General Management Plan / Park Planning

Historic map of Marching Bear Group of mounds
Historic document from the effort to create "Mississippi Valley National Park"  in the early 20th Century which eventually lead to the establishment of Effigy Mounds National Monument.

NPS Photo


General Management Plan

The National Park Service (NPS) has released the Final General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (GMP/EIS) for Effigy Mounds National Monument. This plan will set the tone for the management of the park for the next 15 to 20 years.

The plan emphasizes natural and cultural resource protection while providing for a variety of appropriate visitor experiences and public enjoyment. "It took a while to get here, and a few bumps were encountered along the way, but I believe we have developed a framework for ensuring the long-term preservation and public enjoyment of this remarkable part of Iowa," said Superintendent Jim Nepstad. "The plan benefitted greatly from public comments, consultation with associated tribes and state historic preservation agencies, and some honest reflection on what has or hasn't worked in the past."

Highlights of the GMP include improvements to the existing visitor center to provide a greater depth of information. Also, development of a small contact station and improved interpretive program at Sny Magill, improved access for hikers to the South Unit and the Heritage Addition, and the establishment of a virtual research center for information exchange on mound research and management in the region. The plan also zones the park in order to constrain development to appropriate levels and appropriate places.

Site-specific plans will need to be developed - with public involvement - to accomplish many of these things, resulting in numerous opportunities for interested parties to remain engaged in park planning efforts in the coming years. Many actions the GMP proposes will require special project funding, so it could be years before the plan is fully implemented. "The GMP is kind of like a road map," Nepstad continued. "It doesn't show every curve in the road, and it doesn't pay for your gas, but it still helps you eventually get to where you want to be."

To get a copy: The document is available for download at http://parkplanning.nps. gov/efmofingmp. For a paper copy of the plan, contact the park at 563-873-3491. For more information, or for questions about the General Management Plan, please conact Superintendent Jim Nepstad at e-mail us or 563-873-3491, extension 101.

Link to GMP: efmofingmp

General Management Plan Process

In November 2005, the park received comments from the public at several scoping meetings regarding what their vision of the park was in the future. These comments along with park staff suggestions were used to create three preliminary management alternatives for the park.

During January 2007, the National Park Service conducted two meetings to inform the public of these preliminary alternatives and to receive their comments about the development of potential management alternatives for Effigy Mounds National Monument's general management plan. The public was given an opportunity to share their thoughts on which alternative they preferred, select options from any of the alternatives that they believed should be part of the park's management strategy, or add to the list of options to be considered. This was followed by a public comment period regarding the preliminary management alternatives, which ended during the Spring of 2007.

Meetings and the comments received have provided members of the General Management Plan Team with the public's view of what preliminary alternatives were acceptable and which were not. The team then met to develop the National Park Service's preferred alternative.

The planning team has developed a Revised Draft General Management Plan / Environmental Impact Statement (GMP) for Effigy Mounds National Monument. This document is a 15 to 20 year strategic plan intended to provide overall direction for future management of the National Monument, and a framework for managers to use in making decisions about how best to protect park resources, what levels and types of uses are appropriate, what facilities should be developed or removed, and how people should access the park.

This document replaces the Draft General Management Plan / Environmental Impact Statement for Effigy Mounds National Monument released in May 2009. The revisions to the document are a result of an evaluation of past construction activities and practices in the park, particularly those with the potential to harm the archeological resources. To ensure the protection of the resources, the National Park Service has spent a significant amount of time in the past two years reassessing the proper role, function, and form of development in a landscape dominated by the mounds. As a result, the alternatives now propose far less development than the May 2009 version, and some delays were introduced into the planning effort.

Last updated: January 28, 2016

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

151 Hwy 76
Harpers Ferry, IA 52146


563 873-3491 x123
Visitor Center front desk.

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