November 3, 1995


To:        Directorate, Field Directorate, WASO Division Chiefs and Park Superintendents

From:    Roger G. Kennedy /s/John J. Reynolds for Director

Subject: Use of the NPS Arrowhead Symbol


The use of the National Park Service's (NPS) arrowhead symbol is controlled through law and regulation. Section 701 of Title 18, United States Code, prohibits persons from the unauthorized manufacture, sale or possession of "any badge, identification card, or other insignia" of any department or agency of the United States, and forbids the manufacture of any "engraving, photograph, print or impression of any such badge, identification card, or other insignia." In addition, the arrowhead is protected by the trademark laws of the United States as a registered service mark. The use of the arrowhead symbol requires approval by the Director of the NPS, and must meet criteria established by NPS regulations. These regulations are codified in Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 11.

The restrictions described above are meant to apply to persons and organizations outside of the NPS. Decisions to authorize the use, either externally or internally, of an agency's symbols properly lie within the discretion of the agency. In addition to the arrowhead's use on official uniform items and publications, the NPS believes it is appropriate to utilize the symbol in ways which contribute to the purposes of education and conservation as they relate to the programs of the NPS.

Permissible Uses

The following uses of the arrowhead symbol will be permitted within the NPS without prior review by the Washington Office.

1. Business cards -- Business cards which are printed for the official use of the employee.

2. Plaques, gifts and awards -- Plaques, gifts, or awards for presentation to employees, to non-employees who have rendered service to the NPS, to visiting dignitaries, or to foreign hosts by international NPS delegation members.

3. Internal publications -- The symbol may be used on any publications prepared or commissioned by the NPS.

4. Conference materials -- The symbol may be used on folders, pads, pens, and any other items utilized at any conferences sponsored by the NPS.

5. Signs and exhibits -- The symbol may be used on signs and exhibits designed, constructed, or commissioned by the NPS for official NPS functions or purposes.

6. Special events -- The symbol may be used in conjunction with special events sponsored or co-sponsored by the NPS.

Conditional Uses

The following uses of the arrowhead symbol will be licensed after review and approval by the Washington office in accordance with the procedures outlined in subsequent sections of this directive:

1. Internal uses -- The reproduction of the symbol on any garment, piece of equipment, commemorative item or other object produced solely and expressly for sale to employees of the NPS. For the purposes of this directive, "employees" are not only those who are actively employed by NPS, but also annuitants and others who play a valued role in implementing NPS programs, including Volunteers in the Parks, members of the Student Conservation Association assigned to a park, cooperating association employees, and employees of the National Park Foundation. Sales to employees will be permitted only through a non-profit organization, subject to the review and approval procedures contained in this directive. NPS may grant an approved non-profit organization permission to enter into a third-party agreement with a for-profit vendor or manufacturer when it is assured that the provisions of this special directive will not otherwise be violated.

2. External uses -- The reproduction of the symbol on any garment, piece of equipment, commemorative item or other object, or within a publication, or in conjunction with an event or other activity, when such use is essentially a public service and will contribute to the educational and conservation programs of the NPS.

Prohibited Uses

Under no circumstances is the arrowhead symbol to be employed in any manner which would malign or denigrate the NPS or its employees. No reproduction of the symbol is permitted which in any way changes the wording or design elements found therein. The re-sale by employees of any garment, piece of equipment, commemorative item or other object acquired under any authority contained herein is prohibited. The use of the symbol on souvenirs or other items of merchandise presented for sale to the public by private enterprise operating either within or outside of areas of the National Park System is prohibited.

Review and Approval Process for Internal Conditional Uses

Requests for license to reproduce the arrowhead symbol on items requiring Washington Office review will contain, at a minimum, the following information:

a. The name, address and telephone number of the proposer(s).

b. A full description of the item to carry the symbol, including (if possible) relevant drawings and photos.

c. A narrative which explains how the item will meet the purposes outlined in this directive.

d. The name of the non-profit organization that will be licensed to market the item.

e. The vendor who will manufacture the item.

f. Details about how the item will be marketed and distributed, what the wholesale and retail costs will be, and how the proceeds from sales will be distributed.

g. How the item will be distributed.

h. Assurances that no employee of the NPS or the Interior Department will financially profit from the design, production or sale of the item.

i. An initial sample, if available.

Requests will be submitted to the Ranger Activities Division and reviewed as necessary by the Office of Policy, and the Branch of Labor and Employee Relations. Recommendations will be forwarded to the Director, who will either approve or deny the requests.

The arrowhead symbol is the insignia that identifies and distinguishes NPS employees while on duty, and the public has learned to look upon those who wear the arrowhead as authority figures. For this reason, the NPS will be especially wary of proposals that entail the use of the symbol on garments. No request will be approved for the production of garments which the committee believes would likely be mistaken for a NPS uniform item, or which would otherwise imply that the wearer was an on-duty NPS employee.

Once an initial approval has been granted, the proposer will prepare samples for review and acceptance. No production or distribution will be allowed until the first-item sale is formally accepted.

In general, approvals are for a fixed period of time and will expire 3 years after the date of approval. However, authority to use the arrowhead symbol may be revoked by the Director at any time upon 30 days written notice. Requests for renewals will follow the format for initial proposals.

Review and Approval Process for External Conditional Uses

Use of the NPS symbol by persons and organizations outside the NPS in activities that will promote or enhance the educational and conservation programs of the NPS and that will entail the display of the arrowhead symbol as part of a media production, promotional campaign, or other activity must be approved by the Director. Requests for such use will first be reviewed by the Ranger Activities Division, followed by the Office of Policy, and the Office of Public Affairs. Any such request will first be screened for consistency with other NPS regulations, policies and guidelines. If found consistent, the review will ascertain whether the proposed use of the arrowhead symbol supports the NPS educational and conservation objectives and would otherwise be appropriate. All recommendations will be forwarded to the Director, who will either approve or deny the requests.