How to Stay Involved
The National Park Service (NPS) is required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to always make a diligent effort to involve the public in federal actions.
The public plays an essential role in taking care of our National Parks, and decision making is greatly improved when we consider the public perspective. We need to hear from you...one comment can make a difference.
Although park planners and resource managers often have very specialized knowledge of an area, it would be impossible for them to know all the issues of importance to the hundreds of thousands of visitors to that area —this information needs to come from the visitors themselves. Park plans are more thorough because of the members of the public who have chosen to participate in them.
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.
Public comments made during scoping directly influence the draft plan. Park staff arecontinually reviewing your comments as they work to define the scope of what the plan willcover and develop alternatives to address the issues. Overviews of comments are often a formal part of planning meetings;at times comments are even posted during those meetings, so that public concerns are a constant presence and an active part of the discussion.
As a formal part of the planning process, National Park Service staff read and analyze all comments submitted, and written responses are developed to address concerns. Park leadership will review and evaluate all responses, making them available once the draft plan is released. Comment letters or a summary of comments received will also be posted on the project planning website.
Public meetings, site visits, workshops and open houses are a great way to share information about park projects and give interested public a chance to comment and make their voice heard.
Guide to making a public comment on a project or proposal