Foundation Document

Tim Hauf,
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Every unit of the national park system will have a foundational document to provide
basic guidance for planning and management decisions—a foundation for planning and
management. The core components of a foundation document include a brief description
of the park as well as the park’s purpose, significance, fundamental resources and values,
and interpretive themes. The foundation document also includes special mandates and
administrative commitments, an assessment of planning and data needs that identifies planning issues, planning products to be developed, and the associated studies and data required for park planning. Along with the core components, the assessment provides a focus for park planning activities and establishes a baseline from which planning documents are developed.

A primary benefit of developing a foundation document is the opportunity to integrate and
coordinate all kinds and levels of planning from a single, shared understanding of what is
most important about the park. The process of developing a foundation document begins
with gathering and integrating information about the park. Next, this information is refined
and focused to determine what the most important attributes of the park are. The process
of preparing a foundation document aids park managers, staff, and the public in identifying and clearly stating in one document the essential information that is necessary for park management to consider when determining future planning efforts, outlining key planning issues, and protecting resources and values that are integral to park purpose and identity.

While not included in this document, a park atlas is also part of a foundation project. The
atlas is a series of maps compiled from available geographic information system (GIS) data on natural and cultural resources, visitor use patterns, facilities, and other topics. It serves as a GIS-based support tool for planning and park operations. The atlas is published as a (hard copy) paper product and as geospatial data for use in a web mapping environment. The park atlas for Channel Islands National Park can be accessed online at:

Last updated: December 5, 2017

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