ah_medium_white.gifReference Manual 41 (RM-41)

Wilderness Stewardship

may 2013



The Wilderness Stewardship Reference Manual 41 (RM-41) offers comprehensive guidance to National Park Service employees responsible for managing and preserving wilderness character and the wilderness resource throughout the National Park System.  RM-41 serves as Level 3 guidance, and includes relevant legislation, regulations, Management Policies, other instructions or requirements issued through Director’s Order #41, as well as examples, illustrations, recommended practices, forms, etc.  All materials included in RM-41 have been approved by the Associate Director, Visitor and Resource Protection.


RM-41 is a dynamic resource, where guidance will be updated as needed and paired with current examples when available.  Please check back periodically for additional postings and updates and/or consult with the Wilderness Stewardship Division regarding interpretation and/or application of this guidance.  If you are interested in one or more of the resources listed below, please email the NPS Wilderness Stewardship Division (wilderness_stewardship@nps.gov).


1.      Background and Purpose

·         Management Policy 2006, Chapter 6

·         Wilderness Stewardship Program 2011 Business Plan

·         National Park Service Wilderness Reports

o   2000-2001 Report

o   2002-2003 Report

o   2004-2005 Report

o   2006-2007 Report

o   2008-2009 Report

o   2010-2011 Report

o   2012 Report

o   2013-2014 Report

·         National Park Service Wilderness Definitions

2.      Authority

·         The Wilderness Act of 1964

·         Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980

·         Legislative Guidance Applicable to NPS Wilderness Preservation and Management

3.      Roles and Responsibilities

·         Wilderness Park Superintendent Checklist

·         Wilderness Technical Core Competencies (ACNWTC)

4.      Training and Information

·         Available Wilderness Training (ACNWTC)

·         National Park Service Wilderness Website

·         National Park Service – America’s Wilderness Video Library

·         Views of the National Park Service – Wilderness

·         Views of the National Park Service – Wilderness (Spanish Version)

·         Wilderness.net Website

·         Wilderness.net Toolboxes

·         Membership and Log-in Procedures for Connect.wilderness.net

·         Park Science: Wilderness Stewardship and Science – Winter 2011-2012

5.      Identification and Designation of Wilderness Resource

·         Wilderness Land Status Definitions

·         Wilderness Eligibility Determinations and Wilderness Studies

·         Procedures for Completing Legal Descriptions and Boundary Maps

·         Legislated Boundary Map GIS Data Standards

·         Procedure for Converting Potential Wilderness to Designated Wilderness


6.      Wilderness Stewardship

·         Keeping It Wild 2:  An Updated Interagency Strategy to Monitor Trends in Wilderness Character Across the National Wilderness Preservation System

o   Briefing Paper (Oct. 2015)

o   Published Report (Oct. 2015)

·         Wilderness Character User Guide: Planning, Management and Monitoring (2014)

·         Wilderness Stewardship Plan Handbook (2014)

·         Wilderness Leadership Council White Papers

o   #1 Cultural Resources and Wilderness

o   #2 What Constitutes Appropriate Conservation and Restoration Activities in Wilderness?

o   #3 Minimum Requirements Decision Process

o   #4 Embracing the Distinction Between Wilderness and Backcountry in the National Park System

·         Minimum Requirements Analysis Toolbox – Wilderness.net

·         Minimum Requirements Decision Guide Worksheets (Download)

o   2012 Carhart Worksheet

o   2013 Generic Worksheet

·         Minimum Requirements Decision Guide – Alaska Supplement

·         Minimum Requirements Analysis for Wildland Fire

·         Minimum Requirements Analysis Case Study Examples

·         Scientific Activities and Research in NPS Wilderness: Guidelines for Wilderness Managers

·         Framework to Evaluate Proposals for Scientific Activities in Wilderness

·         Wilderness Education and Partnership Plan

·         Primary Interpretive Themes for NPS Wilderness

·         Celebrate Wilderness: Wilderness Education and Interpretation Resource Handbook

·         Wilderness Access Decision Tool (1996 USFS)

·         Board of Geographic Names: Principles, Policies, and Procedures


7.      Wilderness Use Management

·         Managing Climbing Activities in Wilderness

·         GPS-based Recreational Activities Policy Review

·         Leave No Trace

o   Principles

o   Video

·         Authority of the Resource

·         Extent Necessary Determination Process for Commercial Services

o   Appendix A:  Definitions

o   Appendix B:  Examples

o   Appendix C:  Flow Chart

o   Appendix D:  Wilderness Purposes and Examples

o   Appendix E:  Decision Document Template

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