No pesticides may be purchased unless they are authorized and expected to be used within one year from the date of purchase. Pesticide storage, transport, and disposal will comply with procedures established by (1) the Environmental Protection Agency; (2) the individual states in which parks are located; and (3) Director’s Order #13B: Solid and Hazardous Waste Management, Director’s Order #77-1: Wetland Protection, and Director’s Order 77-7: Integrated Pest Management.
Naturally ignited fire, including the smoke it produces, is part of many of the natural systems that are being sustained in parks. Such natural systems contain plant and animal communities that are characterized as fire-adapted or fire-dependent. They require periodic episodes of fire to retain their ecological integrity and, in the human-caused absence of fire, they can experience undesirable impacts that diminish their integrity—such as unnatural successional trends, loss of habitat for fire-adapted plant and animal species, or vulnerability to unnaturally intense wildland fire. Other park natural systems are characterized by a natural absence or very low frequency of fire. These systems are at risk of losing their ecological integrity when the natural fire regime is subjected to human interference.
Fires that burn natural or landscaped vegetation in parks are called wildland fires. Wildland fires occur from both natural and human sources of ignition. Wildland fires may contribute to or hinder the achievement of park management objectives, and management response to each wildland fire is determined by whether or not the fire occurs within prescription as identified in the park’s fire management plan. Wildland fire use is the application of an appropriate management response to naturally ignited wildland fires to accomplish specific resource management objectives in predefined areas outlined in fire management plans. Prescribed fires are the deliberate ignition of fires under prescribed circumstances to accomplish resource management objectives in predefined areas outlined in approved fire management plans.
Fire management consists of a program of activities designed to meet management objectives for protection of resource values, life, and property and, where appropriate, for using naturally ignited and human-ignited wildland fires as management tools. Park fire management programs designed specifically to meet park resource management objectives—including allowing fire to perform its natural role as much as practicable—will ensure that firefighter and public safety are not compromised.
Parks with vegetation capable of burning will prepare a fire management plan that is consistent with federal law and departmental fire management policies, and that includes addressing the need for adequate funding and staffing to support the planned fire management program. The plan will be designed to guide a program that
· responds to the park’s natural and cultural resource objectives;
· provides for safety considerations for park visitors, employees, and developed facilities;
· addresses potential impacts on public and private neighbors and their property adjacent to the park; and
· protects public health and safety.
The fire management plan will also include guidance on determining in which situations natural regeneration of a burned ecosystem is appropriate and when management actions are needed to restore, stabilize, or rehabilitate an area following wildland fire.
Environmental and cultural resource compliance documentation developed in support of the plan will consider the effects of fire on air quality, water quality, and human health and safety. It will also discuss the influence of fire, fire management, and the potential consequences and effects of fire exclusion on the ability of the park to meet its natural and cultural resource management objectives. Preparation of the plan and supporting documents will include collaboration with appropriate NPS natural and cultural resource offices, adjacent communities, interest groups, state and federal agencies, and tribal governments, with cooperating agency status granted when requested by eligible adjacent communities, state and federal agencies, and tribal governments.
All wildland fires will be effectively managed through application of the appropriate strategic and tactical management options as guided by the park’s fire management plan. These options will be selected after comprehensive consideration of the resource values to be protected, firefighter and public safety, costs, availability of firefighting resources, weather, and fuel conditions. Naturally ignited and human-ignited fires managed to achieve resource management and fuel treatment objectives, and the smoke they produce, will both be managed to comply with applicable local, state, and federal air quality regulations. Such fires will also include monitoring programs that record fire behavior, smoke behavior, fire decisions, and fire effects to provide information on whether specific objectives are met and to improve future fire management strategies. All parks will use a systematic decision-making process identified in their fire management plans or other documents to determine the most appropriate management strategies for all unplanned ignitions and for any naturally or management-ignited fires that are no longer meeting resource management objectives.
Parks lacking an approved fire management plan may not use resource benefits as a consideration influencing the selection of a suppression strategy; they must consider the resource impacts of suppression alternatives in their decisions. Until a plan is approved, parks must immediately suppress all wildland fires, taking into consideration park resources and values to be protected, firefighter and public safety, costs, availability of firefighting resources, weather, and fuel conditions. Parks will use methods to suppress wildland fires that minimize the impacts of the suppression action and the fire and are commensurate with effective control, firefighter and public safety, and resource values to be protected.
Burnable vegetation in many parks includes areas that are hazardous to specific park resources or human safety and property because of the presence of fuels that could carry wildland fire into special resource protection zones, developed areas, or outside park boundaries. The fire management plan will address strategies for preventing the accumulation of hazardous fuels in specific areas and for eliminating hazardous conditions that may have developed over time due to past fire suppression programs or ongoing development activities. These strategies will entail strategic planning, interdisciplinary coordination, and interorganizational collaboration as needed to provide appropriate treatment using adaptive management practices that range from site specific to landscape level. Although prescribed fire remains the preferred and most widely used NPS tool for managing the accumulation of hazardous fuels, the strategies will incorporate other activities, such as manual, mechanical, biological and, rarely, chemical treatments (applying integrated pest management principles), that may be appropriate in specific instances, as guided by NPS and DOI policies and legal requirements.
More details on wildland fire management, including interagency and Department of the Interior policies and requirements, are contained in Director’s Order #18: Wildland Fire Management.
Fire management or suppression activities conducted within wilderness, including the categories of designated, recommended, potential, proposed, and eligible areas, will be consistent with the “minimum requirement” concept identified in chapter 6 and Director’s Order #41: Wilderness Preservation and Management.
(See General Management Concepts 4.1; Partnerships 4.1.4; Restoration of Natural Systems 4.1.5; Air Resource Management 4.7; Fire Detection, Suppression, and Post-fire Rehabilitation and Protection 184.108.40.206; Fire Management 6.3.9; Visitor Safety 220.127.116.11; Structural Fire Protection and Suppression 9.1.8)
The Service will perpetuate surface waters and groundwaters as integral components of park aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
Water for the preservation and management of the national park system will be obtained and used in accordance with legal authorities. The Park Service will consider all available authorities on a case-by-case basis and will pursue those that are the most appropriate to protect water-related resources in parks. While preserving its legal remedies, the Service will work with state water administrators to protect park resources and participate in negotiations to seek the resolution of conflicts among multiple water claimants. Water essential for NPS needs will be purchased if it is not otherwise available. NPS consumptive use of water will be efficient and frugal, especially in water-scarce areas.
All rights to the use of water diverted from
or used on federal lands within the national park system by the
Park surface waters or groundwater will be withdrawn for consumptive use only when such withdrawal is absolutely necessary for the use and management of the park. All park water withdrawn for domestic or administrative uses will be returned to the park watershed system once it has been treated to a degree that ensures that there will be no impairment of park resources.
The Service may enter into contracts for the sale or lease of water to persons, states, or their political subdivisions that provide public accommodations or services for park visitors outside and near the park that have no reasonable alternative sources of water. The Service will authorize such contracts only if
· the transfer does not jeopardize or unduly interfere with the natural or cultural resources of the park, and
· the government's costs are fully recovered, and
· the contract is for a short term, true emergency.
The pollution of surface waters and groundwaters by both point and nonpoint sources can impair the natural functioning of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and diminish the utility of park waters for visitor use and enjoyment. The Service will determine the quality of park surface and groundwater resources and avoid, whenever possible, the pollution of park waters by human activities occurring within and outside the parks. The Service will
· work with appropriate governmental bodies to obtain the highest possible standards available under the Clean Water Act for the protection for park waters;
· take all necessary actions to maintain or restore the quality of surface waters and groundwaters within the parks consistent with the Clean Water Act and all other applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations; and
· enter into agreements with other agencies and governing bodies, as appropriate, to secure their cooperation in maintaining or restoring the quality of park water resources.
(See Pest Management 4.4.5; Soil Resource Management 18.104.22.168; Backcountry Use 22.214.171.124; Domestic and Feral Livestock 8.6.8; Mineral Exploration and Development 8.7; Water Supply Systems 126.96.36.199; Wastewater Treatment Systems 188.8.131.52; Waste Management and Contaminant Issues 9.1.6; Facilities for Water Recreation 184.108.40.206. Also see Director’s Order #83: Public Health)
In managing floodplains on park lands, the National Park Service will (1) manage for the preservation of floodplain values; (2) minimize potentially hazardous conditions associated with flooding; and (3) comply with the NPS Organic Act and all other federal laws and executive orders related to the management of activities in flood-prone areas, including Executive Order 11988 (Floodplain Management), the National Environmental Policy Act, applicable provisions of the Clean Water Act, and the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899. Specifically, the Service will
· protect, preserve, and restore the natural resources and functions of floodplains;
· avoid the long- and short-term environmental effects associated with the occupancy and modification of floodplains; and
· avoid direct and indirect support of floodplain development and actions that could adversely affect the natural resources and functions of floodplains or increase flood risks.
When it is not practicable to locate or relocate development or inappropriate human activities to a site outside and not affecting the floodplain, the Service will
· prepare and approve a statement of findings, in accordance with procedures described in Director’s Order 77-2 (Floodplain Management);
· use nonstructural measures as much as practicable to reduce hazards to human life and property while minimizing the impact to the natural resources of floodplains;
· ensure that structures and facilities are designed to be consistent with the intent of the standards and criteria of the National Flood Insurance Program (44 CFR Part 60).
The Service will manage wetlands in compliance with NPS mandates and the requirements of Executive Order 11990 (Protection of Wetlands), the Clean Water Act, the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899, and the procedures described in Director’s Order 77-1 (Wetland Protection). The Service will (1) provide leadership and take action to prevent the destruction, loss, or degradation of wetlands; (2) preserve and enhance the natural and beneficial values of wetlands; and (3) avoid direct and indirect support of new construction in wetlands unless there are no practicable alternatives and the proposed action includes all practicable measures to minimize harm to wetlands.
The Service will implement a “no net loss of wetlands” policy. In addition, the Service will strive to achieve a longer-term goal of net gain of wetlands across the national park system through restoration of previously degraded or destroyed wetlands
When natural wetland characteristics or functions have been degraded or lost due to previous or ongoing human actions, the Service will, to the extent practicable, restore them to predisturbance conditions.
The Service will conduct or obtain parkwide wetland inventories to help ensure proper planning with respect to the management and protection of wetland resources. Additional, more detailed wetland inventories will be conducted in areas that are proposed for development or are otherwise susceptible to degradation or loss due to human activities.
When practicable, the Service will not simply protect but will seek to enhance natural wetland values by using them for educational, recreational, scientific, and similar purposes that do not disrupt natural wetland functions.
For proposed new development or other new activities, plans, or programs that are either located in or otherwise could have adverse impacts on wetlands, the Service will employ the following sequence:
· Avoid adverse wetland impacts to the extent practicable.
· Minimize impacts that cannot be avoided.
· Compensate for remaining unavoidable adverse wetland impacts by restoring wetlands that have been previously destroyed or degraded.
Compensation for wetland impacts or losses will require that at least 1 acre of wetlands be restored for each acre destroyed or degraded.
Actions proposed by the Park Service that have the potential to cause adverse impacts on wetlands must be addressed in an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement. If the preferred alternative will result in adverse impacts on wetlands, a statement of findings must be prepared and approved in accordance with Director’s Order #77-1: Wetland Protection.
The Service will manage watersheds as complete hydrologic systems and minimize human- caused disturbance to the natural upland processes that deliver water, sediment, and woody debris to streams. These processes include runoff, erosion, and disturbance to vegetation and soil caused by fire, insects, meteorological events, and mass movements. The Service will manage streams to protect stream processes that create habitat features such as floodplains, riparian systems, woody debris accumulations, terraces, gravel bars, riffles, and pools. Stream processes include flooding, stream migration, and associated erosion and deposition.
The Service will protect watershed and stream features primarily by avoiding impacts on watershed and riparian vegetation and by allowing natural fluvial processes to proceed unimpeded. When conflicts between infrastructure (such as bridges and pipeline crossings) and stream processes are unavoidable, NPS managers will first consider relocating or redesigning facilities rather than manipulating streams. Where stream manipulation is unavoidable, managers will use techniques that are visually nonobtrusive and that protect natural processes to the greatest extent practicable.
4.6.4; Shorelines and Barrier
Islands; 220.127.116.11; Facility Planning
and Design 9.1.1. Also see “Unified Federal Policy for a Watershed Approach
The National Park Service has a responsibility to protect air quality under both the 1916 Organic Act and the Clean Air Act (CAA). Accordingly, the Service will seek to perpetuate the best possible air quality in parks to (1) preserve natural resources and systems; (2) preserve cultural resources; and (3) sustain visitor enjoyment, human health, and scenic vistas. Vegetation, visibility, water quality, wildlife, historic and prehistoric structures and objects, cultural landscapes, and most other elements of a park environment are sensitive to air pollution and are referred to as “air quality-related values.” The Service will actively promote and pursue measures to protect these values from the adverse impacts of air pollution. In cases of doubt as to the impacts of existing or potential air pollution on park resources, the Service will err on the side of protecting air quality and related values for future generations.
Superintendents will take actions consistent
with their affirmative responsibilities under the Clean
Air Act to protect air
quality-related values in Class I areas. Class I areas are national parks over
6, 000 acres and national wilderness areas over 5,000 acres that were in
The Clean Air Act also recognizes the importance of integral vistas, which are those views perceived from within Class I areas of a specific landmark or panorama located outside the boundary of the Class I area. Integral vistas have been identified by the Service and are listed in Natural Resources Reference Manual 77. There are no regulations requiring special protection of these integral vistas, but the Service will strive to protect these park-related resources through cooperative means.
Although the Clean Air Act gives the highest level of air quality protection to Class I areas, it provides many opportunities for the Service to participate in the development of pollution control programs to preserve, protect, and enhance the air quality of all units of the national park system. Regardless of Class I designation, the Service will take advantage of these opportunities.
Air resource management requirements will be integrated into NPS operations and planning, and all air pollution sources within parks—including prescribed fire management and visitor use activities—will comply with all federal, state, and local air quality regulations and permitting requirements. Superintendents will make reasonable efforts to notify visitors and employees when air pollution concentrations within an area exceed the national or state air quality standards established to protect public health. Furthermore, because the current and future quality of park air resources depends heavily on the actions of others, the Service will acquire the information needed to effectively participate in decision-making that affects park air quality. The Service will
· inventory the air quality-related values associated with each park;
· monitor and document the condition of air quality and related values;
· evaluate air pollution impacts and identify causes;
· minimize air quality pollution emissions associated with park operations, including the use of prescribed fire and visitor use activities; and
· ensure healthful indoor air quality in NPS facilities.
External programs needed to remedy existing and prevent future impacts on park resources and values from human-caused air pollution will be aggressively pursued by NPS participation in the development of federal, state, and local air pollution control plans and regulations. Permit applications for major new air pollution sources will be reviewed, and potential impacts will be assessed. If it is determined that any such new source might cause or contribute to an adverse impact on air quality-related values, the Park Service will recommend to the permitting authority that the construction permit be denied or modified to eliminate adverse impacts.
The public’s understanding of park air quality issues and the positive role and efforts of the Service toward improving the air quality in parks will be promoted through educational and interpretive programs.
(See Cooperative Conservation Beyond Park Boundaries 1.6; Fire Management 4.5; Environmental Monitoring and Control 18.104.22.168; Resource Issue Interpretation and Education 7.5.3; Visitor Safety and Emergency Response 8.2.5; Energy Management 9.1.7)
Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. Although national parks are intended to be naturally evolving places that conserve our natural and cultural heritage for generations to come, accelerated climate change may significantly alter park ecosystems. Thus, parks containing significant natural resources will gather and maintain baseline climatological data for reference.
Because any human attempt to modify weather has the potential to alter the natural conditions in parks, the Service will not conduct weather-modification activities, the Service will seek to prevent weather modification activities conducted by others from affecting a park’s weather, climate, and resources.
The Park Service will preserve and protect geologic resources as integral components of park natural systems. As used here, the term “geologic resources” includes both geologic features and geologic processes. The Service will (1) assess the impacts of natural processes and human activities on geologic resources; (2) maintain and restore the integrity of existing geologic resources; (3) integrate geologic resource management into Service operations and planning; and (4) interpret geologic resources for park visitors.
The Service will, except as identified below, allow natural geologic processes to proceed unimpeded. Geologic processes are the natural physical and chemical forces that act within natural systems and on human developments across a broad spectrum of space and time. Such processes include, but are not limited to, exfoliation, erosion and sedimentation, glaciation, karst processes, shoreline processes, and seismic and volcanic activity. Geologic processes will be addressed during planning and other management activities in an effort to reduce hazards that can threaten the safety of park visitors and staff and the long-term viability of the park infrastructure.
Intervention in natural geologic processes will be permitted only when
· directed by Congress;
· necessary in emergencies that threaten human life and property;
· there is no other feasible way to protect natural resources, park facilities, or historic properties;
· intervention is necessary to restore impacted conditions and processes, such as restoring habitat for threatened or endangered species.
Natural shoreline processes (such as erosion, deposition, dune formation, overwash, inlet formation, and shoreline migration) will be allowed to continue without interference.
Where human activities or structures have altered the nature or rate of natural shoreline processes, the Service will, in consultation with appropriate state and federal agencies, investigate alternatives for mitigating the effects of such activities or structures and for restoring natural conditions. The Service will comply with the provisions of Executive Order 11988 (Floodplain Management) and state coastal zone management plans prepared under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972.
Any shoreline manipulation measures proposed to protect cultural resources may be approved only after an analysis of the degree to which such measures would impact natural resources and processes, so that an informed decision can be made through an assessment of alternatives.
Where erosion control is required by law, or where present developments must be protected in the short run to achieve park management objectives, including high-density visitor use, the Service will use the most effective method feasible to achieve the natural resource management objectives while minimizing impacts outside the target area.
New developments will not be placed in areas subject to wave erosion or active shoreline processes unless (1) the development is required by law; or (2) the development is essential to meet the park’s purposes, as defined by its establishing act or proclamation, and
· no practicable alternative locations are available;
· the development will be reasonably assured of surviving during its planned life span without the need for shoreline control measures; and
· steps will be taken to minimize safety hazards and harm to property and natural resources.
The Service will manage karst terrain to maintain the inherent integrity of its water quality, spring flow, drainage patterns, and caves. Karst processes (the processes by which water dissolves soluble rock such as limestone) create areas typified by sinkholes, underground streams, caves, and springs.
Local and regional hydrological systems resulting from karst processes can be directly influenced by surface land use practices. If existing or proposed developments do or will significantly alter or adversely impact karst processes, these impacts will be mitigated. Where practicable, these developments will be placed where they will not have an effect on the karst system.
Naturally occurring geologic processes, which the Park Service is charged to preserve unimpaired, can be hazardous to humans and park infrastructure. These include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, mudflows, landslides, floods, shoreline processes, tsunamis, and avalanches. The Service will work closely with specialists at the U. S. Geological Survey and elsewhere, and with local, state, tribal, and federal disaster management officials, to devise effective geologic hazard identification and management strategies. Although the magnitude and timing of future geologic hazards are difficult to forecast, park managers will strive to understand future hazards and, once the hazards are understood, minimize their potential impact on visitors, staff, and developed areas. Before interfering with natural processes that are potentially hazardous, superintendents will consider other alternatives.
The Service will try to avoid placing new visitor and other facilities in geologically hazardous areas. Superintendents will examine the feasibility of phasing out, relocating, or providing alternative facilities for park developments subject to hazardous processes, consistent with other sections of these management policies.
The Service will protect geologic features from the unacceptable impacts of human activity while allowing natural processes to continue. The term “geologic features” describes the products and physical components of geologic processes. Examples of geologic features in parks include rocks, soils, and minerals; geysers and hot springs in geothermal systems; cave and karst systems; canyons and arches in erosional landscapes; sand dunes, moraines, and terraces in depositional landscapes; dramatic or unusual rock outcrops and formations; and paleontological and paleoecological resources such as fossilized plants or animals or their traces.
Paleontological resources, including both organic and mineralized remains in body or trace form, will be protected, preserved, and managed for public education, interpretation, and scientific research. The Service will study and manage paleontological resources in their paleoecological context (that is, in terms of the geologic data associated with a particular fossil that provides information about the ancient environment).
Superintendents will establish programs to inventory paleontological resources and systematically monitor for newly exposed fossils, especially in areas of rapid erosion. Scientifically significant resources will be protected by collection or by on-site protection and stabilization. The Service will encourage and help the academic community to conduct paleontological field research in accordance with the terms of a scientific research and collecting permit. Fossil localities and associated geologic data will be adequately documented when specimens are collected. Paleontological resources found in an archeological context are also subject to the policies for archeological resources. Paleontological specimens that are to be retained permanently are subject to the policies for museum objects.
The Service will take appropriate action to prevent damage to and unauthorized collection of fossils. To protect paleontological resources from harm, theft, or destruction, the Service will ensure, where necessary, that information about the nature and specific location of these resources remains confidential, in accordance with the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998.
Parks will exchange fossil specimens only with other museums and public institutions that are dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of natural heritage and qualified to manage museum collections. Fossils to be deaccessioned in an exchange must fall outside the park’s scope of collection statement. Systematically collected fossils in an NPS museum collection in compliance with 36 CFR 2.5 cannot be outside the scope of collection statement. Exchanges must follow deaccession procedures in the Museum Handbook, Part II, chapter 6.
The sale of original paleontological specimens is prohibited in parks.
The Service generally will avoid purchasing fossil specimens. Casts or replicas should be acquired instead. A park may purchase fossil specimens for the park museum collection only after making a written determination that
· the specimens are scientifically significant and accompanied by detailed locality data and pertinent contextual data;
· the specimens were legally removed from their site of origin, and all transfers of ownership have been legal;
· the preparation of the specimens meets professional standards;
· the alternatives for making these specimens available to science and the public are unlikely; and
· acquisition is consistent with the park’s enabling legislation and scope of collection statement, and acquisition will ensure the specimens’ availability in perpetuity for public education and scientific research.
All NPS construction projects in areas with potential paleontological resources must be preceded by a preconstruction surface assessment prior to disturbance. For any occurrences noted, or when the site may yield paleontological resources, the site will be avoided or the resources will, if necessary, be collected and properly cared for before construction begins. Areas with potential paleontological resources must also be monitored during construction projects.
As used here, the term “caves” includes karst (such as limestone and gypsum caves) and nonkarst caves (such as lava tubes, littoral caves, and talus caves). The Service will manage caves in accordance with approved cave management plans to perpetuate the natural systems associated with the caves, such as karst and other drainage patterns, air flows, mineral deposition, and plant and animal communities. Wilderness and cultural resources and values will also be protected.
Many caves or portions of caves contain fragile nonrenewable resources and have no natural restorative processes. In these cases, most impacts are cumulative and essentially permanent. As a result, no developments or uses, including those that allow for general public entry (such as pathways, lighting, and elevator shafts), will be allowed in, above, or adjacent to caves until it can be demonstrated that they will not unacceptably impact natural cave resources and conditions, including subsurface water movements, and that access will not result in unacceptable risks to public safety. Developments already in place above caves will be removed if they are impairing or threatening to impair natural conditions or resources.
Parks will manage the use of caves when such actions are required for the protection of cave resources or for human safety. Some caves or portions of caves may be managed exclusively for research, with access limited to permitted research personnel. In accordance with the Federal Cave Resource Protection Act of 1988, recreational use of undeveloped caves will be governed by a permit system, and cave use will be regulated or restricted if necessary to protect and preserve cave resources. Under 43 CFR Part 37 regulations for the act, all caves in the national park system are deemed to be significant. As further established by this act, specific locations of significant cave entrances may be kept confidential and exempted from FOIA requests.
Thermal resources, also known as geothermal
or hydrothermal systems, comprise a subsurface heat source, heat conduit rock
formations, and air and/or water that circulates through the formations and may
discharge at the surface. Such resources create features such as geysers,
Superintendents will strive to maintain the natural integrity of thermal systems, including the movement of air and/or water through the heated rock, cold water recharge, the proximity of the hot and warm water to the heat source, and the hydrostatic pressure and elevated temperature.
Superintendents will work to prevent unacceptable impacts on thermal resources caused by development. Such impacts include the loss of surface thermal features; land subsidence; an increase in seismic activity; the release of noxious gases; noise and surface disturbance from drilling or power plant construction; and the release of polluted water or brines. Because thermal systems may extend well beyond park boundaries, the Service will work closely with tribes and federal, state, local agencies to delineate the full extent of thermal resources and protect those that occur in parks. In protecting park thermal resources, superintendents should consider authorities available under the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970, as amended; state water rights; and mineral leasing laws.
As required by the Geothermal Steam Act, the Service will maintain a list of significant thermal features in park units. The criteria and procedures for designating significant thermal resources in parks are specified in the Geothermal Steam Act Amendments of 1988. In cooperation with the U. S. Geological Survey, the Service will conduct a monitoring program for the designated significant thermal features.
The Service will actively seek to understand and preserve the soil resources of parks, and to prevent, to the extent possible, the unnatural erosion, physical removal, or contamination of the soil or its contamination of other resources. Parks will obtain adequate soil surveys for the management of park resources. All soil surveys will follow National Cooperative Soil Survey Standards. Products will include soil maps, determinations of the physical and chemical characteristics of soils, and the interpretations needed to guide resource management and development decisions.
Management action will be taken by superintendents to prevent or at least minimize adverse, potentially irreversible impacts on soils. Soil conservation and soil amendment practices may be implemented to reduce impacts. Importation of off-site soil or soil amendments may be used to restore damaged sites. Off-site soil normally will be salvaged soil, not soil removed from pristine sites, unless the use of pristine site soil can be achieved without causing any overall ecosystem impairment. Before using any off-site materials, parks must develop a prescription and select the materials that will be needed to restore the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of original native soils without introducing any exotic species.
When soil excavation is an unavoidable part of an approved facility development project, the Service will minimize soil excavation, erosion, and off-site soil migration during and after the development activity.
When use of a soil fertilizer or other soil amendment is an unavoidable part of restoring a natural landscape or maintaining an altered plant community, the use will be guided by a written prescription. The prescription will be designed to ensure that such use of soil fertilizer or soil amendment does not unacceptably alter the physical, chemical, or biological characteristics of the soil, biological community, or surface or groundwaters.
Park natural soundscape resources encompass all the natural sounds that occur in parks, including the physical capacity for transmitting those natural sounds and the interrelationships among park natural sounds of different frequencies and volumes. Natural sounds occur within and beyond the range of sounds that humans can perceive, and they can be transmitted through air, water, or solid materials. The National Park Service will preserve, to the greatest extent possible, the natural soundscapes of parks.
Some natural sounds in the natural soundscape are also part of the biological or other physical resource components of the park. Examples of such natural sounds include
· sounds produced by birds, frogs, or katydids to define territories or aid in attracting mates
· sounds produced by bats or porpoises to locate prey or navigate
· sounds received by mice or deer to detect and avoid predators or other danger
· sounds produced by physical processes, such as wind in the trees, claps of thunder, or falling water.
The Service will restore to the natural condition wherever possible those park soundscapes that have become degraded by unnatural sounds (noise), and will protect natural soundscapes from unacceptable impacts.
Using appropriate management planning, superintendents will identify what levels and types of unnatural sound constitute acceptable impacts on park natural soundscapes. The frequencies, magnitudes, and durations of acceptable levels of unnatural sound will vary throughout a park, being generally greater in developed areas. In and adjacent to parks, the Service will monitor human activities that generate noise that adversely affects park soundscapes, including noise caused by mechanical or electronic devices. The Service will take action to prevent or minimize all noise that through frequency, magnitude, or duration adversely affects the natural soundscape or other park resources or values, or that exceeds levels that have been identified through monitoring as being acceptable to or appropriate for visitor uses at the sites being monitored.
(See General Management Concepts 4.1; Cultural Soundscape Management 22.214.171.124; Recreational Activities 8.2.2; Use of Motorized Equipment 8.2.3; Overflights and Aviation Uses 8.4. Also see 36 CFR 2.12: Audio Disturbances)
The Service will preserve, to the greatest extent possible, the natural lightscapes of parks, which are natural resources and values that exist in the absence of human-caused light. The absence of light in areas such as caves and at the bottom of deep bodies of water influences biological processes and the evolution of species, such as the blind cave fish. The phosphorescence of waves on dark nights helps hatchling sea turtles orient to the ocean. The stars, planets, and earth’s moon that are visible during clear nights influence humans and many other species of animals, such as birds that navigate by the stars or prey animals that reduce their activities during moonlit nights.
Improper outdoor lighting can impede the view and visitor enjoyment of a natural dark night sky. Recognizing the roles that light and dark periods and darkness play in natural resource processes and the evolution of species, the Service will protect natural darkness and other components of the natural lightscape in parks. To prevent the loss of dark conditions and of natural night skies, the Service will minimize light that emanates from park facilities, and also seek the cooperation of park visitors, neighbors, and local government agencies to prevent or minimize the intrusion of artificial light into the night scene of the ecosystems of parks. The Service will not use artificial lighting in areas such as sea turtle nesting locations where the presence of the artificial lighting will disrupt a park’s dark-dependent natural resource components.
The Service will
· restrict the use of artificial lighting in parks to those areas where security, basic human safety, and specific cultural resource requirements must be met;
· use minimal-impact lighting techniques;
· shield the use of artificial lighting where necessary to prevent the disruption of the night sky, natural cave processes, physiological processes of living organisms, and similar natural processes.
The decision about whether or not to install artificial lighting in particular circumstances is left to the discretion of the superintendent and is made through the planning process.
Natural chemicals and odors transmit information that is received by living organisms. Natural chemicals involved in the transmission of information are released by animals, plants, and geologic materials. Once released, these chemicals can be transmitted through air and water. Many animals can perceive these natural chemicals and modify their behaviors, such as mating, migration, feeding, predator avoidance, prey selection, and the establishment of social structures, as a response. Specific examples of relationships that involve natural chemical information and odors include, among others,
· scent posts where one animal deposits one or more chemicals by rubbing, urination, defecation, or other means, and where other animals can detect the passage of the first animal because of the odor produced by a deposited chemical;
· flowers that produce odors that attract insects, birds, and other animals, with resulting cross-pollination of the flowers and reproduction of the species as the outcome;
· female insects that release chemicals (pheromones) that attract males, with fertilization of the female’s eggs and reproduction of the species as the outcome;
· stressed trees that emit chemicals that some types of beetles use to find weakened trees, which they then successfully can colonize and use as habitat for reproducing themselves; and
· geologic materials (soils or bedrock) that emit characteristic chemicals that fish can sense and use as guides to find the places in streams where they hatched and where they subsequently return to breed and deposit fertilized eggs, with reproduction of the species as the outcome.
The Service will preserve, to the greatest extent possible, the natural flow of natural chemical information and odors by preventing (1) the release of human-generated chemicals that can block the release, deposition, or perception of natural chemicals; and (2) human actions that disrupt or commingle the pathways through which natural chemicals are dispersed.
The Service acknowledges that some of its management activities may necessarily alter the natural flow of natural chemical information and odors. The Service may, for example,
· introduce pesticides or pheromones into parks as part of an integrated pest management program;
· construct and operate intensive development areas that eliminate animal scent stations and introduce unnatural chemicals;
· change the vegetation and thereby change the kinds of natural plant chemicals released to the air;
· move water from one drainage to another through water and sewer systems; or
· provide for the use of exhaust-emitting motors in the air, on land, and on water.
Whenever the Service engages in activities that disrupt the natural flow of natural chemical information or odors, it will comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and policies and seek to minimize harm to the environment. In no case will the Service engage in an activity if it will impair park resources or values.
The National Park Service will protect, preserve, and foster appreciation of the cultural resources in its custody and demonstrate its respect for the peoples traditionally associated with those resources through appropriate programs of research, planning, and stewardship.
The National Park Service is the steward of
· research to identify, evaluate, document, register, and establish basic information about cultural resources and traditionally associated peoples;
· planning to ensure that management processes for making decisions and setting priorities integrate information about cultural resources and provide for consultation and collaboration with outside entities; and
· stewardship to ensure that cultural resources are preserved and protected, receive appropriate treatments (including maintenance) to achieve desired conditions, and are made available for public understanding and enjoyment.
The cultural resource management policies of the National Park Service are derived from a suite of historic preservation, environmental, and other laws, proclamations, executive orders, and regulations. A comprehensive list can be found in the Cultural Resource Management Handbook issued pursuant to Director’s Order #28. Taken collectively, this guidance provides the Service with the authority and responsibility for managing cultural resources in every unit of the national park system so that those resources may be preserved unimpaired for future generations. Cultural resource management will be carried out in a manner that is consistent with these legislative and regulatory provisions and with implementing policies and procedures such as the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation (48 Federal Register (FR) 44716-740), and Standards and Guidelines for Federal Agency Historic Preservation Programs Pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act (63 FR 20495-508).
Superintendents and qualified cultural resource professionals will work together to carry out the Park Service’s cultural resource management program. Other NPS staff and volunteers participating in cultural resource research, planning, and stewardship activities will be supervised by full-performance-level cultural resource professionals of the appropriate disciplines. Law enforcement professionals will consult with full-performance-level cultural resource professionals of the appropriate disciplines when investigating cultural resource crimes.
Superintendents and cultural resource professionals will ensure that research about and stewardship of cultural resources are carried out only after adequate planning and consultation with interested or affected individuals, groups, and other outside entities.
(See Decision-making Requirements to Identify and Avoid Impairments 1.4.7. Also see NHPA [16 USC 470h-4]; Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards [48 FR 44738-44739 ]; Employee Training and Development Planning and Tracking Kit )
The National Park Service will conduct a vigorous interdisciplinary program of research into the cultural resources of each park. The principal goals of such research will be to
· ensure a systematic, adequate, and current information base representing park cultural resources and traditionally associated peoples in support of planning, management, and operations;
· ensure appropriate protection, preservation, treatment, and interpretation of cultural resources, employing the best current scholarship;
· develop approaches for managing park cultural and natural resources that ensure consideration of the views held by traditionally associated peoples and others by emphasizing cooperative conservation and civic engagement;
· collect data on subsistence and other consumptive uses of park resources in order to reach informed decisions; and
· develop appropriate technologies and methods for monitoring, protecting, preserving, and treating cultural resources.
Adequate research to support informed planning and compliance with legal requirements will precede any final decisions about the treatment of cultural resources, or about park operations, development, and natural resource management activities that might affect cultural resources. Research will be periodically updated to reflect changing issues, sources, and methods. Research needs will be identified and justified in a park’s approved resource stewardship strategy.
A written scope of work, research design, project agreement, proposal, or other description of work to be performed will be prepared and approved before any research is conducted. All archeological research, whether for inventory, data recovery, or other purposes, must comply with the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA), the Antiquities Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), as applicable. The National Park Service will not take or allow any action that reduces the research potential of cultural resources without first performing an appropriate level of research, consultation, and documentation. Because research involving physical intervention into cultural resources or the removal of objects or specimens is a destructive process entailing an irretrievable commitment of the resources and often affecting traditional practices associated with the resources, research in parks will employ nondestructive methods to the maximum extent feasible.
The features of sites, landscapes, and structures will be left in place unless impracticable. Field data, objects, specimens, and features of sites and structures retrieved for preservation during cultural resource research and treatment projects, together with associated records and reports, will be managed within the park museum collection, stored in NPS or non-NPS repositories, as appropriate, including repositories maintained by partners. All collections of archeological material remains and associated records will be maintained in repositories in accordance with applicable regulations.
Research conducted by NPS personnel, contractors, and cooperative researchers will be subjected to peer review both inside and outside the Service to ensure that it meets professional standards, reflects current scholarship, and adheres to the principles of conduct for the appropriate discipline. The data and knowledge acquired through research will be recorded on permanent and durable (long-lived) media, documented in the appropriate Service-wide databases, and placed permanently in park museum and library collections and park files. This information will be made widely available and be incorporated, as appropriate, into park planning documents, exhibits, and interpretive programs. As appropriate, information will be shared with proper state and tribal historic preservation offices, other tribal offices, and certified local governments.
Certain research data may be withheld from public disclosure to protect sensitive or confidential information about archeological, historic, or other NPS resources when doing so would be consistent with the Freedom of Information Act, Section 304 of the National Historic Preservation Act, or Section 9 of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. In some circumstances, the Service may withhold information about ethnographic resources. The Solicitor’s Office should be consulted when there is any question about the legal authority to withhold information.
(See Levels of Park Planning 2.3; Studies and Collections 4.2; Confidentiality 5.2.3; Research and Scholarship 7.5.4; Use by American Indians and Other Traditionally Associated Groups 8.5. Also see 36 CFR 79; 36 CFR Part 800; 43 CFR Parts 3, 7, and 10; NHPA; Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Preservation Planning [48 FR 44716-720]; Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Historical Documentation [48 FR 44728-730]; Director’s Order #28: Cultural Resource Management; Cultural Resource Management Handbook; Director’s Order #66: FOIA and Protected Resource Information )
The National Park Service will promote relationships with individuals and organizations qualified to perform research, and encourage them to direct their research toward park management objectives and the broader contexts within which park resources exist. The Park Service will encourage independent researchers to follow the Secretary of the Interior’s standards and guidelines and NPS guidelines to the fullest extent possible; the Service will also require that the views of traditionally associated peoples be fully considered. Research done in cooperation with tribal governments, tribal colleges, and tribal organizations should include mutually agreed upon conditions concerning the dissemination of data as well as consideration of the confidentiality of culturally sensitive information.
Research that includes taking plants, fish, wildlife, rocks, or minerals must comply with the permit requirements of 36 CFR 2.5. Permits that would allow cultural resources to be physically disturbed or allow objects or specimens to be collected will be issued only when there is compelling evidence that the proposed research is essential to significant research concerns, and when that the purpose of the research can be reasonably achieved only by using park resources. Permits must require provision for the long-term preservation and management of any recovered objects and specimens and for their cataloging, together with any associated records, in the NPS museum cataloging system. Independent researchers will be authorized to conduct archeological research on park lands only through the issuance of an ARPA or Antiquities Act permit by the appropriate regional director. This permitting authority cannot be further delegated. As appropriate, parks will also issue other necessary permits, such as a special use permit. Archeological research conducted by independent researchers must comply with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act when applicable.
NPS facilities, collections, and assistance will be made available to qualified scholars conducting NPS-authorized research as long as park operations are not substantially impeded or park resources are not adversely impacted.
The National Park Service will conduct surveys to identify and evaluate the cultural resources of each park, assessing resources within their larger cultural, chronological, and geographic contexts. The resulting inventories will provide the substantive data required for (1) nominating resources to the National Register of Historic Places; (2) general park planning and specific proposals for preserving, protecting, and treating cultural resources to achieve desired conditions; (3) land acquisition, development, and maintenance activities; (4) interpretation, education, and natural and cultural resource management activities; and (5) compliance with legal requirements.
The Park Service will (1) maintain and expand the following inventories (or their successors) about cultural resources in units of the national park system, (2) enter information into appropriate related databases, and (3) develop an integrated information system—
· archeological sites inventory for historic and prehistoric archeological resources and the related Archeological Sites Management Information System (ASMIS) database
· Cultural Landscapes Inventory (CLI) of historic designed landscapes, historic vernacular landscapes, ethnographic landscapes, and historic sites
· List of Classified Structures (LCS), encompassing historic and prehistoric structures
· National Catalog of Museum Objects, encompassing all cultural objects, archival and manuscript materials, and natural history specimens in NPS collections and the related automated version, the Automated National Catalog System (ANCS+)
(See Levels of Park Planning 2.3; Confidentiality 5.2.3. Also see Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Identification [48 FR 44720-723]; Director’s Order #28: Cultural Resource Management; Cultural Resource Management Handbook)
Cultural resources will be professionally evaluated and categorized to assist in management decisions about their treatment and use. Cultural resources will be evaluated for significance using the National Register Criteria for Evaluation (36 CFR 60.4), and those meeting the criteria will be nominated for listing. Museum collections are inappropriate for listing and will not be evaluated using these criteria. Some collections in their original structures can be included as contributing elements to a listed structure. As appropriate, cultural resources will be categorized using other management categories established by the National Park Service and listed in the Cultural Resource Management Handbook.
Cultural resource professionals will evaluate cultural resources in consultation with the appropriate state and tribal historic preservation officers. Ethnographically meaningful cultural and natural resources, including traditional cultural properties, will be identified and evaluated in consultation with peoples having traditional associations to park resources. Examples of traditionally associated peoples include Acadians, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans. Some ethnographically meaningful resources do not meet the National Register Criteria for Evaluation, but will be inventoried in consultation with traditionally associated peoples and considered in management decisions about treatment and use.
(See Consultation 5.2.1. Also see Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Evaluation [48 FR 44723-726])
Park resources that appear to meet the criteria for the National Register of Historic Places will be nominated—either individually, as components of historic districts, or within multiple property nominations—for listing by the Keeper of the National Register. National historic sites, national historical parks, and other parks that are significant primarily for their cultural resources are entered automatically in the National Register upon establishment. However, nomination forms will be prepared and submitted to document the qualifying and contributing features of such parks and other National Register-eligible resources within them.
(Also see 36 CFR Parts 60 and 63; Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Registration [48 FR 44726-728]; National Register Bulletins 16A and 16B [Guidelines for Completing National Register of Historic Places Forms])
Historic and cultural units of the national park system are nationally significant by virtue of their authorizing legislation or presidential proclamation. National historic landmark designations are appropriate for park cultural resources that meet national historic landmark criteria if the national significance of those resources is not adequately recognized in the park’s authorizing legislation or presidential proclamation. Cultural parks may warrant landmark designation as parts of larger areas encompassing resources associated with their primary themes. Modified National Register forms will be prepared and submitted to nominate such resources for landmark designation by the Secretary of the Interior.
(Also see 36 CFR Part 65)
properties containing cultural features believed to
possess outstanding universal value to humanity may qualify for placement on
the World Heritage List under criteria described in the World Heritage Committee Operational
Guidelines and in accordance with the World Heritage Convention. Before
they can be nominated, all such properties must be assessed according to World
Heritage criteria, and before the
superintendent who believes that part or all of the park they manage should be
considered for inscription on the World Heritage List must consult with the NPS
Office of International Affairs, the NPS Director, and the Department of the
Interior before proceeding.
Once a property is placed on the World Heritage List, the Park Service will recognize the designation in public information and interpretive programs. Where appropriate, superintendents should use a park’s world heritage status to promote the park and encourage sustainable tourism (tourism that does not adversely impact park resources and values) and the preservation of the world’s natural and cultural heritage. Placement on the World Heritage List will not alter the purposes for which a park was established, change management requirements, or reduce NPS jurisdiction over a park.
Effective park stewardship requires informed decision-making about a park’s cultural resources. This is best accomplished through a comprehensive planning process. Effective planning is based on an understanding of what a park’s cultural resources are and why those resources are significant. To gain this understanding, the Service must obtain baseline data on the nature and types of cultural resources, and their (1) distribution; (2) condition; (3) significance; and (4) local, regional, and national contexts. Cultural resource planning, and the resource evaluation process that is part of it, will include consultation with cultural resource professionals and scholars having relevant expertise; traditionally associated peoples; and other groups and individuals. Current scholarship and needs for research are considered in this process, along with the park’s legislative history and other relevant information.
Each park’s resource stewardship strategy will provide comprehensive recommendations about specific actions needed to achieve and maintain the desired resource conditions and visitor experiences for the park’s cultural resources. This will include activities necessary to identify, evaluate, manage, monitor, protect, preserve, and treat the park’s cultural resources, and to provide for enjoyment and understanding of the resources by the public.
Superintendents will ensure full consideration of the park’s cultural resources and values in all proposals for operations, development, and natural resource programs, including the management of wilderness areas. When proposed undertakings may adversely affect national historic sites, national battlefields, and other predominantly cultural units of the national park system that were established in recognition of their national historical significance, superintendents will provide opportunities for the same level of review and consideration by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the Secretary of the Interior that the Advisory Council’s regulations require for undertakings that may adversely affect national historic landmarks (36 CFR 800.10).
(See Decision-making Requirements to Identify and Avoid Impairments 1.4.7; Strategic Planning 2.3.3; Implementation Planning 2.3.4. Also see Executive Order 13007 (Indian Sacred Sites); Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Federal Agency Historic Preservation Programs Pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act [63 FR 20496-508]; Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Preservation Planning [48 FR 44716-720]; Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties)
The National Park Service is committed to the open and meaningful exchange of knowledge and ideas to enhance (1) the public’s understanding of park resources and values and the policies and plans that affect them; and (2) the Service’s ability to plan and manage the parks by learning from others. Open exchange requires that the Service seek and employ ways to reach out to and consult with all those who have an interest in the parks.
Each superintendent will consult with outside parties having an interest in the park’s cultural resources or in proposed NPS actions that might affect those resources, and provide them with opportunities to learn about and comment on those resources and planned actions. Consultation may be formal, as when it is required pursuant to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act or Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, or it may be informal, when there is not a specific statutory requirement. Consultation will be initiated, as appropriate, with tribal, state, and local governments; state and tribal historic preservation officers; the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; other interested federal agencies; traditionally associated peoples; present-day park neighbors; and other interested groups.
Consultations on proposed NPS actions will take place as soon as practical and in an appropriate forum that ensures, to the maximum extent possible, effective communication and the identification of mutually acceptable alternatives. The Service will establish and maintain continuing relationships with outside parties to facilitate future collaboration, formal consultations, and the ongoing informal exchange of views and information on cultural resource matters.
Because national parks embody resources and values of interest to a national audience, efforts to reach out and consult must be national in scope. However, the Service will be especially mindful of consulting with traditionally associated peoples—those whose cultural systems or ways of life have an association with park resources and values that predates establishment of the park. Traditionally associated peoples may include park neighbors, traditional residents, and former residents who remain attached to the park area despite having relocated. Examples of traditionally associated peoples include both federally designated and nondesignated American Indian tribes in the contiguous 48 states, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, African Americans at Jean Lafitte, Asian Americans at Manzanar, Hispanic Americans at Tumacacori, and others.
In particular, traditionally associated peoples should be consulted about
· proposed research on and stewardship of cultural and natural resources with ethnographic meaning for the groups;
· development of park planning and interpretive documents that may affect resources traditionally associated with the groups;
· proposed research that entails collaborative study of the groups;
· identification, treatment, use, and determination of affiliation of objects subject to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act;
· repatriation of Native American cultural items or human remains based on requests by affiliated groups in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act;
· planned excavations and proposed responses to inadvertent discoveries of cultural resources that may be culturally affiliated with the groups;
· other proposed NPS actions that may affect the treatment of, use of, and access to cultural and natural resources with known or potential cultural meaning for the groups; and
· designation of National Register, National Historic Landmark, and World Heritage Sites with known or potential cultural meaning for the groups.
Consultation with federally recognized American Indian tribes will be on a government-to-government basis. The Service will notify appropriate tribal authorities (such as tribal historic preservation officers) about proposed actions when first conceived, and by subsequently consulting their appointed representatives whenever proposed actions may affect tribal interests, practices, and traditional resources (such as places of religious value).
There are other groups and individuals with strong connections to the land through experiencing a significant life event within or near a park unit. Through its civic engagement activities, the Service will be sensitive to and carefully consider the views of those who have these associations.
Whenever groups are created, controlled, or managed for the purpose of providing advice or recommendations to the Service, the Service will first consult with the Office of the Solicitor to determine whether the Federal Advisory Committee Act requires the chartering of an advisory committee. Consultation with the Office of the Solicitor will not be necessary when the Service meets with individuals, groups, or organizations simply to exchange views and information or to solicit individual advice on proposed actions. The act does not apply to intergovernmental meetings held exclusively between federal officials and elected officers of state, local, and tribal governments (or their designated employees with authority to act on their behalf) acting in their official capacities, when (1) the meetings relate to intergovernmental responsibilities or administration, and (2) the purpose of the committee is solely to exchange views, information, or advice relating to the management or implementation of federal programs established pursuant to statute that explicitly or inherently share intergovernmental responsibilities or administration.
(See Civic Engagement 1.7; Relationship with American Indian Tribes 1.11; Ethnographic Resources 126.96.36.199. Also see ARPA; NAGPRA; NEPA; NHPA [16 USC 470f]; 36 CFR Part 800; 40 CFR Parts 1500-1508; 41 CFR Part 101;, 43 CFR Parts 7 and 10; Executive Memorandum on Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments; Executive Order 13007 (Indian Sacred Sites); Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments); 512 Department of the Interior Manual [DM] 2; Director’s Order #71: Government-to-government Relationships with Tribal Governments; NPS Guide to the Federal Advisory Committee Act)
The National Park Service will seek to establish mutually beneficial agreements with interested groups to facilitate collaborative research, consultation, park planning, training, and cooperative management approaches with respect to park cultural resources and culturally important natural resources. The NPS goal is to allow traditionally associated peoples to exercise traditional cultural practices in parks to the extent allowable by law and consistent with the criteria listed in section 8.2. To the extent this goal can be legally reached through agreements, park superintendents should do so.
Whenever parks have cultural resources that are owned or managed by others, agreements will clarify how the resources are to be managed. Agreements will provide ways for periodically reviewing their effectiveness, making mutually agreed-upon modifications, and avoiding and resolving disagreements and disputes. All agreements will conform to the requirements of Director’s Order #20: Agreements.
(See Decision-making Requirements to Identify and Avoid Impairments 1.4.7; Partnerships 1.10; Partnerships 4.1.4; Park Structures Owned or Managed by Others 188.8.131.52.8; Submerged Cultural Resources 184.108.40.206.7; Use by American Indians and Other Traditionally Associated Groups 8.5; Consumptive Uses 8.9. Also see Executive Order 13007 (Indian Sacred Sites); 36 CFR 2.1)
Sensitive or confidential information is sometimes acquired during consultations and during other research, planning, and stewardship activities. Under certain circumstances and to the extent permitted by law, information about the specific location, character, nature, ownership, or acquisition of cultural resources on park lands will be withheld from public disclosure. If a question arises about withholding information, and disclosure could result in a significant invasion of privacy or a risk of harm to a cultural resource, the Park Service will consult the provisions of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (16 USC 470hh); the National Parks Omnibus Management Act (16 USC 5937); and the National Historic Preservation Act (16 USC 470w-3) before making a decision. Under some conditions, the Service may be required by law to disclose confidential information acquired during consultations, public meetings, and other research, planning, and stewardship activities, or in association with the acquisition of resources, including museum collections. Before these activities occur, NPS staff and authorized researchers will make every effort to inform affected parties that, while the information they provide will not be shared voluntarily, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.
To the extent permitted by law, the Service will withhold from public disclosure (1) information provided by individuals who wish the information to remain confidential, and (2) the identities of individuals who wish to remain anonymous and who are protected from release by exemption under the Freedom of Information Act. In each instance the Service will document its decision to disseminate or withhold sensitive or confidential information from public disclosure.
More detailed guidance on sensitive and confidential information can be found in Director’s Order #66: FOIA and Protected Resource Information and the Museum Handbook, Part III.
The National Park Service will employ the most effective concepts, techniques, and equipment to protect cultural resources against theft, fire, vandalism, overuse, deterioration, environmental impacts, and other threats without compromising the integrity of the resources.
Measures to protect or rescue cultural resources in the event of an emergency, disaster, or fire will be developed as part of a park’s emergency operations and fire management planning processes. Designated personnel will be trained to respond to all emergencies in a manner that maximizes visitor and employee safety and the protection of resources and property.
The Park Service will take action to prevent or minimize the impact of wildland, prescribed, and structural fires on cultural resources, including the impact of suppression and rehabilitation activities.
In the preservation of historic structures and museum and library collections, every attempt will be made to comply with national building and fire codes. When these cannot be met without significantly impairing a structure’s integrity and character, management and use of the structure will be modified to minimize potential hazards rather than modifying the structure itself.
Subject to the previous paragraph, when warranted by the significance of a historic structure or a museum or library collection, adequate and appropriate fire detection, warning, and suppression systems will be installed. Pre-fire plans will be developed for historic structures and buildings housing museum or library collections; these plans will be designed to identify the floor plan, utilities, hazards, and areas and objects requiring special protection. This information will be kept current and made available to local and park fire personnel.
Park and local fire personnel will be advised of the locations and characteristics of cultural resources threatened by fire and of any priorities for protecting them during any planned or unplanned fire incident. At parks with cultural resources, park fire personnel will receive cultural resource protection training. At parks that have wildland or structural fire risks and programs, cultural resource management specialists will receive fire prevention and emergency response training. Cultural resource management specialists who assist with wildland fire programs will be certified for incident management positions commensurate with their individual responsibilities.
Smoking will not be permitted in spaces housing museum or library collections or in historic structures (except those used as residences in which smoking is permitted by the park superintendent).
(See Fire Management 4.5; Fire Management 6.3.9; Structural Fire Protection and Suppression 9.1.8. Also see Director’s Order #18: Wildland Fire Management; Director’s Order #58: Structural Fire Management and Reference Manual 58)
The Service will use all legal authorities that are available to protect and restore cultural resources and the benefits they provide when actions of another party cause the destruction or loss of or injury to park resources or values. As a first step, damage assessments provide the basis for determining the restoration and compensation needs that address the public’s loss and are a key milestone toward the ultimate goal, which is restoration of resources for the American public. In accordance with the National Park System Resource Protection Act, the Park Service will take all necessary and appropriate steps to recover costs and damages from any person who destroys, causes the loss of, or injures any resource of the national park system. When such incidents involve cultural resources, the Service will
· prevent or minimize the destruction or loss of or injury to the cultural resource, or abate or minimize the imminent risk of such destruction, loss, or injury;
· assess and monitor damage to the cultural resource;
· recover any and all costs associated with the restoration or replacement of the cultural resource or costs associated with the acquisition of an equivalent resource;
· recover the value of any significant loss of use of the cultural resource pending its restoration or replacement or the acquisition of an equivalent, or the value of the cultural resource in the event it cannot be restored or replaced; and
· recover any and all costs incurred in responding to, assessing, and/or monitoring damage to the cultural resource.
When necessary to preserve a historic structure or a museum collection, appropriate measures will be taken to control relative humidity, temperature, light, and air quality. When museum collections are housed in a historic structure, the needs of both the collection and the structure will be identified and evaluated, weighing relative rarity and significance, before environmental control measures are introduced. The environmental conditions of all areas housing museum collections will be regularly monitored, according to a schedule specific to each condition, to determine whether appropriate levels of relative humidity, temperature, and light are being maintained.
Service will follow an integrated pest management approach in addressing pest
problems (including invasive vegetation) related to cultural resources.
(See Pest Management 4.4.5)
Superintendents will set, enforce, and monitor carrying capacities to limit public visitation to or use of cultural resources that would be subject to adverse effects from unrestricted levels of visitation or use. This will include (1) reviewing the park’s purpose; (2) analyzing existing visitor use of and related impacts on the park’s cultural resources and traditional resource users; (3) prescribing indicators and specific standards for acceptable and sustainable visitor use; and (4) identifying ways to address and monitor unacceptable impacts resulting from overuse. Studies to gather basic data and make recommendations on setting, enforcing, and monitoring carrying capacities for cultural resources will be conducted in collaboration with cultural resource specialists representing the appropriate disciplines.
appropriate sounds are important elements of the national park experience in
many parks. The Service will preserve
soundscape resources and values of the parks to the greatest extent possible to
protect opportunities for appropriate transmission of cultural and historic
sounds that are fundamental components of the purposes and values for which the
parks were established. Examples of
appropriate cultural and historic sounds include native drumming (at
The National Park Service will provide persons with disabilities the highest feasible level of physical access to historic properties that is reasonable, consistent with the preservation of each property’s significant historical features. Access modifications for persons with disabilities will be designed and installed to least affect the features of a property that contribute to its significance. Modifications to some features may be acceptable in providing access once a review of options for the highest level of access has been completed. However, if it is determined that modification of particular features would impair a property’s integrity and character in terms of the Advisory Council’s regulations at 36 CFR 800.9, such modifications will not be made. To the extent possible, modifications for access will benefit the greatest number of visitors, staff, and the public, and be integrated with or close to the primary path of travel for entrances and from parking areas. In situations where access modifications cannot be made, alternative methods of achieving program access will be adopted.
(See Access to Interpretive and Educational Opportunities 7.5.2; Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities 8.2.4; Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities 9.1.2; Accessibility of Commercial Services 10.2.6.2. Also see Director’s Order #42: Accessibility for Visitors with Disabilities in National Park Service Programs and Services)
The National Park Service may permit the use of a historic property through a lease or cooperative agreement if the lease or cooperative agreement will ensure the property’s preservation. Proposed uses must not unduly limit public appreciation of the property; interfere with visitor use and enjoyment of the park; or preclude use of the property for park administration, employee residences, or other management purposes judged more appropriate or cost-effective.
If a lease or cooperative agreement requires or allows the lessee or cooperator to maintain, repair, rehabilitate, restore, or build upon the property, the work must be done in accordance with applicable Secretary of the Interior’s standards and guidelines and other NPS policies, guidelines, and standards.
Marked and unmarked prehistoric and historic burial areas and graves will be identified, evaluated, and protected. Every effort will be made to avoid impacting burial areas and graves when planning park development and managing park operations. Such burial areas and graves will not knowingly be disturbed or archeologically investigated unless threatened with destruction.
The Service will consult with American Indian tribes, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other individuals and groups linked by demonstrable ties of kinship or culture to potentially identifiable human remains when such remains may be disturbed or are inadvertently encountered on park lands. Reinterment at the same park may be permitted and may include remains that may have been removed from lands now within the park.
American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian human remains and photographs of such remains will not be exhibited. Drawings, renderings, or casts of such remains may be exhibited with the consent of culturally affiliated Indian tribes, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian organizations. The exhibit of non-Native American human remains, or photographs, drawings, renderings, or casts of such remains, is allowed in consultation with traditionally associated peoples. The Service may allow access to and study, publication, and destructive analysis of human remains, but must consult with traditionally associated peoples and consider their opinions and concerns before making decisions on appropriate actions. In addition, such use of human remains will occur only with an approved research proposal that describes why the information cannot be obtained through other sources or analysis and why the research is important to the field of study and the general public.
The Park Service will provide for the long-term preservation of, public access to, and appreciation of the features, materials, and qualities contributing to the significance of cultural resources. With some differences by type, cultural resources are subject to several basic treatments, including (1) preservation in their existing states; (2) rehabilitation to serve contemporary uses, consistent with their integrity and character; and (3) restoration to earlier appearances by the removal of later additions and replacement of missing elements. Decisions regarding which treatments will best ensure the preservation and public enjoyment of particular cultural resources will be reached through the planning and compliance process, taking into account
· the nature and significance of a resource and its condition and interpretive value
· the research potential of the resource
· the level of intervention required by treatment alternatives
· the availability of data and the terms of any binding restrictions
· the concerns of traditionally associated peoples and other groups and individuals
Except for emergencies that threaten irreparable loss without immediate action, no treatment project will be undertaken unless supported by an approved planning document appropriate to the proposed action.
The preservation of cultural resources in their existing states will always receive first consideration. Treatments entailing greater intervention will not proceed without the consideration of interpretive alternatives. The appearance and condition of resources before treatment and changes made during treatment will be documented. Such documentation will be shared with any appropriate state or tribal historic preservation office or certified local government and added to the park museum cataloging system. Pending treatment decisions reached through the planning process, all resources will be protected and preserved in their existing states.
As a basic principle, anything of historical appearance that the National Park Service presents to the public in a park will be either an authentic survival from the past or an accurate representation of that once existing there. Reconstructions and reproductions will be clearly identified as such.
The Service will holistically approach the treatment of related cultural resources in a park. All cultural resource and natural resource values will be considered in defining specific treatment and management goals. Research will be coordinated and sequenced so that decisions are not made in isolation. Each proposed action will be evaluated to ensure consistency or compatibility in the overall treatment of park resources. The relative importance and relationship of all values will be weighed to identify potential conflicts between and among resource preservation goals, park management and operation goals, and park user goals. Conflicts will be considered and resolved through the planning process, which will include any consultation required by 16 USC 470f.
Although each resource type is most closely associated with a particular discipline, an interdisciplinary approach is commonly needed to properly define specific treatment and management goals for cultural resources. Policies applicable to the various resource types follow.
Archeological resources will be managed in situ, unless the removal of artifacts or physical disturbance is justified by research, consultation, preservation, protection, or interpretive requirements. Preservation treatments will include proactive measures that protect resources from vandalism and looting, and will maintain or improve their condition by limiting damage due to natural and human agents. Data recovery actions will be taken only in the context of planning, consultation, and appropriate decision-making. Preservation treatments and data recovery activities will be conducted within the scope of an approved research design. Archeological research will use nondestructive methods of testing and analysis wherever possible. The Park Service will incorporate information about archeological resources into interpretive, educational, and preservation programs. Artifacts and specimens recovered from archeological resources, along with associated records and reports, will be maintained together in the park museum collection.
Archeological resources will be maintained and preserved in a stable condition to prevent degradation and loss. The condition of archeological resources will be documented, regularly monitored, and evaluated against initial baseline data. Parks are encouraged to enlist concerned local citizens in site stewardship programs to patrol and monitor the condition of archeological resources. The preservation of archeological components of cultural landscapes, structures, and ruins are also subject to the treatment policies for cultural landscapes, historic and prehistoric structures, and historic and prehistoric ruins.
Archeological resources subject to erosion, slumping, subsidence, or other natural deterioration will be stabilized using the least intrusive and destructive methods. The methods used will protect natural resources and processes to the maximum extent feasible. Stabilization will occur only after sufficient research demonstrates the likely success of the proposed stabilizing action and after existing conditions are documented.
These terms are normally related to the treatment of historic structures and cultural landscapes. The Park Service will not normally undertake the rehabilitation, restoration, or reconstruction of archeological resources or features. Archeological studies undertaken in conjunction with the rehabilitation or restoration of cultural landscapes, structures, or ruins, or with the reconstruction of obliterated cultural landscapes or missing structures, will be guided by the treatment policies for archeological resources as well as those for the other associated resource types.
Archeological resources will be protected against human agents of destruction and deterioration whenever practicable. Archeological resources subject to vandalism and looting will be periodically monitored and, if appropriate, fencing, warning signs, remote-sensing alarms, and other protective measures will be installed. Training and public education programs will be developed to make park staff and the public aware of the value of the park’s archeological resources and the penalties for destroying them. For public safety reasons, local citizens who are monitoring resources under site stewardship programs will be instructed to report incidents of vandalism and looting to law enforcement personnel for response.
Archeological data recovery is permitted if justified by research or interpretation needs. Significant archeological data that would otherwise be lost as a result of resource treatment projects or uncontrollable degradation or destruction will be recovered in accordance with appropriate research proposals and preserved in park museum collections. Data will be recovered to mitigate the loss of significant archeological data due to park development, but only after
· the redesign, relocation, and cancellation of the proposed development have all been considered and ruled out as infeasible through the planning process;
· the park development has been approved; and
· the project has provided for data recovery, cataloging, and the initial preservation of recovered collections.
(See Planning 5.2)
Appropriate and, when feasible, native vegetation will be maintained when necessary to prevent the erosion of prehistoric and historic earthworks, even when the historic condition might have been bare earth. Because earthwork restorations and reconstructions can obliterate surviving remains and are often difficult to maintain, other means of representing and interpreting the original earthworks will receive first consideration.
Historic shipwrecks and other submerged cultural resources will be protected, to the extent permitted by law, in the same manner as terrestrial archeological resources. Protection activities involve inventory, evaluation, monitoring, interpretation, and establishing partnerships to provide for the management of historic shipwrecks and other submerged cultural resources in units of the national park system. The Service will not allow treasure hunting or commercial salvage activities at or around historic shipwrecks or other submerged cultural resources located within park boundaries unless legally obligated to do so. Parks may provide recreational diving access to submerged cultural resources that are not susceptible to damage or the removal of artifacts. The Service will ensure that the activities of others in park waters do not adversely affect submerged cultural resources or the surrounding natural environment. The Service will consult with the owners of non-abandoned historic shipwrecks and enter into written agreements with them to clarify how the shipwrecks will be managed by the Park Service. Shipwrecks owned by a state government pursuant to the Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1987 will be managed in accordance with the Abandoned Shipwreck Act Guidelines (55 FR 50116-145, 55 FR 51528, and 56 FR 7875).
The treatment of a cultural landscape will preserve significant physical attributes, biotic systems, and uses when those uses contribute to historical significance. Treatment decisions will be based on a cultural landscape’s historical significance over time, existing conditions, and use. Treatment decisions will consider both the natural and built characteristics and features of a landscape, the dynamics inherent in natural processes and continued use, and the concerns of traditionally associated peoples.
The treatment implemented will be based on sound preservation practices to enable long-term preservation of a resource’s historic features, qualities, and materials. There are three types of treatment for extant cultural landscapes: preservation, rehabilitation, and restoration.
(See Decision-making Requirements to Identify and Avoid Impairments 1.4.7. Also see Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes)
A cultural landscape will be preserved in its present condition if
· that condition allows for satisfactory protection, maintenance, use, and interpretation; or
· another treatment is warranted but cannot be accomplished until some future time.
A cultural landscape may be rehabilitated for contemporary use if
· it cannot adequately serve an appropriate use in its present condition; and
· rehabilitation will retain its essential features and not alter its integrity and character or conflict with approved park management objectives.
A cultural landscape may be restored to an earlier appearance if
· all changes after the proposed restoration period have been professionally evaluated and the significance of those changes has been fully considered;
· restoration is essential to public understanding of the park’s cultural associations;
· sufficient data about that landscape’s earlier appearance exist to enable its accurate restoration; and
· the disturbance or loss of significant archeological resources is minimized and mitigated by data recovery.
No matter how well conceived or executed, reconstructions are contemporary interpretations of the past rather than authentic survivals from it. The National Park Service will not reconstruct an obliterated cultural landscape unless
· there is no alternative that would accomplish the park’s interpretive mission;
· sufficient data exist to enable its accurate reconstruction, based on the duplication of historic features substantiated by documentary or physical evidence, rather than on conjectural designs or features from other landscapes;
· reconstruction will occur in the original location;
· the disturbance or loss of significant archeological resources is minimized and mitigated by data recovery; and
· reconstruction is approved by the Director.
A landscape will not be reconstructed to appear damaged or ruined. General representations of typical landscapes will not be attempted.
Biotic cultural resources, which include plant and animal communities associated with the significance of a cultural landscape, will be duly considered in treatment and management. The cultural resource and natural resource components of the park’s resource stewardship strategy will jointly identify acceptable plans for the management and treatment of biotic cultural resources. The park’s resource stewardship strategy will anticipate and plan for the natural and human-induced processes of change. Before any major treatment of a cultural landscape is undertaken, there must be an understanding of the degree to which change contributes to or compromises the historic character of the landscape, and the way in which natural cycles influence the ecological processes within the landscape. Treatment and management of a cultural landscape will establish acceptable parameters for change and manage the biotic resources within those parameters.
Many cultural landscapes are significant because of their historic land use and practices. When land use is a primary reason for the significance of a landscape, the objective of treatment will be to balance the perpetuation of use with the retention of the tangible evidence that represents its history. The variety and arrangement of cultural and natural features in a landscape often have sacred or other continuing importance in the ethnic histories and cultural vigor of associated peoples. These features and their past and present-day uses will be identified, and the beliefs, attitudes, practices, traditions, and values of traditionally associated peoples will be considered in any treatment decisions.
Contemporary use of a cultural landscape is appropriate if it
· does not adversely affect significant landscape characteristics and features; and
· either follows the historic use or does not impede public appreciation of it.
All uses of cultural landscapes are subject to legal requirements, policy, guidelines, and standards for natural and cultural resource preservation, public safety, and special park uses.
Contemporary alterations and additions to a cultural landscape must not radically change, obscure, or destroy its significant spatial organization, materials, and features. New buildings, structures, landscape features, and utilities may be constructed in a cultural landscape if
· existing structures and improvements do not meet essential management needs;
· new construction is designed and sited to preserve the landscape’s integrity and historic character; and
· the alterations, additions, or related new construction is differentiated from yet compatible with the landscape’s historic character—unless associated with an approved restoration or reconstruction.
New additions will meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
Park ethnographic resources are the cultural and natural features of a park that are of traditional significance to traditionally associated peoples. These peoples are the contemporary park neighbors and ethnic or occupational communities that have been associated with a park for two or more generations (40 years), and whose interests in the park’s resources began before the park’s establishment. Living peoples of many cultural backgrounds—American Indians, Inuit (Eskimos), Native Hawaiians, African Americans, Hispanics, Chinese Americans, Euro-Americans, and farmers, ranchers, and fishermen—may have a traditional association with a particular park.
Traditionally associated peoples generally differ as a group from other park visitors in that they typically assign significance to ethnographic resources—places closely linked with their own sense of purpose, existence as a community, and development as ethnically distinctive peoples. These places may be in urban or rural parks and support ceremonial activities or represent birthplaces of significant individuals, group origin sites, migration routes, or harvesting or collecting places. Although these places have historic attributes that are of great importance to the group, they may not necessarily have a direct association with the reason the park was established or be appropriate as a topic of general public interest. Some ethnographic resources might also be traditional cultural properties. A traditional cultural property is one that is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places because of its association with cultural practices or beliefs of a living community that are (1) rooted in that community’s history, and (2) important in maintaining the continuing cultural identity of the community.
The Service’s primary interest in these places stems from its responsibilities under
· the NPS Organic Act—to conserve the natural and historic objects within parks unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations;
· the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)—to preserve, conserve, and encourage the continuation of the diverse traditional prehistoric, historic, ethnic, and folk cultural traditions that underlie and are a living expression of our American heritage;
· the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA)—to protect and preserve for American Indians access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites;
· the Archeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA)—to secure, for the present and future benefit of the American people, the protection of archeological resources and sites that are on public lands and Indian Lands;
· the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)—to preserve important historic, cultural, and natural aspects of our national heritage; and
· Executive Order 13007 (Indian Sacred Sites)—to accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites by Indian religious practitioners and avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sacred sites.
The Service must therefore be respectful of these ethnographic resources and carefully consider the effects that NPS actions may have on them. When religious issues are evident, the Service must also consider constraints imposed on federal agency actions by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U. S. Constitution.
The National Park Service will adopt a comprehensive approach towards appreciating the diverse human heritage and associated resources that characterize the national park system. The Service will identify the present-day peoples whose cultural practices and identities were, and often still are, closely associated with each park’s cultural and natural resources.
National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) recognizes the importance
of maintaining Alaska Native and non-Native subsistence lifestyles and contains
provisions that authorize activities by the Park Service to assist Alaska
Natives in the preservation of cultural resources. For many rural Alaskans, the
land and the way of life are inseparable. The Service will explore
Ethnographic information will be collected through collaborative research that recognizes the sensitive nature of such information. Cultural anthropologists/ethnographers will document the meanings that traditionally associated groups assign to traditional natural and cultural resources and the landscapes they form. The park’s ethnographic file will include this information, as well as data on the traditional management practices and knowledge systems that affect resource uses and the short- and long-term effects of use on the resources.
(See Confidentiality 5.2.3. Also see Director’s Order #28B: Ethnography Program)
Consistent with the requirements of the Organic Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, American Indian Religious Freedom Act, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and Executive Order 13007 (Indian Sacred Sites) cited in section 220.127.116.11 above, the Service will strive to allow American Indians and other traditionally associated peoples access to and use of ethnographic resources. Continued access to and use of ethnographic resources is often essential to the survival of family, community, or regional cultural systems, including patterns of belief and sociocultural and religious life. However, the Service may not allow access and use if it would violate the criteria listed in section 8.1.
The Service generally supports traditional access and use when reasonable accommodations can be made under NPS authorities to allow greater access and use. Park superintendents may reasonably control the times when and places where specific groups may have exclusive access to particular areas of a park.
With regard to consumptive use of park resources, current NPS policy is reflected in regulations published at 36 CFR 2.1. These regulations allow superintendents to designate certain fruits, berries, nuts, or unoccupied seashells that may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption if it will not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproductive potential of a plant species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources. The regulations do not authorize the taking, use, or possession of fish, wildlife, or plants for ceremonial or religious purposes except where specifically authorized by federal statute or treaty rights or where hunting, trapping, or fishing are otherwise allowed. These regulations are currently under review, and NPS policy is evolving in this area.
Regulations addressing traditional
subsistence uses that are authorized in
The National Park Service acknowledges that American Indian tribes, including Native Alaskans, treat specific places containing certain natural and cultural resources as sacred places having established religious meaning and as locales of private ceremonial activities. Consistent with Executive Order 13007 (Indian Sacred Sites), the Service will, to the extent practicable, accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites by religious practitioners from recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Natives, and avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sacred sites.
In consultation with the appropriate groups, the Service will develop a record about such places, and identify any treatments preferred by the groups. This information will alert superintendents and planners to the potential presence of sensitive areas and will be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law. The Service will collaborate with affected groups to prepare mutually agreeable strategies for providing access to ordinarily gated or otherwise inaccessible locales, and for enhancing the likelihood of privacy during religious ceremonies. Any strategies that are developed must comply with constitutional and other legal requirements. To the extent feasible and allowable by law, accommodations will also be made for access to and the use of sacred places when interest is expressed by other traditionally associated peoples (especially Native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders) and by American Indian peoples and others who often have a long-standing connection and identity with a particular park or resource.
Various ethnic groups, local groups with recently developed ties to resources in neighboring parks, and visitors to family and national cemeteries and national memorials also might use park resources for traditional or individual religious ceremonies. Mutually acceptable agreements may be negotiated with known groups to provide access to and the use of such places, consistent with constitutional and other legal constraints.
(See Confidentiality 5.2.3; Resource Access and Use 18.104.22.168.1; Use by American Indians and Other Traditionally Associated Groups 8.5; First Amendment Activities 8.6.3. Also see Director’s Orders #66: FOIA and Protected Resource Information, and #71B: Indian Sacred Sites; NHPA [16 USC 470w-3]; Executive Order 13007 (Indian Sacred Sites); 512 DM 3)
The Park Service will maintain a program of professional cultural anthropological/ethnographic research designed to provide NPS managers with information about relationships between park resources and associated peoples. Research will be undertaken in cooperation with associated peoples in an interdisciplinary manner whenever reasonable, especially in studies of natural resource use and ethnographic landscapes. Research findings will be used to inform planning, cultural and natural resource management decision-making, and interpretation, as well as to help managers meet responsibilities to associated peoples and other stakeholders in the outcomes of NPS decisions.
Collaborative research dealing with recent or contemporary cultural systems and the resources of park-associated peoples will involve the groups in the design and implementation of the research and the review of research findings to the fullest possible extent. The Service will provide individuals or groups involved with or directly affected by the research with copies or summaries of the reports, as appropriate.
(See Levels of Park Planning 2.3; Studies and Collections 4.2; Consultation 7.5.6; Use by American Indians and Other Traditionally Associated Groups 8.5. Also see Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes)
The treatment of historic and prehistoric structures will be based on sound preservation practice to enable the long-term preservation of a structure’s historic features, materials, and qualities. There are three types of treatment for extant structures: preservation, rehabilitation, and restoration.
A structure will be preserved in its present condition if
· that condition allows for satisfactory protection, maintenance, use, and interpretation; or
· another treatment is warranted but cannot be accomplished until some future time.
A historic structure may be rehabilitated (rehabilitation does not apply to prehistoric structures) for contemporary use if
· it cannot adequately serve an appropriate use in its present condition; and
· rehabilitation will retain its essential features and will not alter its integrity and character or conflict with approved park management objectives.
A structure may be restored to an earlier appearance if
· all changes after the proposed restoration period have been professionally evaluated, and the significance of those changes has been fully considered;
· restoration is essential to public understanding of the park’s cultural associations;
· sufficient data about that structure’s earlier appearance exist to enable its accurate restoration; and
· the disturbance or loss of significant archeological resources is minimized and mitigated by data recovery.
No matter how well conceived or executed, reconstructions are contemporary interpretations of the past rather than authentic survivals from it. The National Park Service will not reconstruct a missing structure unless
· there is no alternative that would accomplish the park’s interpretive mission;
· sufficient data exist to enable its accurate reconstruction based on the duplication of historic features substantiated by documentary or physical evidence rather than on conjectural designs or features from other structures;
· reconstruction will occur in the original location;
· the disturbance or loss of significant archeological resources is minimized and mitigated by data recovery; and
· reconstruction is approved by the Director.
A structure will not be reconstructed to appear damaged or ruined. Generalized representations of typical structures will not be attempted.
Proposals for moving historic structures will consider the effects of movement on the structures, their present environments, their proposed environments, and the archeological research value of the structures and their sites. No historic structure will be moved if its preservation would be adversely affected or until the appropriate recovery of significant archeological data has occurred. Prehistoric structures will not be moved.
A nationally significant historic structure may be moved only if
· it cannot practically be preserved on its present site; or
· the move constitutes a return to a previous historic location, and the previous move and present location are not important to the structure’s significance.
A historic structure of less-than-national significance may be moved if
· it cannot practically be preserved on its present site; or
· its present location is not important to its significance, and its relocation is essential to public understanding of the park’s cultural associations.
In moving a historic structure, every effort will be made to reestablish its historic orientation, immediate setting, and general relationship to its environment.
The Park Service will not acquire historic structures for relocation to parks unless those structures were removed from the park and are necessary to achieve the park purpose or authorized by legislation.
In preference to new construction, every reasonable consideration will be given to using historic structures for park purposes compatible with their preservation and public appreciation. Additions may be made to historic structures when essential to their continued use and when new construction will not destroy historic materials, features, and spatial relationships that characterize the structure. Structural additions will harmonize in size, scale, proportion, and materials with, but be readily distinguishable from, the older work, and will not intrude upon the historic scene. New additions will meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
In those areas of parks managed for the preservation, protection, and interpretation of cultural resources and their settings, new structures, landscape features, and utilities will be constructed only if
· existing structures and improvements do not meet essential park management needs; and
· new construction is designed and sited to preserve the integrity and character of the area.
Unless associated with an approved restoration or reconstruction, all alterations, additions, or related new construction will be differentiated from yet compatible with the historic character of the structure.
(See Rehabilitation 22.214.171.124.2; Use of Historic Structures 126.96.36.199.7; Adaptive Use 188.8.131.52. Also see Executive Order 13006 (Locating Federal Facilities on Historic Properties); National Historic Preservation Act)
NHPA (16 USC 470h-2(a)(1)) and Executive Order 13006 (Locating Federal Facilities on Historic Properties) require each federal agency—before acquiring, constructing, or leasing buildings—to use, to the maximum extent feasible, historic properties available to it whenever operationally appropriate and economically prudent. The National Historic Preservation Act also requires each agency to implement alternatives for the adaptive use of historic properties it owns if that will help ensure the properties’ preservation. Therefore, compatible uses for structures will be found whenever possible. This policy will help prevent the accelerated deterioration of historic structures due to neglect and vandalism. Unused significant historic structures should be stabilized and protected through appropriate measures (such as mothballing) until long-term decisions are made through the planning process.
All uses of historic structures are subject to preservation and public safety requirements. No administrative or public use will be permitted that would threaten the stability or character of a structure, the museum objects within it, or the safety of its users, or that would entail alterations that would significantly compromise its integrity.
(See Fire Detection, Suppression, and Post-fire
Rehabilitation and Protection 184.108.40.206; Physical
Access for Persons with Disabilities 5.3.2; Adaptive
Use 220.127.116.11; Energy Management 9.1.7; Historic Structures 18.104.22.168. Also see Executive Order 13287
Structures and related property owned or managed by others will be managed in accordance with NPS policies, guidelines, and standards to the extent permitted by the Service’s interest. This includes structures and property owned but not occupied by the Service, and structures and property owned by others in which the Service has a less-than-fee interest or plays a major management or preservation role. Interests acquired or retained by the Service will enable the application of this policy.
Historic structures damaged or destroyed by fire, storm, earthquake, war, or any other accident may be preserved as ruins; be removed; or be rehabilitated, restored, or reconstructed in accordance with these policies.
The stabilization of historic and prehistoric ruins will be preceded by studies leading to the recovery of any data that would be affected by stabilization work. Ruins and related features on unexcavated archeological sites will be stabilized only to the extent necessary to preserve research values or to arrest structural deterioration, recognizing that it is preferable to preserve archeological sites in situ than to excavate them. Archeological ruins to be exhibited will not be excavated until consultation has occurred with traditionally associated peoples and adequate provisions are made for data recovery and stabilization. Structures will not be deliberately reduced to ruins, and missing structures will not be reconstructed to appear damaged or ruined.
The Service will collect, protect, preserve, provide access to, and use objects, specimens, and archival and manuscript collections (henceforth referred to collectively as “collections,” or individually as “items”) in the disciplines of archeology, ethnography, history, biology, geology, and paleontology to aid understanding among park visitors, and to advance knowledge in the humanities and sciences. As appropriate, the Service will consult with culturally affiliated or traditionally associated peoples before treating or reproducing items in NPS collections that are subject to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
(Also see Museum Handbook)
An item in a museum collection will be preserved in its present condition through ongoing preventive care if
· that condition is satisfactory for exhibit or research; or
· another treatment is warranted but it cannot be accomplished until some future time.
An item will be stabilized if
· preventive measures are insufficient to reduce deterioration to a tolerable level; or
· the item is so fragile that it will be endangered under any circumstances.
Active conservation treatment (intervention) will be minimized to reduce the possibility of compromising the item’s integrity. All active treatment will be documented.
An item in a museum collection may be restored to an earlier appearance if
· restoration is required for exhibit or research purposes;
· sufficient data about that item’s earlier appearance exist to enable its accurate restoration; and
· restoration will not modify that item’s known original character.
Restoration will be accomplished using the techniques and materials that least modify the item and so that the materials can be removed at a later time with minimal adverse effect. Restored areas will be documented and distinguishable from original material. Restoration will take into account the possible importance of preserving signs of wear, damage, former maintenance, and other historical and scientific evidence.
Items needed for interpretive and educational presentations will be reproduced for such use when the originals (1) are unavailable, or (2) would be subject to undue deterioration or loss, or (3) are otherwise inappropriate for exhibit. If an object is inappropriate for exhibit because of its religious or spiritual significance to a traditionally associated people, it will be reproduced only after consultation with such people.
Collections and related documentation essential to achieving the purposes and objectives of parks will be acquired and maintained in accordance with approved scope of collection statements for each park. When museum objects, specimens, or archival documents become available and fall within a park’s approved scope of collection statement, every reasonable effort will be made to acquire them if they can be managed and made accessible according to NPS standards.
Archeological objects systematically collected in a park, and natural history specimens systematically collected in a park for exhibit or permanent retention, will be managed as part of the park’s museum collection. The management and care of museum collections will be addressed at all appropriate levels of planning. Requisite levels of care will be established through the interdisciplinary efforts of qualified professionals.
Museum collections will be acquired and disposed of in conformance with legal authorizations and current NPS procedures. The National Park Service will acquire only collections having legal and ethical pedigrees. Each park will maintain complete and current accession records to establish the basis for legal custody of the collections in its possession, including intellectual property rights when acquired. Each park will prepare museum catalog records to record basic property management data and other documentary information about the park’s museum collection. Collections will be inventoried in accordance with current procedures. Archeological, cultural landscape, ethnographic, historic and prehistoric structure, historic furnishings, natural resource, and other projects that generate collections for parks will provide for cataloging and initial preservation of those collections in the project budget.
The Service may cooperate with qualified entities in the management, use, and exhibition of museum collections, and may loan items to or borrow items from such entities for approved purposes. The Service may deaccession items using means authorized in the Museum Act and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
Interested persons will be permitted to inspect and study NPS museum collections and records in accordance with standards for the preservation and use of collections, and subject to laws and policies regarding the confidentiality of resource data. At-cost copies of documents may be provided.
(See Natural Resource Collections 4.2.3; Paleontological Resources and Their Contexts 22.214.171.124; Confidentiality 5.2.3; Fire Detection, Suppression, and Post-fire Rehabilitation and Protection 126.96.36.199; Environmental Monitoring and Control 188.8.131.52; Consultation 7.5.6; Special Park Uses 8.6; Museum Collections Management Facilities 9.4.2. Also see 16 USC 18f; 43 USC 1460; 36 CFR Part 79; 43 CFR Part 10; and Museum Handbook)
When historic furnishings are present in their original arrangement in a historic structure, every effort will be made to preserve them as an entity. Such historic furnishings will not be moved or replaced unless required for their protection or repair or unless the structure is designated for another use in an approved planning document. The original arrangement of historic furnishings will be properly documented. A structure may be refurnished in whole or in part if
· all changes after the proposed refurnishing period have been professionally evaluated, and their significance has been fully considered;
· a planning process has demonstrated that refurnishing is essential to public understanding of the park’s cultural associations; and
· sufficient evidence of the design and placement of the structure’s furnishings exists to enable its accurate refurnishing without reliance on evidence from comparable structures.
Generalized representations of typical interiors will not be attempted except in exhibit contexts that make their representative nature obvious. Reproductions may be used in place of historic furnishings, but only when photographic evidence or prototypes exist to ensure the accurate re-creation of historic pieces.
Archival and manuscript collections are museum collections; they will be preserved, arranged, cataloged, and described in finding aids. They will be maintained and used in ways that preserve the collections and their context (provenance and original order) intact while providing controlled access. With few legal exemptions, the Park Service will make archives and manuscripts available to researchers. Electronic documents that are to be preserved in archival and manuscript collections will be migrated so that their information remains accessible.
All documentation associated with natural and cultural resource studies and other resource management actions will be retained in the park’s museum collection for use in managing park resources over time. Parks will retain notes or copies of records significant to their administrative histories when they periodically transfer their official records to federal record centers.
All NPS lands will be evaluated for their eligibility for inclusion within the national wilderness preservation system. For those lands that possess wilderness characteristics, no action that would diminish their wilderness eligibility will be taken until after Congress and the President have taken final action. The superintendent of each park containing wilderness will develop and maintain a wilderness management plan or equivalent document. Wilderness considerations will be integrated into all planning documents to guide the preservation, management, and use of the park’s wilderness area and ensure that wilderness is unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness.
The National Park Service will manage wilderness areas for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such a manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness. Management will include the protection of these areas, the preservation of their wilderness character, and the gathering and dissemination of information regarding their use and enjoyment as wilderness. The purpose of wilderness in the national parks includes the preservation of wilderness character and wilderness resources in an unimpaired condition and, in accordance with the Wilderness Act, wilderness areas shall be devoted to the public purposes of recreational, scenic, scientific, educational, conservation, and historical use.
The policies contained in this chapter are supplemented by Director’s Order #41: Wilderness Preservation and Management and Reference Manual 41, which accompanies the director’s order. Those documents should be referred to for more detailed information on the topics covered in this chapter.
The National Park Service will use the following wilderness study process to consider NPS areas for inclusion within the congressionally designated national wilderness preservation system.
All lands administered by the National Park Service, including new units or additions to existing units since 1964, will be evaluated for their eligibility for inclusion in the national wilderness preservation system. Additionally, lands that were originally assessed as ineligible for wilderness because of nonconforming or incompatible uses must be reevaluated if the nonconforming uses have been terminated or removed. A wilderness eligibility assessment will consist of a brief memorandum from the regional director to the Director that makes a managerial determination as to the eligibility of the park lands for wilderness designation.
The assessment may include information important for other park planning purposes, and other park planning efforts may likewise produce information important to wilderness. The assessment should therefore be completed in a timely manner and thoughtfully coordinated with other planning activities. The assessment may be combined with the wilderness study described below if the combined document can be completed in a timely manner.
NPS lands will be considered eligible for wilderness if they are at least 5,000 acres or of sufficient size to make practicable their preservation and use in an unimpaired condition, and if they possess the following characteristics (as identified in the Wilderness Act):
· The earth and its community of life are untrammeled by humans, where humans are visitors and do not remain.
· The area is undeveloped and retains its primeval character and influence without permanent improvements or human habitation.
· The area generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of humans’ work substantially unnoticeable.
· The area is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions.
· The area offers outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation.
In addition to the primary eligibility criteria, the following considerations should be taken into account in determining eligibility:
· A wilderness area may contain significant ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value, although it does not need these things to be considered eligible for wilderness designation.
· Lands that have been logged, farmed, grazed, mined, or otherwise used in ways not involving extensive development or alteration of the landscape may also be considered eligible for wilderness designation if, at the time of assessment, the effects of these activities are substantially unnoticeable or their wilderness character could be maintained or restored through appropriate management actions.
· An area will not be excluded from a determination of wilderness eligibility solely because established or proposed management practices require the use of tools, equipment, or structures if those practices are necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area as wilderness.
· In the process of determining wilderness eligibility, lands will not be excluded solely because of existing rights or privileges (e.g., mineral exploration and development, commercial operations, agricultural development, grazing, or stock driveways). If the National Park Service determines that these lands possess wilderness character, they may be included in the eligibility determination so that they can be considered for designation as wilderness or potential wilderness.
· Lands containing aboveground or buried utility lines will normally not be considered as eligible for wilderness designation, but they can be considered as eligible for “potential” wilderness designation if there is a long-term intent to remove the lines. No new utility lines may be installed in wilderness, and existing utility lines may not be extended or enlarged except as may be allowed pursuant to section 1106 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (16 USC 1133(c)).
· Historic features that are primary attractions for park visitors will generally not be recommended as eligible for wilderness designation. However, an area that attracts visitors primarily for the enjoyment of solitude and unconfined recreation in a primitive setting may also contain cultural resource features and still be included in wilderness. Historic trails may serve and be maintained as part of the wilderness trail system, as identified and coordinated within an approved wilderness management plan and the park’s cultural resource plan. The presence of historic structures does not make an area ineligible for wilderness. A recommendation may be made to include a historic structure in wilderness if (1) the structure would be only a minor feature of the total wilderness proposal; and (2) the structure will remain in its historic state, without development.
· Dams within or affecting the area being studied do not make a waterway ineligible for wilderness designation. The nature and extent of impacts and the extent to which the impacts can be mitigated would need to be addressed in subsequent wilderness studies.
· The established use of motorboats, snowmobiles, or aircraft does not make an area ineligible for wilderness. The nature and extent of any impacts on the environment and on eligibility, and the extent to which the impacts can be mitigated would need to be addressed in subsequent wilderness studies, along with the possible need to discontinue the use.
· Overflights do not make an area ineligible for wilderness designation. The nature and extent of any overflight impacts and the extent to which the impacts can be mitigated would need to be addressed in subsequent wilderness studies.
The Service will involve the public in the wilderness eligibility assessment process through notification of its intentions to conduct the assessment and publication of the Director’s determination, either as “eligible” or as “ineligible” for further wilderness study. Notification will include the issuance of news releases to local and regional news media and the publication of a final eligibility determination in the Federal Register. The final determination of an area’s eligibility, or ineligibility, for further study must be approved by the Director before publication of the final eligibility determination in the Federal Register. For areas determined to be ineligible for wilderness designation, the wilderness preservation provisions in the NPS Management Policies are not applicable. However, ineligible lands will be managed in accordance with the NPS Organic Act and all other laws, executive orders, regulations, and policies applicable to units of the national park system.
Lands and waters found to possess the characteristics and values of wilderness, as defined in the Wilderness Act and determined eligible pursuant to the wilderness eligibility assessment, will be formally studied to develop the recommendation to Congress for wilderness designation. The National Park Service will continue to undertake wilderness studies of all lands that have been determined to be eligible as a result of the wilderness eligibility assessment. Also, studies will be made of lands for which subsequent legislation directs that wilderness studies be completed.
Wilderness studies will be supported by appropriate documentation of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. The Council on Environmental Quality requires environmental impact statements for wilderness studies that will result in recommendations for designations (i.e., proposals for legislation to designate as wilderness).
A wilderness study may identify lands that are surrounded by or adjacent to lands proposed for wilderness designation but that do not themselves qualify for immediate designation due to temporary nonconforming or incompatible conditions. The wilderness recommendation forwarded to the Congress by the President may identify these lands as “potential” wilderness for future designation as wilderness when the nonconforming use has been removed or eliminated. If so authorized by Congress, these potential wilderness areas will become designated wilderness upon the Secretary’s determination, published in the Federal Register, that they have finally met the qualifications for designation by the cessation or termination of the nonconforming use.
The findings and conclusions of a formal wilderness study will be reviewed by the Director, who will then determine which lands will be forwarded to the Department of the Interior (Assistant Secretary’s Office) as “proposed” wilderness. The Director’s proposed wilderness will identify park lands that the Director believes the Secretary should recommend for immediate wilderness designation, as well as any other lands identified as “not proposed” or as “potential” wilderness.
The Secretary of the Interior is responsible for recommending to the President those lands under his/her jurisdiction that are suitable or nonsuitable for inclusion within the national wilderness preservation system. The Secretary performs this function through the Assistant Secretary’s Office by reviewing NPS proposed wilderness and either approving or revising the proposal. The final result is forwarded by the Secretary for the President’s consideration. The President is then responsible for transmitting his recommendations with respect to wilderness designation to both houses of Congress. These recommendations must be accompanied by maps and boundary descriptions. The National Park Service will track the status of the wilderness designation process in Congress.
After the President’s wilderness recommendation is formally sent to and considered by Congress, Congress may subsequently enact the legislation needed to include the area within the national wilderness preservation system as “designated” and/or “potential” wilderness. The National Park Service will assist the department and Congress in this process as requested. Lands released by Congress from further wilderness consideration will be managed in accordance with the NPS Organic Act and all other laws, executive orders, regulations, and policies applicable to nonwilderness areas of the national park system.
For the purposes of applying these policies, the term “wilderness” will include the categories of eligible, study, proposed, recommended, and designated wilderness. Potential wilderness may be a subset of any of these five categories. The policies apply regardless of category except as otherwise provided herein.
In addition to managing these areas for the preservation of the physical wilderness resources, planning for these areas must ensure that the wilderness character is likewise preserved. This policy will be applied to all planning documents affecting wilderness.
The National Park Service will take no action that would diminish the wilderness eligibility of an area possessing wilderness characteristics until the legislative process of wilderness designation has been completed. Until that time, management decisions will be made in expectation of eventual wilderness designation. This policy also applies to potential wilderness, requiring it to be managed as wilderness to the extent that existing nonconforming conditions allow. The National Park Service will apply the principles of civic engagement and cooperative conservation as it determines the most appropriate means of removing the temporary, nonconforming conditions that preclude wilderness designation from potential wilderness. All management decisions affecting wilderness will further apply the concept of “minimum requirement” for the administration of the area regardless of wilderness category. The only exception is for areas that have been found eligible, but for which, after completion of a wilderness study, the Service has not proposed wilderness designation. However, those lands will still be managed to preserve their eligibility for designation.
NPS responsibility for carrying out
wilderness preservation mandates will be shared by the Director, regional
directors, and superintendents of parks with eligible, study area, proposed,
recommended, and designated wilderness. Interagency cooperation and
coordination and training responsibilities will also be carried out at the
Superintendents will provide the information needed to prepare an annual wilderness report to Congress and to report to the Director on the status of wilderness management in the national park system. Based on this information, the Associate Director for Visitor and Resource Protection will provide the Directorate with recommendations and advice to permanently establish a system of accountability, consistency, and continuity for NPS wilderness management.
The National Park Service will seek to achieve consistency in wilderness management objectives, techniques, and practices on both an agency and an interagency basis. Accordingly, the National Park Service will seek to maintain effective intra-agency and interagency communications, and will encourage, sponsor, and participate in intra-agency and interagency training and workshops designed to promote the sharing of ideas, concerns, and techniques related to wilderness management. However, the need for interagency consistency will in no way diminish any established NPS wilderness standards and values.
Policies on wilderness planning and compliance include the following.
When necessary, all categories of wilderness may be zoned for visitor experiences and resource conditions consistent with their wilderness values within the established management zoning system for each park. However, management zoning or other land use classifications cannot and will not diminish or reduce the maximum protection to be afforded lands with wilderness values. Transition zones adjacent to wilderness may be identified to help protect wilderness values, but no transitional or “buffer” zones are appropriate within wilderness boundaries.
The superintendent of each park containing wilderness resources will develop and maintain a wilderness management plan or equivalent planning document to guide the preservation, management, and use of these resources. The wilderness management plan will identify desired future conditions, as well as establish indicators, standards, conditions, and thresholds beyond which management actions will be taken to reduce human impacts on wilderness resources.
The park’s wilderness management plan may be developed as a separate document or as an action component of another planning document. Whether prepared as a stand-alone plan or as part of another planning document, all wilderness management plans must meet the same standards for process and content as specified in this section 6.3.4. Wilderness management plans will be supported by appropriate documentation of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. The plan will be developed with public involvement and will contain specific, measurable management objectives that address the preservation and management of natural and cultural resources within wilderness as appropriate to achieve the purposes of the Wilderness Act and other legislative requirements.
Proposals having the potential to impact wilderness resources will be evaluated in accordance with NPS procedures for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act. Those procedures include the use of categorical exclusions, environmental assessments (EAs), or environmental impact statements (EISs). Administrative actions impacting wilderness must be addressed in either the environmental assessment or environmental impact statement accompanying the approved wilderness management plan or as a separate environmental compliance document.
Managers contemplating the use of aircraft or other motorized equipment or mechanical transportation within wilderness must consider impacts to the character, esthetics, and traditions of wilderness before considering the costs and efficiency of the equipment.
In evaluating environmental impacts, the National Park Service will take into account (1) wilderness characteristics and values, including the primeval character and influence of the wilderness; (2) the preservation of natural conditions (including the lack of man-made noise); and (3) assurances that there will be outstanding opportunities for solitude, that the public will be provided with a primitive and unconfined type of recreational experience, and that wilderness will be preserved and used in an unimpaired condition. Managers will be expected to appropriately address cultural resources management considerations in the development and review of environmental compliance documents impacting wilderness resources.
All management decisions affecting wilderness must be consistent with the minimum requirement concept. This concept is a documented process used to determine if administrative actions, projects, or programs undertaken by the Service or its agents and affecting wilderness character, resources, or the visitor experience are necessary, and if so how to minimize impacts. The minimum requirement concept will be applied as a two-step process that determines
· whether the proposed management action is appropriate or necessary for administration of the area as wilderness and does not cause a significant impact to wilderness resources and character, in accordance with the Wilderness Act; and
· the techniques and types of equipment needed to ensure that impacts on wilderness resources and character are minimized.
In accordance with this policy, superintendents will apply the minimum requirement concept in the context of wilderness stewardship planning, as well as to all other administrative practices, proposed special uses, scientific activities, and equipment use in wilderness. The only exception to the minimum requirement policy is for eligible areas that the Service has not proposed for wilderness designation. However, those lands will still be managed to preserve their eligibility.
When determining minimum requirements, the potential disruption of wilderness character and resources will be considered before, and given significantly more weight than, economic efficiency and convenience. If a compromise of wilderness resources or character is unavoidable, only those actions that preserve wilderness character and/or have localized, short-term adverse impacts will be acceptable.
Although park managers have flexibility in identifying the method used to determine minimum requirement, the method used must clearly weigh the benefits and impacts of the proposal, document the decision-making process, and be supported by an appropriate environmental compliance document. Parks must develop a process to determine minimum requirement until the plan is finally approved. Parks will complete a minimum requirement analysis on those administrative practices and equipment uses that have the potential to impact wilderness resources or values. The minimum requirement concept cannot be used to rationalize permanent roads or inappropriate or unlawful uses in wilderness.
Administrative use of motorized equipment or mechanical transport will be authorized only
· if determined by the superintendent to be the minimum requirement needed by management to achieve the purposes of the area, including the preservation of wilderness character and values, in accordance with the Wilderness Act; or
· in emergency situations (for example, search and rescue, homeland security, law enforcement) involving the health or safety of persons actually within the area.
Such management activities will also be conducted in accordance with all applicable regulations, policies, and guidelines and, where practicable, will be scheduled to avoid creating adverse resource impacts or conflicts with visitor use.
While actions taken to address search and rescue, homeland security and law enforcement issues are subject to the minimum requirement concept, preplanning or programmatic planning should be undertaken whenever possible to facilitate a fast and effective response and reduce paperwork.
For more detailed guidance, see Director’s Order #41 and the National Wilderness Steering Committee Guidance Paper #3: “What Constitutes the Minimum Requirements in Wilderness?”
The statutory purposes of wilderness include scientific activities, and these activities are encouraged and permitted when consistent with the Service’s responsibilities to preserve and manage wilderness.
The National Park Service has a responsibility to support appropriate scientific activities in wilderness and to use science to improve wilderness management. The Service recognizes that wilderness can and should serve as an important resource for long-term research into and study and observation of ecological processes and the impact of humans on these ecosystems. The National Park Service further recognizes that appropriate scientific activities may be critical to the long-term preservation of wilderness.
Scientific activities are to be encouraged in wilderness. Even those scientific activities (including inventory, monitoring, and research) that involve a potential impact to wilderness resources or values (including access, ground disturbance, use of equipment, and animal welfare) should be allowed when the benefits of what can be learned outweigh the impacts on wilderness resources or values. However, all such activities must also be evaluated using the minimum requirement concept and include documented compliance that assesses impacts against benefits to wilderness. This process should ensure that the activity is appropriate and uses the minimum tool required to accomplish project objectives. Scientific activities involving prohibitions identified in section 4(c) of the Wilderness Act (16 USC 1133(c)) may be conducted within wilderness when the following occur:
· The desired information is essential for the understanding health, management, or administration of wilderness, and the project cannot be reasonably modified to eliminate or reduce the nonconforming wilderness use(s); or if it increases scientific knowledge, even when this serves no immediate wilderness management purposes, provided it does not compromise wilderness resources or character. The preservation of wilderness resources and character will be given significantly more weight than economic efficiency and/or convenience.
· Compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (including completion of documented categorical exclusions, environmental assessments/findings of no significant impact, or environmental impact statements/records of decision) and other regulatory compliance (including compliance with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 USC 470(f)) are accomplished and documented.
· All scientific activities will be accomplished in accordance with terms and conditions adopted at the time the research permit is approved. Later requests for exceptions to the Wilderness Act will require additional review and approval.
· The project will not significantly interfere with other wilderness purposes (recreational, scenic, educational, conservation, or historical) over a broad area or for a long period of time.
· The minimum requirement concept is applied to implementation of the project.
Research and monitoring devices (e.g., video cameras, data loggers, meteorological stations) may be installed and operated in wilderness if (1) the desired information is essential for the administration and preservation of wilderness and cannot be obtained from a location outside wilderness without significant loss of precision and applicability; and (2) the proposed device is the minimum requirement necessary to accomplish the research objective safely.
Park managers will work with researchers to make NPS wilderness area research a model for the use of low-impact, less intrusive techniques. New technology and techniques will be encouraged if they are less intrusive and cause less impact. The goal will be for studies in NPS wilderness to lead the way in “light on the resource” techniques.
Devices located in wilderness will be removed when determined to be no longer essential. Permanent equipment caches are prohibited within wilderness. Temporary caches must be evaluated using the minimum requirement concept.
All scientific activities, including the installation, servicing, removal, and monitoring of research devices, will apply minimum requirement concepts and be accomplished in compliance with Management Policies, director’s orders, and procedures specified in the park’s wilderness management plan.
In every park containing wilderness, the conditions and long-term trends of wilderness resources will be monitored to identify the need for or effects of management actions. The purpose of this monitoring will be to ensure that management actions and visitor impacts on wilderness resources and character do not exceed standards and conditions established in an approved park plan.
As appropriate, wilderness monitoring programs may assess physical, biological, and cultural resources and social impacts. Monitoring programs may also need to assess potential problems that may originate outside the wilderness to determine the nature, magnitude, and probable source of those impacts.
The National Park Service recognizes that wilderness is a composite resource with interrelated parts. Without natural resources, especially indigenous and endemic species, a wilderness experience would not be possible. Natural resources are critical, defining elements of the wilderness resource, but they need to be managed within the context of the whole ecosystem. Natural resource management plans will be integrated with and cross-reference wilderness management plans. Pursuing a series of independent component projects in wilderness, such as single-species management, will not necessarily accomplish the over-arching goal of wilderness management. Natural resources management in wilderness will include and be guided by a coordinated program of scientific inventory, monitoring, and research.
The principle of nondegradation will be applied to wilderness management, and each wilderness area’s condition will be measured and assessed against its own unimpaired standard. Natural processes will be allowed, insofar as possible, to shape and control wilderness ecosystems. Management should seek to sustain the natural distribution, numbers, population composition, and interaction of indigenous species. Management intervention should only be undertaken to the extent necessary to correct past mistakes, the impacts of human use, and influences originating outside of wilderness boundaries.
Management actions, including the restoration of extirpated native species, the alteration of natural fire regimes, the control of invasive alien species, the management of endangered species, and the protection of air and water quality, should be attempted only when the knowledge and tools exist to accomplish clearly articulated goals.
(See Chapter 4: Natural Resource Management. Also see Director’s Order #77 series on natural resources management)
The Wilderness Act specifies that the designation of any area of the park system as wilderness “shall in no manner lower the standards evolved for the use and preservation of” such unit of the park system under the various laws applicable to that unit (16 USC Section 1133(a)(3)). Thus, the laws pertaining to historic preservation also remain applicable within wilderness but must generally be administered to preserve the area’s wilderness character. The responsible decision-maker will include appropriate consideration of the application of these provisions of the Wilderness Act in analyses and decision-making concerning cultural resources.
Cultural resources that have been included within wilderness will be protected and maintained according to the pertinent laws and policies governing cultural resources using management methods that are consistent with the preservation of wilderness character and values. These laws include the Antiquities Act and the Historic Sites, Buildings and Antiquities Act, as well as subsequent historic preservation legislation, including the National Historic Preservation Act, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation projects provide direction for protection and maintenance. Cemeteries or commemorative features, such as plaques or memorials, that have been included in wilderness may be retained (including approved access to these sites), but no new cemeteries or additions to existing cemeteries may be made unless specifically authorized by federal statute, existing reservations, or retained rights.
All fire management activities conducted in wilderness areas will conform to the basic purposes of wilderness. Actions taken to suppress wildfires must use the minimum requirements concept unless the on-site decision-maker determines in his professional judgment that conditions dictate otherwise. Preplanning is critical to ensure that emergency response incorporates minimum requirements to the greatest extent possible. Fire suppression activities should be managed in ways that protect natural and cultural resources and minimize the lasting impacts of the suppression actions. Information on developing a fire management program in wilderness is contained in Director’s Order #18: Wildland Fire Management.
Guidance on the need to suppress wildland fire or to use some wildland fires to achieve desired future conditions should appear in the park’s planning documents (for example, in the wilderness management plan and fire management plan). Information in these documents will guide managers in the selection of fire management tactics that protect natural and cultural resources from fire and from fire suppression actions.
The park’s fire management plan will provide guidance for responses to natural and human-caused wildland fires based on fuel conditions, climatic conditions, resources at risk, potential for damage to property or loss of life, both within and adjacent to the wilderness, as well as the availability of fire suppression resources.
If a wildland fire use program is implemented, planning documents will also include the prescriptions and procedures under which the program will be conducted within wilderness.
(See Fire Management 4.5)
Part of the definition of wilderness as provided by the Wilderness Act is “undeveloped federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements.” Accordingly, authorizations of NPS administrative facilities in wilderness will be limited to the types and minimum number essential to meet the minimum requirements for the administration of the wilderness area. A decision to construct, maintain, or remove an administrative facility will be based primarily on whether or not the facility is required to preserve wilderness character or values, not on considerations of administrative convenience, economic effect, or convenience to the public or park staff. Maintenance or the removal of historic structures will also comply with cultural resource protection and preservation policies and directives, and with the concept of minimum requirement management techniques for wilderness.
Administrative facilities (for example, ranger stations and/or patrol cabins, fire lookouts, radio and/or cellular telephone antennas, radio repeater sites, associated storage or support structures, drift fences, and facilities supporting trail stock operations) may be allowed in wilderness only if they are determined to be the minimum requirement necessary to carry out wilderness management objectives and are specifically addressed within the park’s wilderness management plan or other appropriate planning documents. New roads will not be built in wilderness. Temporary vehicular access may be permitted only to meet the minimum requirements of emergency situations. As rapidly as possible, disturbed resources will be restored according to an approved restoration plan. Where abandoned roads have been included within wilderness, they may be used as trails, restored to natural conditions, or managed as a cultural resource.
No permanent heliports, helipads, or
airstrips will be allowed in wilderness unless specifically authorized by
statute or legislation. Temporary landing facilities may be used to meet the
minimum requirements of emergency situations. Site improvements determined to
be essential for safety reasons during individual emergency situations may be
authorized, but no site markings or improvements of any kind may be installed
to support nonemergency use. In
Permanent storage caches are prohibited in wilderness unless necessary for health and safety purposes or when such caches are determined necessary, justified, documented, and approved through a minimum requirements analysis.
Trails will be permitted within wilderness when they are determined to be necessary for resource protection and/or for providing for visitor use for the purposes of wilderness. The identification and inventory of the wilderness trail system will be included as an integral part of the wilderness management plan or other appropriate planning document. Trails will be maintained at levels and conditions identified within the approved wilderness management plan or other planning document. Trail maintenance structures (such as water bars, gabions) may be provided, under minimum requirement protocols, where they are essential for resource preservation or where significant safety hazards exist during normal use periods. Historic and/or prehistoric trails will be administered in keeping with approved cultural resource and wilderness management plan requirements.
Borrow pits are not permitted in wilderness areas, with the exception of small-quantity use of borrow material for trails, which must be in accordance with an approved minimum requirements analysis.
The construction of new shelters for public use will generally not be allowed, in keeping with the values and character of wilderness. An existing shelter may be maintained or reconstructed only if the facility is necessary to achieve specific wilderness management objectives as identified in the park’s wilderness and cultural resources management plans. The construction, use, and occupancy of cabins and other structures in wilderness areas in Alaska are governed by applicable provisions of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and by NPS regulations in 36 CFR Part 13; such structures may be permitted only under conditions prescribed in the park’s wilderness management plan.
Although the development of facilities to serve visitors will generally be avoided, campsites may be designated when essential for resource protection and preservation or to meet other specific wilderness management objectives. In keeping with the terms of the park’s wilderness management plan, campsite facilities may include a site marker, fire rings, tent sites, food storage devices, and toilets if these are determined by the superintendent to be the minimum facilities necessary for the health and safety of wilderness users or for the preservation of wilderness resources and values. Toilets will be placed only in locations where their presence and use will resolve health and sanitation problems or prevent serious resource impacts, especially where reducing or dispersing visitor use is impractical or has failed to alleviate the problems. Picnic tables will not be allowed in wilderness except in those limited circumstances when they are necessary for resource protection and when documented and approved through a minimum requirements analysis.
Signs detract from the wilderness character of an area and make the imprint of man and management more noticeable. Only those signs necessary for visitor safety or to protect wilderness resources, such as those identifying routes and distances, will be permitted. Where signs are used, they should be compatible with their surroundings and the minimum size possible.
Policies related to wilderness boundaries include the following.
Every park with designated wilderness will possess a written legal description of the wilderness area and a map (or maps) that illustrates the legal description of the wilderness. Each park will ensure that the legal description and map(s) are filed in the appropriate locations. Wilderness boundaries have the force of federal law and may only be modified through the legislative process—unless minor adjustments and corrections are specifically authorized within the wilderness designation enabling legislation.
All cave passages located totally within the surface wilderness boundary will be managed as wilderness. Caves that have entrances within wilderness but contain passages that may extend outside the surface wilderness boundary will be managed as wilderness. Caves that may have multiple entrances located both within and exterior to the surface wilderness boundary will be managed consistent with the surface boundary; those portions of the cave within the wilderness boundary will be managed as wilderness.
In keeping with established jurisdictions and
authorities, the Service will manage as wilderness all waters included within
wilderness boundaries, and the lands beneath these waters (if owned by the
American Indian access rights and protection of sites associated with Indian tribes will be protected and maintained according to applicable laws and policies. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act reaffirms the First Amendment rights of Native Americans to access national park system lands for the exercise of their traditional religious practices. Native American human remains that were removed from wilderness areas and are subject to the NAGPRA repatriation may be reinterred at or near the site from which they were removed. American Indian religious areas and other ethnographic and cultural resources will be inventoried and protected. American Indians will be permitted access within wilderness for sacred or religious purposes consistent with the intent of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, the Wilderness Act, and other applicable authorities provided by federal statues and executive orders.
(See also Executive Order 13007 (Indian Sacred Sites))
The National Park Service will encourage and facilitate those uses of wilderness that are in keeping with the definitions and purposes of wilderness and do not degrade wilderness resources and character. Appropriate restrictions may be imposed on any authorized activity in the interest of preserving wilderness character and resources or to ensure public safety.
When resource impacts or demands for use exceed established thresholds or capacities, superintendents may limit or redirect use. If these actions are determined to be the minimally required level of management, physical alterations, public education, general regulations, special regulations, permit systems, and the local restrictions, public use limits, closures, and designations implemented under the discretionary authority of the superintendent (36 CFR 1.5 and Part 13; 43 CFR Part 36 for Alaska units) may all be used in managing use and protecting wilderness.
Park visitors need to accept wilderness on its own unique terms. Accordingly, the National Park Service will promote education programs that encourage wilderness users to understand and be aware of certain risks, including possible dangers arising from wildlife, weather conditions, physical features, and other natural phenomena that are inherent in the various conditions that comprise a wilderness experience and primitive methods of travel. The National Park Service will not modify the wilderness area to eliminate risks that are normally associated with wilderness, but it will strive to provide users with general information concerning possible risks, any recommended precautions, related user responsibilities, and applicable restrictions and regulations, including those associated with ethnographic and cultural resources.
In the context of interpretive and educational planning, national park system units with wilderness resources will (1) operate public education programs designed to promote and perpetuate public awareness of and appreciation for wilderness character, resources, and ethics while providing for acceptable use limits; (2) focus on fostering an understanding of the concept of wilderness that includes respect for the resource, willingness to exercise self-restraint in demanding access to it, and an ability to adhere to appropriate, minimum-impact techniques; and (3) encourage the public to use and accept wilderness on its own terms—that is, the acceptance of an undeveloped, primitive environment and the assumption of the potential risks and responsibilities involved in using and enjoying wilderness areas. NPS interpretive plans and programs for wilderness parks will address the primary interpretive themes for wilderness. Education is among the most effective tools for dealing with wilderness use and management problems and should generally be applied before more restrictive management tools.
(See Visitor Safety 184.108.40.206)