Every unit of the national park system is required to have a formal statement of its core mission that will provide basic guidance for all planning and management decisions—a foundation for planning and management. Increasing emphasis on government accountability and restrained federal spending demand that all stakeholders are aware of the purpose, significance, interpretive themes, fundamental resources and values, and special mandates and administrative commitments of a park unit, as well as the legal and policy requirements for administration and resource protection that factor into management decisions.
A foundation document serves as the underlying guidance for all management and planning decisions for a national park unit. It describes the core mission of the park unit by identifying the purpose, significance, fundamental and important resources and values, interpretive themes, assessment of planning and data needs, special mandates and administrative commitments, and the unit’s setting in the regional context.
As carried forward from the foundational elements of the general management plan completed in 2012 for Hovenweep National Monument, this foundation document can be useful in all aspects of park management to ensure that primary management objectives are accomplished before addressing other factors that are also important, but not directly essential to achieving the park purpose and maintaining its significance. Thus, the foundation document for Hovenweep National Monument is necessary to effectively manage the park over the long term and protect park resources and values that are integral to the purpose and identity of the park unit and to address key issues affecting management.
The park atlas is also a part of the foundation project. It is a geographic information system (GIS) product that can be published as a hard-copy paper atlas and as electronic geospatial data in a Web-mapping environment. The purpose of the park atlas is to support park operations and to facilitate planning decisions as a GIS-based planning support tool. The atlas covers various geographic elements that are important for park management such as natural and cultural resources, visitor use patterns, and facilities. The park atlas establishes the available baseline GIS information for a park that can be used to support future planning activities. The park atlas is available at http://insideparkatlas.nps.gov/
Part 1: Core Components
Foundation documents include the following core elements:
The park purpose is the specific reason(s) for establishing a particular park. A park purpose statement is grounded in a thorough analysis of the legislation (or executive order) and legislative history of the park, and may include information from studies generated prior to the park’s establishment. The purpose statement goes beyond a restatement of the law to clarify assumptions about what the law means in terms specific to the park.
The significance statements express why the resources and values of the park are important enough to justify national park designation. Statements of park significance describe why an area is important within a global, national, regional, and systemwide context. Significance statements are directly linked to the purpose of the park and are verified by data or consensus that reflect the most current scientific or scholarly inquiry and cultural perceptions because the resources and values may have changed since the park was established.
Interpretive themes connect park resources to relevant ideas, meanings, concepts, contexts, beliefs, and values. They support the desired interpretive objective of increasing visitor understanding and appreciation of the significance of park resources. In other words, interpretive themes are the most important messages to be conveyed to the public about the park. Interpretive themes are based on park purpose and significance.
Fundamental resources and values are features, systems, organisms, processes, visitor experiences, scenes, sounds, smells, or other attributes of the park that merit primary consideration during planning and management because they are essential to achieving park purpose and maintaining park significance.
Brief Description of the Park
Hovenweep National Monument (Hovenweep) consists of six detached units in southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado that protect 13th century pueblo standing towers and villages at canyon head locations. The units range in size from 14 to 400 acres; one unit is surrounded by the Navajo Nation. The towers of Hovenweep were built by ancestral Puebloans, a sedentary farming culture that occupied the Four Corners area from about A.D. 500 to A.D. 1300. Similarities in architecture, masonry, and pottery styles indicate that the inhabitants of Hovenweep were closely associated with groups living at Mesa Verde and other nearby sites.
Most of the structures at Hovenweep were built between A.D. 1200 and A.D. 1300. There is a considerable variety of shapes and sizes, including square and circular towers, D-shaped dwellings, and many kivas (Puebloan ceremonial structures, usually circular). Some structures built on irregular boulders remain standing after more than 700 years.
The Hovenweep structures are the best-preserved, best-protected, and most visually striking and accessible examples of 13th century pueblo architecture and community locations within the San Juan River basin. The Goodman Point unit was the first archeological site set aside by the federal government in 1889 and is one of the largest 13th century ancestral pueblo villages in the San Juan River basin. The monument also contains examples of ancient astronomical calendars that mark important seasonal events using architecture, rock art, and sunlight.
Purpose statements identify the specific reason for the establishment of a particular park. Purpose statements are crafted through a careful analysis of the enabling legislation and legislative history that influenced the development of Hovenweep National Monument, which was first designated on March 2, 1923 (see appendix A for enabling legislation and subsequent amendments). The purpose statements reinforce the foundation for future park management administration and use decisions. The following are the purpose statements for Hovenweep National Monument:
Significance statements express why Hovenweep National Monument resources and values are important enough to merit national park unit designation. Statements of significance describe why an area is important within a global, national, regional, and systemwide context. These statements are linked to the purpose of the park unit, and are supported by data, research, and consensus. Significance statements describe the distinctive nature of the park and inform management decisions, focusing efforts on preserving and protecting the most important resources and values of the park unit.
The following significance statements have been identified for Hovenweep National Monument (please note that these statements are in no particular order):
Interpretive themes are often described as the key stories or concepts that visitors should understand after visiting a park—they define the most important ideas or concepts communicated to visitors about a park unit. Themes are derived from—and should reflect—park purpose, significance, resources, and values. The set of interpretive themes is complete when it provides the structure necessary for park staff to develop opportunities for visitors to explore and relate to all of the park significances and fundamental resources and values.
Interpretive themes are an organizational tool that reveal and clarify meaning, concepts, contexts, and values represented by park resources. Sound themes are accurate and reflect current scholarship and science. They encourage exploration of the context in which events or natural processes occurred and the effects of those events and processes. They go beyond a mere description of the event or process to foster multiple opportunities to experience and consider the park and its resources. Themes help to explain why the history of a park is relevant to people who are unconnected to an event, time, or place.
While themes are important as an organizational tool to guide management decisions, they are not intended for public use. The themes offer park staff guidance on focusing on relevant visitor experience, and what matters to the public is how these themes are represented through park services, media, programming, and facilities.
The following interpretive themes have been identified for Hovenweep National Monument:
Fundamental Resources and Values
Fundamental resources and values are those features, systems, processes, experiences, stories, scenes, sounds, smells, or other attributes determined to warrant primary consideration during planning and management processes because they are critical to achieving the park’s purpose and maintaining its significance.
The preeminent responsibility of park managers is to ensure the conservation and public enjoyment of those qualities that are critical (fundamental) to achieving the park’s purpose and maintaining its significance. These qualities are called the park’s fundamental resources and values (FRVs). Fundamental resources and values are closely related to legislative purpose, and are more specific than significance statements. Fundamental resources and values help focus planning and management on what is truly important about the park. If they are allowed to deteriorate, the park purpose and/or significance could be jeopardized.
This distinction is made to ensure that fundamental resources and values receive specific consideration in park planning processes because of their relationship to the park’s purpose and significance.
The following fundamental resources and values have been identified for Hovenweep National Monument:
Part 2: Dynamic Components
Part 2 consists of three components:
These components may change after this foundation document is published and may need to be updated periodically.
Special Mandates and Administrative Commitments
Many of the management decisions for a park unit are directed or influenced by special mandates and administrative commitments with other federal agencies, state and local governments, utility companies, partnering organizations, and other entities. Special mandates are requirements specific to a park, most often legislative or judicial, that must be fulfilled along with the park purpose. Mandates can be expressed in enabling legislation or in separate legislation following the establishment of the park. They may expand on park purpose or introduce elements unrelated to the purpose of the park. Administrative commitments are, in general, agreements that have been reached through formal, documented processes, often through memoranda of agreement. In this category are such agreements as easements, rights-of-way, arrangements for emergency service response, etc. Special mandates and administrative commitments, in many cases, support a network of partnerships that help fulfill the objectives of the park and facilitate working relationships with other organizations. They are an essential component of managing and planning for Hovenweep National Monument.
Planning Issues and Concerns
Hovenweep needs a strategy for dealing with increased visitation at remote units and for coordination with the Bureau of Land Management, tribes, educational and scientific institutions, and friends groups.
Interpretation and Education
Planning and Data Needs
With the completion of the general management plan for Hovenweep National Monument, it was concluded that other, more detailed studies and plans would be needed before specific actions could be implemented. As required, environmental compliance (National Environmental Policy Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and other relevant laws and policies) and public involvement would be included. Those additional studies and plans as outlined in the general management plan are listed below. The planning and study needs of Hovenweep National Monument are not limited to this list.
Items considered of the utmost importance were identified as “high priority,” and other items identified but not rising to the level of high priority were listed as either “medium” or “low” priority projects. Priority levels were determined by park staff in 2013. This information will be used by staff from the park and NPS Intermountain Regional Office to determine priorities and consider the future funding needs of the park.
Analysis of Fundamental Resources and Values
The analysis of fundamental resources and values articulates the importance of each fundamental resource and value; current condition, potential threats, and the related issues that require consideration in planning and management. Included in the analysis is the identification of relevant laws and NPS policies specific to the preservation and management of the resources at the park. This section of the foundation document will require periodic reviews and updates as monitoring and research improves our understanding of each fundamental resource and value.
The Foundation Document contains additional analysis and appendices. To request more of this information, email us.
Last updated: January 3, 2018