Public comments are sought for major planning efforts to help identify the range of issues that should be addressed. Public scrutiny of proposed actions helps to ensure that actions are consistent with the National Park Service mission, enabling legislation, and other relevant laws and policies.
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act, each planning process provides at least two formal opportunities for the public to become involved. First, when a planning effort is announced, public scoping takes place. At that time, the public is asked to raise issues and concerns to help park staff identify areas of the plan that require more attention or are causes for concern.
Once a draft document is released, the public is provided the opportunity to examine sets of proposals (known as “alternatives”) and submit comments. The comments are then sorted and analyzed, with results often contributing to revisions in the final plan.