Laws & Policies

Law dictates many of the decisions made in everyday park management. The National Park Service Organic Act of 1916, the law that created the agency, is the driving force for park management. It states that the agency's purpose is:

"... to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects, and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

There are many related laws that regulate national parks, including the Endangered Species Act, the Historic Sites Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Clean Water Act.

Each national park has at least one law, its enabling legislation, which deals specifically with that park. Such legislation offers general guidance about managing the park. There have been three amendments to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore enabling legislation.

Laws and Regulations
Laws and regulations pertaining to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore are found in several sources. General regulations for National Park Service areas are contained in Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Special regulations have been promulgated in 36 CFR (Section 7.32) pertaining to snowmobiling, fishing, hunting, and personal watercraft at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

The Superintendent's Compendium to CFR 36, which is updated annually, contains lakeshore specific rules.

Other applicable rules originate from state statutes and Federal regulations which are assimilated (18 U.S. Code, Section 13) for use at the national lakeshore. This is particularly true in the case of traffic, boating, hunting, and fishing.

Title 16 of the United States Code addresses most of the major conservation federal laws, while Title 18 of the United States Code covers federal criminal statues.

Most areas of the national lakeshore are managed under proprietary jurisdiction. This means that the Michigan State Police, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Alger County Sheriff's Department, and the Munising City Police Department share jurisdiction on park lands and waters. Officers of these non-Federal agencies actively enforce their rules and regulations within the park in addition to Federal officers (including National Park Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

For question regarding law enforcement issues, please contact a law enforcement ranger for clarification.

United States Code (USC)
- Coast Guard, Title 14
- Conservation, Title 16
Crimes, Title 18

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
- Navigation and Navigable Waters, Title 33
- National Park Service, Title 36

Superintendent's Compendium

Policies and Guidance
The National Park Service (NPS) Directives System consists of internal instructions and guidance documents to ensure that NPS managers and staff have clear information on NPS policy and on required and/or recommended actions. It is intended to reflect the NPS's organizational values of teamwork, delegation to the most effective level, empowerment of employees, accountability, and reduction in overall paperwork. The Directives System is composed of three "levels" of documents.

Level 1 consists of the policies that appear in the book entitled Management Policies, and which set the broad framework, provide direction, and prescribe parameters for making management decisions.

Level 2 is Director's Orders, which articulate new or revised policy on an interim basis between publication dates of NPS Management Policies. They also provide specific instructions and outline requirements applicable to NPS functions, programs and activities, and are a vehicle by which the Director may delegate specific authorities and responsibilities. The main target audience for Director's Orders is superintendents, for whom they serve as an "executive summary" of important policies and procedures.

Level 3 materials include handbooks, reference manuals, procedural manuals and other documents containing comprehensive information in support of field and programmatic operations. A typical handbook or reference manual will include relevant legislation, regulations, management policies, other instructions or requirements issued through a Director's Order, as well as examples, illustrations, recommended practices, forms, etc.

In addition, the National Park Service is one of eight bureaus under the Department of the Interior. The Department also formulates policies and guidance such as that in the Departmental Manual.

While the policies and guidance are meant to provide direction to employees, we often get requests from the public and other government agencies for our policies. They may also be useful to students doing research.


Last updated: August 9, 2018

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P.O. Box 40
Munising, MI 49862


(906) 387-3700

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