8 Use of the Parks
National parks belong to all Americans, and the National Park Service will welcome all Americans to experience their parks. The Service will focus special attention on visitor enjoyment of the parks while recognizing that the NPS mission is to conserve unimpaired each park’s natural and cultural resources and values for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of present and future generations. The Service will also welcome international visitors, in keeping with its commitment to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout the world.
Many different types of uses take place in the hundreds of park units that make up the national park system. Some of those uses are carried out by the National Park Service, but many more are carried out by park visitors, permittees, lessees, and licensees. The 1916 Organic Act, which created the National Park Service, directs the Service to conserve park resources “unimpaired” for the enjoyment of future generations. The 1970 National Park System General Authorities Act, as amended in 1978, prohibits the Service from allowing any activities that would cause derogation of the values and purposes for which the parks have been established (except as directly and specifically provided by Congress). Taken together, these two laws establish for NPS managers (1) a strict mandate to protect park resources and values; (2) a responsibility to actively manage all park uses; and (3) when necessary, an obligation to regulate their amount, kind, time, and place in such a way that future generations can enjoy, learn, and be inspired by park resources and values and appreciate their national significance in as good or better condition than the generation that preceded them. (Throughout these Management Policies, the term “impairment” is construed to also encompass “derogation.”)
8.1.1 Appropriate Use
The concept of appropriate use is especially important with regard to visitor enjoyment because, in accordance with the Organic Act, the fundamental purpose of all parks also includes providing for the enjoyment of park resources and values by present and future generations. The scope of enjoyment contemplated by the Organic Act is described in section 1.4.3. Appropriate forms of visitor enjoyment emphasize appropriate recreation consistent with the protection of the park. This includes interpretation of park resources and contemplation and understanding of the purposes for which a park unit’s resources are being preserved. Many of these forms of enjoyment support the federal policy of promoting the health and personal fitness of the general public, as set forth in Executive Order 13266 (Activities to Promote Personal Fitness).
Providing opportunities for appropriate public enjoyment is an important part of the Service’s mission. Other park uses—unrelated to public enjoyment—may sometimes be allowed as a right or a privilege if they are not otherwise prohibited by law or regulation. In exercising its discretionary authority, the Service will allow only uses that are (1) appropriate to the purpose for which the park was established, and (2) can be sustained without causing unacceptable impacts. Recreational activities and other uses that would impair a park’s resources, values, or purposes cannot be allowed. The only exception is when an activity that would cause impairment is directly and specifically mandated by Congress.
The fact that a park use may have an impact does not necessarily mean it will be unacceptable or impair park resources or values for the enjoyment of future generations. Impacts may affect park resources or values and still be within the limits of the discretionary authority conferred by the Organic Act. In these situations, the Service will ensure that the impacts are unavoidable and cannot be further mitigated. Even when they fall far short of impairment, unacceptable impacts can rapidly lead to impairment and must be avoided. For this reason, the Service will not knowingly authorize a park use that would cause unacceptable impacts.
When a use is mandated by law but causes unacceptable impacts on park resources or values, the Service will take appropriate management actions to avoid or mitigate the adverse effects. When a use is authorized by law but not mandated, and when the use may cause unacceptable impacts on park resources or values, the Service will avoid or mitigate the impacts to the point where there will be no unacceptable impacts; or, if necessary, the Service will deny a proposed activity or eliminate an existing activity.
8.1.2 Process for Determining Appropriate Uses
All proposals for park uses will be evaluated for
· consistency with applicable laws, executive orders, regulations, and policies;
· consistency with existing plans for public use and resource management;
· actual and potential effects on park resources and values;
· total costs to the Service; and
· whether the public interest will be served.
Superintendents must continually monitor and examine all park uses to ensure that unanticipated and unacceptable impacts do not occur. Superintendents should also be attentive to existing and emerging technologies that might further reduce or eliminate impacts from existing uses allowed in parks. Unless otherwise mandated by statute, only uses that meet the criteria listed in section 8.2 may be allowed.
Specific park uses will be guided by the following subsections of this chapter, and must comply also with the other chapters of these Management Policies. The Service will coordinate with appropriate state authorities regarding activities that are subject to state regulation or to joint federal/state regulation. The regulatory framework for implementing NPS policies governing use of the parks, and for determining when and where activities may be allowed, is found in 36 CFR Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, and 13. Procedures for implementing or terminating a restriction, condition, public use limit, or closure within a park area are found in 36 CFR 1.5 (but see also 36 CFR 13.30 and 43 CFR 36.11(h) for procedures specific to park areas in Alaska). Some activities may be allowed in parks only after park-specific regulations have been published, which requires extensive analysis and opportunities for civic engagement.
The following illustration shows the process by which potential uses are evaluated for appropriateness.
The National Park Service will always consider allowing activities that are appropriate to the parks, although conditions may preclude certain activities or require that limitations be placed on them. In all cases, impacts from park uses must be avoided, minimized, or mitigated through one or more of the following methods:
· visitor education and civic engagement
· temporal, spatial, or numerical limitations on the use
· the application of best available technology
· the application of adaptive management techniques
If, in monitoring a park use, unanticipated impacts become apparent, the superintendent must further manage or constrain the use to minimize the impacts, or discontinue the use if the impacts are unacceptable.
(See Park Purposes and Legislatively Authorized Uses 188.8.131.52; Park System Planning Chapter 2; Use of the Parks Chapter 8. Also see 36 CFR 1.5)
8.2 Visitor Use
Enjoyment of park
resources and values by the people of the
· provide opportunities for forms of enjoyment that are uniquely suited and appropriate to the superlative natural and cultural resources found in the parks;
· defer to local, state, tribal, and other federal agencies; private industry; and nongovernmental organizations to meet the broader spectrum of recreational needs and demands.
To provide for enjoyment of the parks, the National Park Service will encourage visitor activities that
· are appropriate to the purpose for which the park was established; and
· are inspirational, educational, or healthful, and otherwise appropriate to the park environment; and
· will foster an understanding of and appreciation for park resources and values, or will promote enjoyment through a direct association with, interaction with, or relation to park resources; and
· can be sustained without causing unacceptable impacts to park resources or values.
The primary means by which the Service will actively foster and provide activities that meet these criteria will be through its interpretive and educational programs, which are described in detail in chapter 7. The Service will also welcome the efforts of nongovernmental organizations, tour companies, guides, outfitters, and other private sector entities to provide structured activities that meet these criteria. In addition to structured activities, the Service will, to the extent practicable, afford visitors ample opportunity for inspiration, appreciation, and enjoyment through their own personalized experiences—without the formality of program or structure.
The Service may allow other visitor uses that do not meet all the above criteria if they are appropriate to the purpose for which the park was established and they can be sustained without causing unacceptable impacts to park resources or values. For the purposes of these policies, unacceptable impacts are impacts that, individually or cumulatively, would
· be inconsistent with a park’s purposes or values, or
· impede the attainment of a park’s desired conditions for natural and cultural resources as identified through the park’s planning process, or
· create an unsafe or unhealthy environment for visitors or employees, or
· diminish opportunities for current or future generations to enjoy, learn about, or be inspired by park resources or values, or
· unreasonably interfere with
o park programs or activities, or
o an appropriate use, or
o the atmosphere of peace and tranquility, or the natural soundscape maintained in wilderness and natural, historic, or commemorative locations within the park, or
o NPS concessioner or contractor operations or services.
Management controls and conditions must be established for all park uses to ensure that park resources and values are preserved and protected for the future. If and when a superintendent has a reasonable basis for believing that an ongoing or proposed public use would cause unacceptable impacts to park resources or values, the superintendent must make adjustments to the way the activity is conducted to eliminate the unacceptable impacts. If the adjustments do not succeed in eliminating the unacceptable impacts, the superintendent may (1) temporarily or permanently close a specific area, or (2) place limitations on the use, or (3) prohibit the use. Restrictions placed on recreational uses that have otherwise been found to be appropriate will be limited to the minimum necessary to protect park resources and values and promote visitor safety and enjoyment.
Any closures or restrictions—other than those imposed by law—must be consistent with applicable laws, regulations, and policies, and (except in emergency situations) require a written determination by the superintendent that such measures are needed to
· protect public health and safety;
· prevent unacceptable impacts to park resources or values;
· carry out scientific research;
· minimize visitor use conflicts; or
· otherwise implement management responsibilities.
When practicable, restrictions will be based on the results of study or research, including (when appropriate) research in the social sciences. Any restrictions imposed will be fully explained to visitors and the public. Visitors will be given appropriate information on how to keep adverse impacts to a minimum, and how to enjoy the safe and lawful use of the parks.
8.2.1 Visitor Carrying Capacity
Visitor carrying capacity is the type and level of visitor use that can be accommodated while sustaining the desired resource and visitor experience conditions in the park. By identifying and staying within carrying capacities, superintendents can manage park uses that may unacceptably impact the resources and values for which the parks were established. Superintendents will identify visitor carrying capacities for managing public use. Superintendents will also identify ways to monitor for and address unacceptable impacts on park resources and visitor experiences.
When making decisions about carrying capacity, superintendents must use the best available natural and social science and other information, and maintain a comprehensive administrative record relating to their decisions. The decision-making process should be based on desired resource conditions and visitor experiences for the area, quality indicators and standards that define the desired resource conditions and visitor experiences, and other factors that will lead to logical conclusions and the protection of park resources and values. The level of analysis necessary to make decisions about carrying capacities is commensurate with the potential impacts or consequences of the decisions. The greater the potential for significant impacts or consequences on park resources and values or the opportunities to enjoy them, the greater the level of study and analysis and civic engagement needed to support the decisions.
The planning process will determine the desired resource and visitor experience conditions that are the foundation for carrying capacity analysis and decision-making. If the time frame for making decisions is insufficient to allow the application of a carrying capacity planning process, superintendents must make decisions based on the best available science, public input, and other information. In either case, such planning must be accompanied by appropriate environmental impact analysis, in accordance with Director’s Order #12.
As park use changes over time, superintendents must continue to decide if management actions are needed to keep use at sustainable levels and prevent unacceptable impacts. If indicators and standards have been prescribed for an impact, the acceptable level is the prescribed standard. If indicators and standards do not exist, the superintendent must determine how much impact is acceptable before management intervention is required.
If and when park uses reach a level at which they must be limited or curtailed, the preferred choice will be to continue uses that are encouraged under the criteria listed in section 8.2, and to limit or curtail those that least meet those criteria. The Service will consult with tourism organizations and other affected service providers in seeking ways to provide appropriate types and levels of visitor use while sustaining the desired resource and visitor experience conditions.
(See Decision-making Requirements to Identify and Avoid Impairments 1.4.7; General Management Planning 2.3.1; Visitor Carrying Capacity 184.108.40.206; Management of Recreational Use 220.127.116.11. Also see Director’s Order #2: Park Planning; 36 CFR 1.5)
8.2.2 Recreational Activities
The National Park Service will manage recreational activities according to the criteria listed in sections 8.1 and 8.2 (and 6.4 in wilderness areas). Examples of the broad range of recreational activities that take place in parks include, but are not limited to, boating, camping, bicycling, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and packing, outdoor sports, picnicking, scuba diving, cross-country skiing, caving, mountain and rock climbing, earth caching, and swimming. Many of these activities support the federal policy of promoting the health and personal fitness of the general public, as set forth in Executive Order 13266. However, not all of these activities will be appropriate or allowable in all parks; that determination must be made on the basis of park-specific planning.
Service-wide regulations addressing aircraft use, off-road bicycling, hang gliding, off-road vehicle use, personal watercraft, and snowmobiling require that special, park-specific regulations be developed before these uses may be allowed in parks. (The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act statutory provisions (e.g., section 1110(a)) and regulatory provisions in 36 CFR Part 13 and 43 CFR 36.11(h) apply to snowmobile, motorboat, aircraft, and other means of access in units of the national park system in Alaska.)
The Service will monitor new or changing patterns of use or trends in recreational activities and assess their potential impacts on park resources. A new form of recreational activity will not be allowed within a park until a superintendent has made a determination that it will be appropriate and not cause unacceptable impacts. Restrictions placed on recreational uses that have been found to be appropriate will be limited to the minimum necessary to protect park resources and values and promote visitor safety and enjoyment.
Sounds that visitors encounter affect their recreational and/or educational experience. Many park visitors have certain expectations regarding the sounds they will hear as part of their experience. The type of park unit (for example, national battlefield, national seashore, national recreation area, national park) and its specific features often help shape those expectations. In addition to expectations of muted to loud sounds associated with nature (such as wind rustling leaves, elk bugling, waves crashing on a beach), park visitors also expect sounds reflecting our cultural heritage (such as cannons firing, native drumming, music) and sounds associated with people visiting their parks (such as children laughing, park interpretive talks, motors in cars and motorboats).
Park managers will (1) identify what levels and types of sounds contribute to or hinder visitor enjoyment, and (2) monitor, in and adjacent to parks, noise-generating human activities—including noise caused by mechanical or electronic devices—that adversely affect visitor opportunities to enjoy park soundscapes. Based on this information, the Service will take action to prevent or minimize those noises that adversely affect the visitor experience or that exceed levels that are acceptable to or appropriate for visitor uses of parks.
(See Soundscape Management 4.9; Cultural Soundscape Management 18.104.22.168. Also see 36 CFR 2.12: Audio Disturbances)
22.214.171.124 Management of Recreational Use
Superintendents will develop and implement visitor use management plans and take action, as appropriate, to ensure that recreational uses and activities in the park are consistent with its authorizing legislation or proclamation and do not cause unacceptable impacts on park resources or values. Depending on local park needs and circumstances, these plans may be prepared (1) as coordinated, activity-specific documents (such as a river use plan, a backcountry use plan, a wilderness management plan, an off-road vehicle use plan, a winter use plan); (2) as action-plan components of a resource management plan or general management plan; or (3) as a single integrated plan that addresses a broad spectrum of recreational activities. Regardless of their format or complexity, visitor use management plans will (1) contain specific, measurable management objectives related to the activity or activities being addressed; (2) be periodically reviewed and updated; and (3) be consistent with the carrying capacity decisions made in the general management plan.
The Service will seek consistency in recreation management policies and procedures on both a Service-wide and interagency basis to the extent practicable. However, because of differences in the enabling legislation and resources of individual parks, and differences in the missions of the Service and other federal agencies, an activity that is entirely appropriate when conducted in one location may be inappropriate when conducted in another. The Service will consider a park’s purposes and the effects on park resources and visitors when determining the appropriateness of a specific recreational activity.
Superintendents will consider a wide range of techniques in managing recreational use to avoid adverse impacts on park resources and values or desired visitor experiences. Examples of appropriate techniques include visitor information and education programs, separation of conflicting uses by time or location, “hardening” sites, modifying maintenance practices, and permit and reservation systems. Superintendents may also use their discretionary authority to impose local restrictions, public use limits, and closures and designate areas for a specific use or activity (see 36 CFR 1.5). Any restriction of appropriate recreational uses will be limited to what is necessary to protect park resources and values, to promote visitor safety and enjoyment, or to meet park management needs. To the extent practicable, public use limits established by the Service will be based on the results of scientific research and other available support data. However, an activity will be restricted or prohibited when, in the judgment of the superintendent, its occurrence, continuation, or expansion would (1) violate the criteria listed in section 8.2, or (2) conflict with the findings of a carrying capacity analysis with no reasonable alternative that would avoid or satisfactorily mitigate the violation or conflict.
Recreational activities that are proposed as organized events or that involve commercialization, advertising, or publicity on the part of participants or organizers are defined as special events; these events are managed in accordance with the policies in section 8.6.2, regulations in 36 CFR 2.50, and criteria and procedures in Director’s Order #53: Special Park Uses.
(See Levels of Park Planning 2.3; Wilderness Management Planning 126.96.36.199; General Policy 6.4.1; Visitor Carrying Capacity 8.2.1; Commercial Visitor Services 188.8.131.52; River Use 184.108.40.206, Backcountry Use 220.127.116.11; Fishing 18.104.22.168; Hunting and Trapping 22.214.171.124; Motorized Off-road Vehicle Use 126.96.36.199; Snowmobiles 188.8.131.52; Visitor Safety 184.108.40.206; Use by American Indians and Other Traditionally Associated Groups 8.5; Special Park Uses 8.6; Collecting Natural Products 8.8. Also see Director’s Order #2: Park Planning, and #12: Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision-making)
220.127.116.11 Commercial Visitor Services
For information on commercial visitor services, see Commercial Services 6.4.4, Commercial Visitor Services Planning 10.2.2, and Commercial Use Authorizations 10.3.
A river use management plan will be developed for each park having significant levels of river use unless the planning is accomplished through some other planning document. Appropriate types and levels of public uses will be identified and managed to prevent unacceptable impacts, particularly adverse impacts on aquatic resources, the riparian environment, and visitor enjoyment. Each river use management plan will include specific procedures for disposing of refuse and human waste. Using cooperating agency status where appropriate, plans should be coordinated with interested tribal, state and/or local governments and will include public participation.
Implementation Planning 2.3.4; National Wild and
18.104.22.168 Backcountry Use
The Park Service uses the term backcountry to refer to primitive, undeveloped portions of parks. This is not a specific management zone, but rather refers to a general condition of land that may occur anywhere within a park. Backcountry use will be managed in accordance with a backcountry management plan (or other plan addressing backcountry uses) designed to avoid unacceptable impacts on park resources or adverse effects on the visitor enjoyment of appropriate recreational experiences. The Service will seek to identify acceptable limits of impacts, monitor backcountry use levels and resource conditions, and take prompt corrective action when unacceptable impacts occur. Strategies designed to guide the preservation, management, and use of the backcountry and to achieve the park’s management objectives will be integrated into the park’s backcountry management plan. Backcountry under study, proposed, or recommended for wilderness designation will be managed consistent with the wilderness stewardship policies in chapter 6.
The number and types of facilities to support visitor use in backcountry areas, including sanitary facilities, will be maintained at the minimum necessary to achieve a park’s backcountry management objectives and to provide for the health and safety of park visitors. To avoid the need for sanitary facilities, public use levels will be managed, where practicable, in accordance with the natural system’s ability to absorb human waste. The Service will not provide refuse containers in backcountry areas. All refuse must be carried out, except that combustible materials may be burned when authorized by the superintendent.
(See Water Resource Management 4.6, Management Facilities 6.3.10; Wilderness Use Management 6.4; Visitor Carrying Capacity 8.2.1; Waste Management 22.214.171.124; Comfort Stations 9.3.3. Also see Director’s Order #83: Public Health).
Recreational fishing will be allowed in parks when it is authorized or not specifically prohibited by federal law provided that it has been determined to be an appropriate use per section 8.1 of these policies. When fishing is allowed, it will be conducted in accordance with applicable federal laws and treaty rights, and nonconflicting state laws and regulations. The Service will manage fishing activities to achieve management objectives. Before the Service issues regulations or other restrictions, representatives of appropriate tribes and state and federal agencies will be consulted to ensure that all available scientific data are considered in the decision-making process. Any such regulations or other restrictions will be developed with public involvement and in consultation with fish and wildlife management agencies as appropriate, consistent with departmental policy at 43 CFR Part 24, and as described in section 4.4.3
For NPS units in
Commercial fishing will be allowed only when specifically authorized by federal law or treaty right.
(See Implementation Planning 2.3.4; Planning for Natural Resource Management 4.1.1; Harvest of Plants and Animals by the Public 4.4.3; Facilities for Water Recreation 126.96.36.199)
188.8.131.52 Hunting and Trapping
Hunting, trapping, or any other methods of harvesting wildlife by the public will be allowed where it is specifically mandated by federal law. Where hunting activity is not mandated but is authorized on a discretionary basis under federal law, it may take place only after the Service has determined that the activity is an appropriate use and can be managed consistent with sound resource management principles.
Hunting and trapping, whether taking place as a mandated or a discretionary activity, will be conducted in accordance with federal law and applicable laws of the state or states in which a park is located. However, except for Alaska park units (which are subject to the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and regulations published at 36 CFR Part 13), the park in which hunting and trapping occur must also publish special regulations to govern the activity. Those regulations may be more restrictive than applicable state laws when necessary to prevent unacceptable impacts. Before the Service issues regulations or other restrictions, representatives of appropriate tribes and state and federal agencies will be consulted to ensure that all available scientific data are considered in the decision-making process. Any such regulations or other restrictions will be developed with public involvement.
The Service’s cooperative consultation concerning fish and wildlife management will be consistent with departmental policy at 43 CFR Part 24. This policy recognizes the broad authorities and responsibilities of federal and state agencies with regard to the management of the nation’s fish and wildlife resources, and promotes cooperative management relationships among these agencies. In particular, the policy calls on the Service to consult with state agencies on certain fish and wildlife management actions, and encourages the execution of memoranda of understanding as appropriate to ensure the conduct of programs that meet mutual objectives as long as they do not conflict with federal law or regulation.
(See Harvest of Plants and Animals by the Public 4.4.3; Genetic Resource Management Principles 184.108.40.206. Also see Director’s Order #75A: Civic Engagement and Public Involvement)
Parachuting (or BASE jumping), whether from an aircraft, structure, or natural feature, is generally prohibited by 36 CFR 2.17(a)(3). However, if determined through a park planning process to be an appropriate activity, it may be allowed pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit.
(See Appropriate Use 8.1.1)
220.127.116.11 Recreational Pack and Saddle Stock Use
Equine species such as horses, mules, donkeys and burros, and other types of animals (including llamas, alpacas, goats, oxen, dogs and reindeer) may be employed when it is an appropriate use to support backcountry transport of people and materials and will not result in unacceptable impacts. NPS regulations at 36 CFR 2.16 prohibit the use of animals other than those designated as “pack animals” for transporting equipment.
Planning for recreational stock use should be conducted in the context of visitor use planning to address social, biological, and physical carrying capacity considerations, and to make allocation decisions that minimize potential conflicts between and among user groups. The plan should (1) establish routes, trails, and areas of travel; and (2) identify the need for supporting infrastructure such as designated horse camps, hitch rails, corrals, and appropriate trailhead facilities designed for vehicles towing horse trailers. The plan should also identify sensitive natural and cultural resource areas and develop management strategies to protect these resources.
In areas where demand for available grazing for recreational and administrative stock exceeds allowable limits, alternative strategies must be developed. If available, and to prevent the spread of invasive exotic plant species, certified weed seed free hay or pellet rations should be considered as alternative feeding strategy to supplement grazing. Administrative stock use should generally follow the same rules and guidelines that are established for recreational stock use.
(See Domestic and Feral Livestock 8.6.8)
8.2.3 Use of Motorized Equipment
The variety of motorized equipment—including visitor vehicles, concessioner equipment, and NPS administrative or staff vehicles and equipment—that operates in national parks could adversely impact park resources, including the park’s natural soundscape and the flow of natural chemical information and odors that are important to many living organisms. In addition to their natural values, natural sounds (such as waves breaking on the shore, the roar of a river, and the call of a loon), form a valued part of the visitor experience. Conversely, the sounds of motor vehicle traffic, an electric generator, or loud music can greatly diminish the solemnity of a visit to a national memorial, the effectiveness of a park interpretive program, or the ability of a visitor to hear a bird singing its territorial song. Many parks that appear as they did in historical context no longer sound the way they once did.
The Service will strive to preserve or restore the natural quiet and natural sounds associated with the physical and biological resources of parks. To do this, superintendents will carefully evaluate and manage how, when, and where motorized equipment is used by all who operate equipment in the parks, including park staff. Uses and impacts associated with the use of motorized equipment will be addressed in park planning processes. Where such use is necessary and appropriate, the least impacting equipment, vehicles, and transportation systems should be used, consistent with public and employee safety. The natural ambient sound level—that is, the environment of sound that exists in the absence of human-caused noise—is the baseline condition, and the standard against which current conditions in a soundscape will be measured and evaluated.
To meet its responsibilities under Executive Order 13149 (Greening the Government through Federal Fleet and Transportation Efficiency), the Service will develop and implement a strategy to reduce its vehicle fleet’s annual petroleum consumption.
(See Soundscape Management 4.9; Chemical Information and Odors 4.11)
18.104.22.168 Motorized Off-road Vehicle Use
Off-road motor vehicle use in national park units is governed by Executive Order 11644 (Use of Off-road Vehicles on Public Lands, as amended by Executive Order 11989), which defines off-road vehicles as “any motorized vehicle designed for or capable of cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, sand, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain” (except any registered motorboat or any vehicle used for emergency purposes). Unless otherwise provided by statute, any time there is a proposal to allow a motor vehicle meeting this description to be used in a park, the provisions of the executive order must be applied.
In accordance with 36 CFR 4.10(b), routes and areas may be designated only in national recreation areas, national seashores, national lakeshores, and national preserves, and only by special regulation. In accordance with the executive order, they may be allowed only in locations where there will be no adverse impacts on the area’s natural, cultural, scenic, and esthetic values, and in consideration of other existing or proposed recreational uses. The criteria for new uses, appropriate uses, and unacceptable impacts listed in sections 8.1 and 8.2 must also be applied to determine whether off-road vehicle use may be allowed. As required by the executive order and the Organic Act, superintendents must immediately close a designated off-road vehicle route whenever the use is causing or will cause unacceptable impacts on the soil, vegetation, wildlife, wildlife habitat, or cultural and historic resources.
NPS administrative off-road motor vehicle use will be limited to what is necessary to manage the public use of designated off-road vehicle routes and areas; to conduct emergency operations; and to accomplish essential maintenance, construction, and resource protection activities that cannot be accomplished reasonably by other means.
Snowmobile use is a form of
off-road vehicle use governed by Executive Order 11644 (Use of Off-road
Vehicles on Public Lands, as amended by Executive Order 11989), and in
NPS administrative use of snowmobiles will be limited to what is necessary (1) to manage public use of snowmobile or oversnow vehicles routes and areas; (2) to conduct emergency operations; and (3) to accomplish essential maintenance, construction, and resource protection activities that cannot be accomplished reasonably by other means.
(See Unacceptable Impacts 22.214.171.124; Process for Determining New Appropriate Uses 8.1.2; Visitor Use 8.2; Recreational Activities 8.2.2; Minimum Requirement 6.3.5; Management Facilities 6.3.10; General Policy 6.4.1)
126.96.36.199 Personal Watercraft Use
Personal watercraft use is generally prohibited by 36 CFR 3.24. However, it may be allowed within a park by special regulation if it has first been determined through park planning to be an appropriate use that will not result in unacceptable impacts.
(See Unacceptable Impacts 188.8.131.52; Process for Determining New Appropriate Uses 8.1.2; Visitor Use 8.2; Recreational Activities 8.2.2. Also see 36 CFR Part 3: Boating and Water Use)
8.2.4 Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities
All reasonable efforts will be undertaken to make NPS facilities, programs, and services accessible to and usable by all people, including those with disabilities. This policy reflects the commitment to provide access to the widest cross section of the public, and to ensure compliance with the intent of the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Service will also comply with section 507 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 USC 12207), which relates specifically to the operation and management of federal wilderness areas. Specific guidance for implementing these laws is found in the Secretary of the Interior’s regulations regarding enforcement of nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in Department of the Interior programs (43 CFR Part 17, Subpart E), and General Service Administration regulations adopting accessibility standards for the Architectural Barriers Act (41 CFR Part 102-76, Subpart C).
One primary tenet of accessibility is that, to the highest degree reasonable, people with disabilities should be able to participate in the same programs and activities available to everyone else. In choosing among methods for providing accessibility, higher priority will be given to those methods that offer programs and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate. Special, separate, or alternative facilities, programs, or services will be provided only when existing ones cannot reasonably be made accessible. The determination of what is reasonable will be made only after careful consultation with persons with disabilities or their representatives. Any decision that would result in less than equal opportunity is subject to the filing of an official disability rights complaint under the departmental regulations cited above.
(See Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities 1.9.4; Physical Access for Persons with Disabilities 5.3.2; Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities 6.4.10; Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities 9.1.2. Also see Director’s Order #16A: Reasonable Accommodation for Applicants and Employees with Disabilities; Director’s Order #42: Accessibility for Visitors with Disabilities in National Park Service Programs and Services; Americans with Disabilities Act and Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards)
8.2.5 Visitor Safety and Emergency Response
184.108.40.206 Visitor Safety
The saving of human life will take precedence over all other management actions as the Park Service strives to protect human life and provide for injury-free visits. The Service will do this within the constraints of the 1916 Organic Act. The primary—and very substantial—constraint imposed by the Organic Act is that discretionary management activities may be undertaken only to the extent that they will not impair park resources and values.
While recognizing that there are limitations on its capability to totally eliminate all hazards, the Service and its concessioners, contractors, and cooperators will seek to provide a safe and healthful environment for visitors and employees. The Service will work cooperatively with other federal, tribal, state, and local agencies; organizations; and individuals to carry out this responsibility. The Service will strive to identify and prevent injuries from recognizable threats to the safety and health of persons and to the protection of property by applying nationally accepted codes, standards, engineering principles, and the guidance contained in Director’s Orders #50B, #50C, #58, and #83 and their associated reference manuals. When practicable and consistent with congressionally designated purposes and mandates, the Service will reduce or remove known hazards and apply other appropriate measures, including closures, guarding, signing, or other forms of education. In doing so, the Service’s preferred actions will be those that have the least impact on park resources and values.
The Service recognizes that the park resources it protects are not only visitor attractions, but that they may also be potentially hazardous. In addition, the recreational activities of some visitors may be of especially high-risk, high-adventure types, which pose a significant personal risk to participants and which the Service cannot totally control. Park visitors must assume a substantial degree of risk and responsibility for their own safety when visiting areas that are managed and maintained as natural, cultural, or recreational environments.
These management policies do not impose park-specific visitor safety prescriptions. The means by which public safety concerns are to be addressed is left to the discretion of superintendents and other decision-makers at the park level who must work within the limits of funding and staffing. Examples include decisions about whether to install warning signs or artificial lighting, distribute weather warnings or advisories, initiate search-and-rescue operations or render emergency aid, eliminate potentially dangerous animals, close roads and trails or install guardrails and fences, and grant or deny backcountry or climbing permits. Some forms of visitor safeguards typically found in other public venues—such as fences, railings, and paved walking surfaces—may not be appropriate or practicable in a national park setting.
(See Air Quality 4.7.1; Lightscape Management 4.10; General Policy 6.4.1; Siting Facilities to Avoid Natural Hazards 220.127.116.11; Waste Management and Contaminant Issues 9.1.6; Risk Management Program 10.2.4.8; Food Service Sanitation Inspections 10.2.4.14)
18.104.22.168 Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Operations
The National Park Service will develop a program of emergency preparedness in accordance with title VI of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 USC 5195-5197g); National Security Decision Directive 259 (February 4, 1987); Department of the Interior policy; and other considerations at the Washington headquarters, regional, and park levels. The program will (1) provide guidance for incident management at the park level and management and relief for emergency incidents and events beyond park capabilities; (2) ensure the agency complies with the Presidential Homeland Security Directives, the National Emergency Response Plan, and the National Incident Management System standards; and (3) support interagency and national response to major incidents. The purpose of the program will be to provide for visitor and employee safety and the protection of resources and property to the extent possible. This program will include a systematic method for alerting visitors about potential disasters and evacuation procedures.
Superintendents may assist other agencies with emergencies outside of parks, as authorized by 16 USC 1b(1). To the extent practicable and in accordance with Director’s Order #20, written agreements with other agencies must first be in effect. NPS employees who are outside the area of their jurisdiction and who are directed by their supervisors to provide emergency assistance to other agencies will be considered to be acting within the scope of their employment.
NPS emergency operations will be conducted using the Incident Command System of the National Interagency Incident Management System (NIIMS). The Unified Command System (within the Incident Command System) will be used when other agencies are involved. Each park superintendent will develop and maintain an emergency operations plan to ensure an effective response to all types of emergencies that can be reasonably anticipated.
As one element of the emergency operations plan, or as a separate document, each park must have an oil and chemical spill response management plan for spills that result from NPS activities or from activities that are beyond NPS control (such as commercial through-traffic on roads that pass through a park). The plans will place first priority on responder and public safety.
Employees will not be permitted to respond to hazardous material spills unless they are properly qualified and certified in accordance with Director’s Order #30B: Hazardous Spill Response. The Service will seek to recover all allowable direct and indirect costs for responding to oil or hazardous materials spills.
Parks that have their own aircraft or contract for the use of aircraft must have an aircraft crash rescue response plan or other planning document in place.
(See Compensation for Injuries to Natural Resources 4.1.6; Emergency Management 22.214.171.124. Also see Director’s Order #55: Incident Management Program; Director’s Order #60: Aviation Management)
126.96.36.199 Search and Rescue
To provide for the protection and safety of park visitors, the Service will make reasonable efforts to search for lost persons and rescue sick, injured, or stranded persons. This responsibility may be fulfilled by NPS staff or by qualified search-and-rescue organizations or agencies that are capable of responding to life-threatening emergencies pursuant to the terms of a formal agreement. Deceased persons will be evacuated unless the level of risk to the rescue party is found to be unacceptably high. Search managers and superintendents will jointly determine when to terminate a search. The Service will not charge visitors for search-and-rescue operations. Search-and-rescue operations will be conducted using the Incident Command System.
(See Management Facilities 6.3.10; General Policy 6.4.1. Also see Director’s Order #59: Search and Rescue)
188.8.131.52 Dive Operations
NPS dive operations in rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and oceans will be used to support other park operations, including scientific inquiry, search and rescue, law enforcement, public education, and resource and facility management. The level of service provided within a park will be determined through a dive program needs assessment. Personal safety of those engaged in diving activities is of primary importance and will not be compromised for any reason. NPS diving activities will not be permitted in any park that does not have an approved safe practices manual (dive safety plan).
(See Director’s Order #4: Diving Management. Also see 29 CFR 1910, subpart T, 485 DM 28)
184.108.40.206 Public Health Program
The Service will work to identify public health issues and disease transmission potential in the parks and to conduct park operations in ways that reduce or eliminate these hazards. Park managers will pursue these goals with technical assistance provided under the auspices of a Service-wide public health program. The public health program will use the consultation services of commissioned officers of the U.S. Public Health Service.
220.127.116.11 Emergency Medical Services
The Service will make reasonable efforts to provide appropriate emergency medical services for persons who become ill or injured. An emergency medical services program will be maintained, where appropriate, to provide transportation and prehospital care of the sick and injured, which may range from minor first aid to advanced life support in various environmental settings. Transportation may include everything from patrol cars and ambulances to fixed-wing planes and helicopter air ambulances, consistent with departmental policies regarding aircraft use.
Qualified emergency medical services in local communities may be used if such services can respond rapidly enough in life-threatening emergencies. When such services are not available, the Park Service will make a reasonable effort to provide a level of emergency medical service commensurate with park needs and in response to an emergency medical needs assessment. Each superintendent will develop and implement a program to meet those needs in accordance with Director’s Order #51: Emergency Medical Services. Extended emergency medical services operations will be conducted using the Incident Command System.
(Also see Director’s Order #55: Incident Management Program)
8.2.6 Recreation Fees and Reservations
The National Park Service may charge a recreation entrance or expanded amenity recreation (use) fee at parks when authorized by law. Although these fees may provide for the support of the overall management and operation of parks, as set forth in the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act and other relevant statutes, they are not intended to offset the operational costs associated with a park. Such services include protection; resource management; information and orientation; maintenance of park facilities; and interpretation to foster an understanding and appreciation of each park’s resources, management procedures, regulations, and programs. Fees may be instituted for secondary or special services that the Service cannot or elects not to offer because of economic constraints or the need for special skills or equipment or because they are purely supplemental programs. The Service may also contract or enter into an agreement for the collection of recreational fees if there is a demonstrated benefit to the collecting park unit. In all cases, fee programs will support park purposes and comply with appropriate Service policies and standards and federal law.
(See Commercial Use Authorizations 10.3. Also see Director’s Order #22: Fee Program)
18.104.22.168 Recreation Fees
Visitors who use federal facilities and services for recreation may be required to pay a greater share of the cost of providing those opportunities than the population as a whole. Under the guidelines and criteria established by law and regulation, the Service will collect recreation fees of the appropriate type for its parks, facilities, and programs. No fees will be collected in circumstances in which the costs of collection would exceed revenue or where fee collection is prohibited by law or regulation. Fees charged for recreational activities will be collected only in accordance with the applicable authority, and recreation fee revenues will be managed according to law and policy. Fee rates will be reasonable and equitable and consistent with criteria and procedures contained in law and NPS guidance documents. Those who lawfully enter or use a park for activities not related to recreation will not be charged an entrance fee, expanded amenity recreation use fee, or special recreation permit fee. Examples of nonrecreation exemptions include persons entering parks for
· First Amendment activities, which are exempt from all fees;
· special park uses such as agricultural, grazing, and commercial filming activities (all of which are subject to special park use fees);
· NPS-authorized research activities;
· federal, state, tribal, and local government business;
· hospital in-patients involved in medical treatment or therapy;
· a leaseholder or property owner accessing their property;
· outings conducted for noncommercial educational purposes by schools and other bona fide academic institutions.
Current law (the Federal Lands
Recreation Enhancement Act) prohibits charging entrance fees to persons 15
years of age and younger. In
(See Fees 22.214.171.124; First Amendment Activities 8.6.3)
126.96.36.199 National Recreation Reservation Service
Superintendents are encouraged to participate in a reservation service for campgrounds and other facilities, and for tours or other services operated or provided by the Park Service for visitors when doing so will
· better serve park visitors, or
· ensure the protection of park resources, or
· increase public awareness of lesser-known parks, or
· improve the efficiency of park operations or administration.
To avoid duplicative costs and confusion, if a reservation service will be employed in a park, the Service-wide recreation reservation vendor will be the preferred provider of that service. The vendor’s services may be expanded or new services may be developed based on NPS needs and the vendor’s capacity to accommodate the needs. If a superintendent wishes to participate in a different reservation system, a determination must first be made that the Service-wide vendor will not accommodate the park’s reservation needs. Authorization must be obtained from the Director before participating in a different reservation system. Concessioners may use the NPS reservation system or some other of their choosing.
(See Chapter 7: Interpretation and Education)
The Service will support and promote appropriate visitor use through cooperation and coordination with the tourism industry. As part of this effort, the Service will
· develop and maintain a constructive dialogue and outreach effort with public and private organizations and businesses, including state and local tourism and travel offices;
· establish positive and effective working relationships with park concessioners and others in the tourism industry to ensure a high quality of service to park visitors;
· collaborate with industry professionals to promote sustainable and informed tourism that incorporates socioeconomic and ecological concerns and supports long-term preservation of park resources and quality visitor experiences; and
· use this collaboration as an opportunity to encourage and showcase environmental leadership by the Service and by the tourism industry, including park concessioners.
(Also see Director’s Order #17: National Park Service Tourism)
8.3 Law Enforcement Program
The law enforcement program is an important tool in carrying out the NPS mission. The objectives of the NPS law enforcement program are (1) the prevention of criminal activities through resource education, public safety efforts, and deterrence; and (2) the detection and investigation of criminal activity and the apprehension and successful prosecution of criminal violators. In carrying out the law enforcement program, the Service will make reasonable efforts to protect the natural and cultural resources entrusted to its care and to provide for the protection, safety, and security of park visitors, employees, concessioners, and public and private property.
Law enforcement is characterized by high risks and inherent dangers to enforcement officers, and by high public expectations that law enforcement activities will be performed in a lawful and professional manner. It is therefore essential that the Service issue clear policies and procedures to guide the law enforcement program, and that commissioned employees receive the training and equipment necessary to perform their duties successfully. The NPS law enforcement program will be managed and supervised in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations; Part 446 of the Department of the Interior Manual; all applicable Secretarial directives, these Management Policies; and Director’s Order #9: Law Enforcement Program and Reference Manual #9 (or U. S. Park Police General Orders, as appropriate). To help sustain the high level of public trust necessary for an effective law enforcement program, commissioned employees will adhere to the Department of the Interior’s law enforcement code of conduct and the standards of ethical conduct found in Reference Manual 9.
All necessary and appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that the Park Service maintains a professional law enforcement program. The authority and responsibility to manage the NPS Commissioned Park Ranger program and U.S. Park Police operations will flow in a logical order from the Director and in accordance with departmental policy.
8.3.2 The Context for Law Enforcement
Park law enforcement activities will be managed by superintendents as part of a comprehensive, interdisciplinary effort to protect resources, manage public use, and promote public safety and appropriate enjoyment. This is in keeping with guidance provided by Congress in 1976 when it amended the General Authorities Act (16 USC 1a-6):
The Committee intends that the clear and specific enforcement authority contained in this subsection, while necessary for the protection of the Federal employees so involved, will be implemented by the Secretary to ensure that law enforcement activities in our National Park System will continue to be viewed as one function of a broad program of visitor and resource protection. (House Report No. 94-1569, September 16, 1976)
8.3.3 Shared Responsibilities
Congress has authorized the designation of certain employees as law enforcement officers, with the responsibility to “maintain law and order and protect persons and property within areas of the National Park System” (16 USC 1a 6(b)). Only employees who meet the standards prescribed by and who are designated by the Secretary of the Interior may perform law enforcement duties. The duties of these commissioned employees will not be limited to just law enforcement; they will also continue to incorporate a diversity of other protection concerns, as stipulated in House Report No. 94-1569.
The Service recognizes that effective enforcement requires a cooperative community effort. Therefore, employees without law enforcement commissions will continue to share responsibility for the protection of park resources and visitors, and they will be expected to report any apparent violations or suspicious activities. All park employees will be trained to recognize, observe, and record criminal acts and illegal activities. The Service will also encourage and assist park neighbors in the development of cooperative crime prevention and detection programs.
Extended law enforcement operations will be conducted using the Incident Command System of the National Interagency Incident Management System.
8.3.4 Enforcement Authority
Within national park system boundaries, the Service will fulfill its law enforcement responsibilities using NPS employees. However, the Park Service is authorized by 16 USC 1a-6(c) to appoint (deputize) another agency’s qualified law enforcement personnel as special police when it will benefit the administration of a park area. Deputations may be issued for the purpose of obtaining supplemental law enforcement assistance when deemed economical and in the public interest, and with the concurrence of the other agency. All such appointments must be approved by the senior NPS law enforcement official or his/her designee and supported by a written agreement with the other agency at the park or national level, except when there is insufficient time because of an emergency law enforcement situation. While deputations may be used to supplement NPS law enforcement capabilities, they may not be used to transfer NPS law enforcement responsibilities to state or local governments.
The Service is authorized to use appropriated funds for “rendering of emergency rescue, fire fighting, and [other] cooperative assistance to nearby law enforcement and fire prevention agencies and for related purposes outside of the National Park System”(16 USC 1b(1)). Further, insofar as 16 USC 1b(1) does not confer arrest authority to NPS personnel who act outside park boundaries, state arrest authority is first needed before NPS personnel can enforce state law or engage in law enforcement activity outside national park system boundaries.
This authority will be used in emergency situations, only after first determining that such actions will facilitate the administration of the park or be an effective management tool for obtaining mutual assistance from other agencies. Furthermore, the authority is intended for use only in response to an unexpected occurrence that requires immediate action, which may include one or more of the following:
· emergency responses such as life-or-death incidents, serious injury/fatality accident/incident scenes, crime scenes involving the protection of human life, officer needs assistance, threats to health or safety of the public;
· emergency or law enforcement incidents directly affecting visitor safety or resource protection;
· probable-cause felonies and felonies committed in the presence of and observed by U.S. Park Rangers, Special Agents, or U.S. Park Police;
· misdemeanors committed in the presence of U.S. Park Rangers, Special Agents, or U.S. Park Police that present an immediate threat to the health and safety of the public.
Except where specifically provided by acts of Congress codified in the District of Columbia Code, sections 5-201 to 5-208 (2001), the Service may not assume law enforcement responsibility outside of a park in lieu of the legitimate responsibilities of nearby agencies. Cooperative assistance rendered to nearby law enforcement agencies outside park boundaries should be limited to only those actions or efforts that support or assist those agencies.
The term jurisdiction defines the sphere of authority and outlines the boundaries or territorial limits within which any particular authority may be exercised. Jurisdiction may be either exclusive, partial, concurrent, or proprietary. Insofar as is practicable, the Service will seek to acquire concurrent legislative jurisdiction for all units of the national park system, as required by the 1976 amendment to the General Authorities Act. Concurrent jurisdiction allows the Service to enforce federal criminal statutes and also to assimilate state law under 18 USC 13 when no applicable federal law or regulation exists. Concurrent jurisdiction will allow for the more efficient conduct of both state and federal law enforcement functions within the parks.
8.3.6 Use of Force
Commissioned employees may use a wide variety of defensive equipment and force options in response to various threats and other enforcement situations. The primary consideration is the timely and effective application of the appropriate level of force required to establish and maintain lawful control.
8.3.7 Law Enforcement Public Information and Media Relations
The National Park Service will provide information to the public and the news media in accordance with applicable laws, departmental policy, and Director’s Order #75B: Media Relations. Superintendents should identify appropriate opportunities to (1) enhance deterrence by publicizing arrests, weapons seizures, and successful prosecutions; (2) highlight cooperation and assistance activities (e.g., Park Watch); and (3) educate the public about the full range of threats to and the difficulty in protecting park resources.
The right of the public to obtain information about government operations and activities is subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act.
(See Civic Engagement 1.7. Also see Director’s Order #66: FOIA and Protected Resource Information; Director’s Order #75A: Civic Engagement and Public Involvement)
8.3.8 Homeland Security
The Park Service will work cooperatively with the Department of the Interior; Department of Homeland Security; and other federal, state, and local agencies to prevent and respond to foreign and domestic attacks on American soil. The Park Service will maintain a capacity to rapidly move law enforcement personnel to critical asset and infrastructure or other identified areas in the event of a terrorist attack, elevated threat level, or other major emergency incident.
(See National Emergency Response Plan)
8.4 Overflights and Aviation Uses
A variety of aircraft, including military, commercial, general aviation, and aircraft used for NPS administrative purposes, fly in the airspace over national parks. Although there are many legitimate aviation uses, overflights can adversely affect park resources and values and interfere with visitor enjoyment. The Service will take all necessary steps to avoid or mitigate unacceptable impacts from aircraft overflights.
Because the nation’s airspace is managed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Service will work constructively and cooperatively with the Federal Aviation Administration and national defense and other agencies to ensure that authorized aviation activities affecting units of the national park system occur in a safe manner and do not cause unacceptable impacts on park resources and values and visitor experiences. The Service will build and maintain a cooperative and problem-solving relationship with national defense agencies to address the congressionally mandated mission of each agency and prevent or mitigate unacceptable impacts of military training or operational flights on park resources, values and the visitor experience. Cooperation is essential because the other agencies involved have statutory authorities and responsibilities that must be recognized by the Service.
(See Soundscape Management 4.9. Also see Director’s Orders #47: Soundscape Preservation and Noise Management; #60: Aviation Management)
Aviation can provide an important,
and in some cases the preferred, means of access to remote areas in certain
parks, especially in
For the general public and for aviation interests, the Service will develop educational materials describing the importance of the natural soundscape and tranquility to park visitors, as well as the need for cooperation from the aviation community.
(See Chapter 7: Interpretation and Education; Soundscape Management 4.9)
8.4.3 General Aviation
The Service will work closely with the Federal Aviation Administration and with general aviation organizations to ensure that general aviation operations over units of the national park system are conducted in accordance with applicable FAA advisories and “fly-friendly” techniques and procedures designed to help pilots minimize impacts on national parks. The Service will seek the assistance of these organizations in problem resolution if general aviation concerns arise over national parks.
8.4.4 Administrative Use
Aviation is a necessary and acceptable management tool in some parks when used in a manner consistent with the NPS mission. Aviation activities will comply with all applicable policies and regulations issued by the Department of the Interior, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Park Service. In its administrative use of aircraft, the Service will
· use, to the maximum extent practicable, the quietest aircraft available for its aviation operations;
· limit official use of flights over parks to those needed to support or carry out emergency operations or essential management activities in cases where there are no practical alternatives or when alternative methods would be unreasonable;
· give full consideration to safety; wilderness management implications; impacts on resources, values, and opportunity for visitor enjoyment; impacts on other administrative activities; and overall cost-effectiveness;
· plan, schedule, and consolidate flights so as to avoid or minimize unacceptable impacts on park resources and values and visitor enjoyment;
· work cooperatively with other agencies using aircraft and airspace over parks to adhere to the above standards.
(Also see Director’s Order #60: Aviation Management)
8.4.5 Military Aviation
The Service will work cooperatively with agencies of the Department of Defense to address the congressionally mandated missions of all agencies. In addition, the Service will prevent or strive to mitigate any unacceptable impacts of overflights related to military training or operational low-level overflights. Superintendents are responsible for opening lines of communication with base commanders controlling military training routes or military operations areas that may affect their parks, and for developing formal agreements that mitigate identified impacts.
8.4.6 Commercial Air Tour Management
The National Parks Air Tour Management Act of 2000 and implementing FAA regulations provide for a joint FAA/NPS planning process that will lead to the management by the Federal Aviation Administration of commercial air tours over national parks (with the exception of parks in Alaska and Rocky Mountain National Park, which are specifically excluded from the process). The Service, as a cooperating agency, will assist the Federal Aviation Administration in developing an air tour management plan (ATMP) for each park with existing or proposed air tours. Superintendents will work cooperatively with the Federal Aviation Administration, air tour operators, and other stakeholders in the development of these plans and will determine the nature and extent of impacts on natural and cultural resources and visitor experience opportunities inside park boundaries. The Federal Aviation Administration, with responsibility for ensuring the safe and efficient use of the nation’s airspace and protecting the public health and welfare from aircraft noise, will implement the air tour management plans and regulate commercial air tours in accordance with it.
8.4.7 Permitted Overflights
When issuing permits for activities such as filming or research in which the use of aircraft is proposed, the superintendent will determine whether use is appropriate and apply conditions to protect park resources and values from unacceptable impacts. Permit requests will be denied if the activity will have unacceptable impacts on a park’s resources, values, or desired visitor experiences.
Private or commercial aircraft may
be operated in parks only on lands or water surfaces designated by the Park
Service as landing sites through special regulation. (See section 8.4.1
The National Park Service will also work with entities having jurisdiction over landing sites and airports adjacent to parks for the purpose of preventing, reducing, or otherwise mitigating the effects of aircraft operations. Whether landing sites or airports are situated within or adjacent to parks, the objective will be to minimize noise and other impacts and confine them to the smallest and most appropriate portion of the park, consistent with safe aircraft operations.
(Also see 36 CFR 2.17; 43 CFR 36.11 (f))
8.5 Use by American Indians and Other Traditionally Associated Groups
The National Park Service will
develop and implement its programs in a manner that reflects knowledge of and
respect for the cultures of American Indian tribes or groups with demonstrated
ancestral ties to particular resources in parks. Evidence of such ties will be
established through systematic archeological or anthropological studies,
including ethnographic oral history and ethnohistory studies or a combination
of these sources. For purposes of these policies, the term American Indian tribe
means any tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community of
Indians, including any
The Service will regularly and actively consult with American Indian tribal governments and other traditionally associated groups regarding planning, management, and operational decisions that affect subsistence activities, sacred materials or places, or other resources with which they are historically associated. Information about the outcome of these consultations will be made available to those consulted.
In developing its plans and carrying out its programs, the Service will ensure the following:
· NPS general regulations governing access to and use of natural and cultural resources in parks will be applied in an informed and balanced manner consistent with park purposes that (1) does not unreasonably interfere with American Indian tribal use of traditional areas or sacred resources, and (2) does not violate the criteria listed in section 8.2 for use of the parks.
· Superintendents will establish and maintain consulting relationships with potentially affected American Indian tribes or traditionally associated groups.
· Management decisions will reflect knowledge about and understanding of potentially affected American Indian cultures and people, gained through research and consultations with the potentially affected groups.
The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (42 USC 1996) states that
Henceforth it shall be the policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right to freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indians, Eskimo, Aleut, and Native Hawaiians, including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.
The National Park Service recognizes that site-specific worship is vital to Native American religious practices. As a matter of policy and in keeping with the spirit of the law, and provided the criteria listed in section 8.2 for use of the parks are not violated, the Service will be as unrestrictive as possible in permitting Native American tribes access to park areas to perform traditional religious, ceremonial, or other customary activities at places that have been used historically for such purposes. In allowing religious access by other entities, including nonrecognized Indian groups, the Service will consider requests individually, being mindful not to take actions that will either advance or inhibit religion. The Service will not direct visitor attention to the performance of religious observances unless the Native American group so wishes.
With regard to consumptive use of park resources, current NPS policy is reflected in regulations published at 36 CFR 2.1 and 36 CFR Part 13. These regulations allow superintendents to designate certain fruits, berries, nuts, or unoccupied seashells that may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption if it will not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproductive potential of a plant species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources. The regulations do not authorize the taking, use, or possession of fish, wildlife, or plants for ceremonial or religious purposes, except where specifically authorized by federal statute or treaty rights or where hunting, trapping, or fishing are otherwise allowed.
When authorized under National Historic Preservation Act, the Archeological Resources Protection Act or other provisions of law, the Service will protect sacred resources to the extent practicable and in a manner consistent with the goals of American Indian tribes or other traditionally associated groups. The location and character of sacred sites will be withheld from public disclosure if disclosure will cause significant invasion of privacy, risk harm to the historic resource, or impede the use of a traditional religious site by practitioners.
Members of American Indian tribes or traditionally associated groups may enter parks for traditional nonrecreational activities without paying an entrance fee.
The ceremonial use of peyote will
be limited to members of the
(See Relationship with American Indian Tribes 1.11; Consultation 5.2.1; Ethnographic Resources 188.8.131.52; first Amendment Activities 8.6.3; Consumptive Uses 8.9. Also see Executive Order 13007 (Indian Sacred Sites); Director’s Orders #71A: Government-to-government Relationships with Tribal Governments, and #71B: Indian Sacred Sites)
A special park use is defined as an activity that takes place in a park area, and that
· provides a benefit to an individual, group, or organization rather than the public at large;
· requires written authorization and some degree of management control from the Service in order to protect park resources and the public interest;
· is not prohibited by law or regulation;
· is not initiated, sponsored, or conducted by the Service; and
· is not managed under a concession contract (see chapter 10), a recreation activity for which the NPS charges a fee, or a lease (see chapter 5).
184.108.40.206 Requests for Permits
Using criteria and procedures outlined in Director’s Order #53: Special Park Uses, each request to permit a special park use or renew authorization of an existing use will be reviewed and evaluated by the superintendent according to the terms of applicable legislation, regulations, and management planning documents. When considering permit requests, superintendents will take into account the Service-wide implications of their decisions. A superintendent must deny initial requests or requests for renewal upon finding that the proposed activity would cause unacceptable impacts. The superintendent likewise must terminate previously authorized special park uses based on such a finding.
(See Appropriate Use of the Parks 1.5; Unacceptable Impacts 220.127.116.11; Process for Determining New Appropriate Uses 8.1.2)
Cost recovery and performance bond and liability insurance requirements will be imposed, consistent with applicable statutory authorities and regulations. All costs incurred by the Service in receiving, writing, and issuing the permit, monitoring the permitted use, restoring park areas, or otherwise supporting a special park use may be paid by the permittee. The money will be retained by the park as reimbursement.
When appropriate, the Service will also collect a fee for the use of the land or facility based on a market evaluation. Fees collected for use of the land or facility will be deposited into the U.S. Treasury.
Based on the published schedule, commercial filming and still photography activities requiring a permit are subject to a location fee. The money will be retained by the Park Service in accordance with the fee demonstration program.
8.6.2 Special Events
Special events—such as sports, pageants, regattas, public spectator attractions, entertainment, ceremonies, and encampments—may be permitted by the superintendent when (1) there is a meaningful association between the park area and the event, and (2) the event will contribute to visitor understanding of the significance of the park area. However, a permit must be denied if the event would be disallowed under the criteria listed for unacceptable impacts in sections 18.104.22.168 and 8.2.
Superintendents must ensure that appropriate permit conditions are imposed for special events. Permit conditions are intended to mitigate damage to park resources and values while ensuring that any necessary resource restoration and rehabilitation is completed. Permit conditions should include conditions on resource protection as well as requirements for cost recovery and fees, a hold-harmless clause, liability insurance, and bonding.
The Park Service will not permit the staging of an event in an area that is open to the public, or the closure of an area that is open to the public, when the event
· is conducted primarily for the material or financial benefit of a for-profit entity; or
· awards participants an appearance fee or prizes of more than nominal value; or
· requires in-park advertising or publicity (unless the event is co-sponsored by the Service); or
· charges a separate public admission fee.
However, park buildings or specially designated locations that are suitable and appropriate may be made available for private, invitation-only events. Admission fees or any other monies associated with the event will not be collected by the permittee on park premises.
Large-scale events will be managed using the Incident Command System. Donor recognition associated with special events is addressed in Director’s Order #21: Donations and Fundraising.
(See Special Events 6.4.5; Personal Services 7.3.1; Cultural Demonstrators 7.5.7; Facilities for Arts and Culture 22.214.171.124. Also see Director’s Order #55: Incident Management Program; 36 CFR 2.50; 36 CFR 7.96)
126.96.36.199 Helium-filled Balloons
Helium-filled balloons pose a danger to the health and safety of marine wildlife (such as sea turtles and sperm whales) and create a litter problem. Therefore, no releases of helium-filled balloons into the atmosphere within a park will be authorized, except for research or planning purposes. Releasing balloons indoors where they can be retrieved may be authorized under permit.
188.8.131.52 Fireworks Displays
Fireworks displays will be considered unless they pose an unacceptable risk of wildland or structural fire or will cause unacceptable impacts on park resources or values or jeopardize public safety. In all instances, the decision to approve or deny a request will be made by the superintendent following consultation with the regional safety officer. Fireworks displays will be conducted in compliance with the National Fire Protection Association Code for the Display of Fireworks (NFPA 1123).
The sale of food and merchandise in the parks may be allowed when managed under a commercial use authorization that does not conflict with a concession contract and that complies with applicable public health codes and Director’s Order #83: Public Health. The sale of printed matter as defined in 36 CFR 2.52, 36 CFR 7.96(k) and Reference Manual 53 is allowed under a special use permit. The sale of products produced as part of living exhibits, interpretive demonstrations, or park programs is addressed in section 7.5.7.
(See Commercial Use Authorizations 10.3)
8.6.3 First Amendment Activities
The National Park Service will authorize the use of park land for public assemblies, meetings, demonstrations, religious activities, and other public expressions of views protected under the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution, in accordance with 36 CFR 2.51 or 36 CFR 7.96. To ensure public safety and the protection of park resources and values, and to avoid assigning the same location and time to two or more activities, the Service may manage these activities by issuing a permit to regulate the time, location, number of participants, use of the facilities, and number and type of equipment used, but not the content of the message presented.
For all parks except those within designated portions of the National Capital Region, locations that are available for public assemblies and other First Amendment activities, including the sale and distribution of printed matter, will be so designated by the superintendent on a map in accordance with procedures and criteria found in NPS regulations (36 CFR 1.5, 1.7, 2.51, and 2.52), unless the sites are otherwise protected from public disclosure, such as sites sacred to American Indians or sites with vulnerable natural and cultural resources. Selected National Capital Region parks are subject to special demonstration regulations found at 36 CFR 7.96(g)(4)(iii) and do not have such areas designated by the superintendent.
When the Service allows one group to use an area or facility for expressing views, it must provide other groups with a similar opportunity, if requested. No group wishing to assemble lawfully may be discriminated against or denied the right of assembly provided that all permit conditions are met. Whenever religious activities are conducted in parks, any NPS actions pertaining to them must reflect a clearly secular purpose, must have a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion, and must avoid “excessive governmental entanglement with religion.”
NPS staff on duty in an area in which a First Amendment activity is being conducted will be neutral toward the activity, but will remain responsible for the protection of participants, spectators, private property, public property, and park resources. On-duty staff may not participate in a First Amendment activity. NPS employees exercising their First Amendment rights when off-duty must not in any way imply any official NPS endorsement of the activity.
When a permit is requested for the exercise of First Amendment rights, including freedom of assembly, speech, religion, and the press, the superintendent will issue the permit without any requirement for fees, cost recovery, bonding, or insurance. The superintendent will issue or deny a First Amendment permit request under 36 CFR 2.51 within two (2) business days after receiving a proper application. In National Capital Parks subject to special demonstration regulations found at 36 CFR 7.96(g)(3), permits are deemed granted subject to all applicable limitations and restrictions, unless denied within 24 hours of receipt.
(See Confidentiality 5.2.3. Also see Reference Manual 53)
8.6.4 Rights-of-Way for Utilities and Roads
A right-of-way is a special park use allowing a utility to pass over, under, or through NPS property. It may be issued only pursuant to specific statutory authority, and generally only if there is no practicable alternative to such use of NPS lands. The criteria listed in section 8.2 must also be met. New roads may not be permitted with a right-of-way permit, but require specific statutory authority. Procedures for roads are addressed in section 184.108.40.206.
Before a written application is submitted to the park, potential applicants for a right-of-way permit should meet with the staff to discuss the proposed project. Once an application for a right-of-way is submitted, a compliance analysis must be conducted according to NEPA, NHPA, and other statutory compliance requirements as appropriate. Due to the potentially high costs and values associated with rights-of-way, special attention will be paid to charges and a fair market value for use of the land. Permits will be drafted by park staff and should include terms and conditions necessary to protect park resources and values. New right-of-way permits will be executed by the regional director; conversions from other authorizing documents, amendments, and renewals of existing permits may be signed by the superintendent. A right-of-way permit issued by the Park Service is considered a temporary document and does not convey an interest in the land. The permit is subject to termination for cause or at the discretion of the regional director.
NPS regulations pertaining to the
issuance of rights-of-way are in 36 CFR Part 14; Department of the Interior
regulations pertaining to rights-of-way in
Utility rights-of-way over lands administered by the Park Service are governed by statutory authorities in 16 USC 5 (electrical power transmission and distribution, radio and TV, and other forms of communication facilities) and 16 USC 79 (electrical power, telephone, and water conduits). If not incompatible with the public interest, rights-of-way issued under 16 USC 5 or 79 are discretionary and conditional upon a finding by the Service that the proposed use will not cause unacceptable impacts on park resources, values, or purposes.
220.127.116.11 Telecommunication Sites
Requests to site non-NPS telecommunication antennas and related facilities on NPS lands will be considered in accordance with the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 USC 332 note), which authorizes but does not mandate a presumption that such requests be granted absent unavoidable conflict with the agency mission, or the current or planned use of the property or access to that property. The currently applicable government-wide procedures are contained in GSA Bulletin FPMR D-242.
Superintendents will accept an application for a telecommunications site only from a Federal Communications Commission licensee or from an agency regulated by the Department of Commerce through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. In recognition of the growing prevalence of wireless telecommunications, the manner in which the park will manage the technology and related facilities should be addressed in an appropriate planning document.
As with other special park uses, telecommunication proposals must meet the criteria listed in sections 18.104.22.168 and 8.2 to prevent unacceptable impacts. In addition, when considering whether to approve, deny, or renew permits, superintendents will
· hold preliminary meetings with telecommunication facility applicants to discuss pending applications and policy and procedural issues (such as the application process, impact analysis, estimated cost recovery charges and fees) and other NPS concerns. Similar meetings should be held during the decision-making process, as necessary, particularly if the superintendent is considering denying the application;
· conduct NEPA and NHPA analysis expeditiously and consistent with all applicable statutes and Director’s Order #12, and within timetables established pursuant to Director’s Order #53;
· consider the potential benefit of having telephone access to emergency law enforcement and public safety services;
· consider whether the proposal would cause unavoidable conflict with the park’s mission, in which case the permit will be denied.
New facilities frequently require the installation of new electrical and telephone lines and vehicular access to the site. Superintendents will therefore evaluate the entire footprint of the new facilities when evaluating requests.
Superintendents will avoid or minimize potential impacts of current and future telecommunications facilities by ensuring that the facilities and their supporting infrastructure
· are located where they would have the least impact on park resources and values;
· are not located in scenic, historic, and/or sensitive areas integral to the park’s mission;
· include maximum potential for future co-location.
Superintendents will require the best technology available. For example, consideration should be given first to co-locating new facilities, constructing towers that are camouflaged to blend in with their surroundings, and installing micro-sites. New traditional towers (i.e., monopole or lattice) should be approved only after all other options have been explored. If a traditional tower is necessary, it should not be visible from any significant public vantage point.
As appropriate, superintendents should consider making use of available interpretive media to caution park users of the limited (or nonexistent) cellular service and their personal responsibility to plan accordingly.
When construction of telecommunication facilities on nonpark lands might adversely impact park resources and values, superintendents will actively participate in the applicable planning and regulatory processes and seek to prevent or mitigate the adverse impacts.
(See Decision-making Requirements to
Identify and Avoid Impairments 1.4.7;
22.214.171.124 Roads and Highways and Petroleum-based Pipelines
There are no general NPS statutory authorities for non-NPS roads or for gas pipelines. However, such authorization is sometimes contained in park-specific enabling legislation. Roads and highways within the federal aid highway system are generally authorized by statutes found at 23 USC 107(d) or 317. The Service will generally object to proposals for the use of park lands for highway purposes that do not directly benefit a park. A request for lands for road or highway purposes is subject to compliance with 23 USC 138—commonly referred to as 4(f). The 4(f) evaluation is completed by the Secretary of Transportation and requires the concurrence of the Secretary of the Interior. Approved road or highway requests are authorized by a highway easement deed (not a right-of-way permit).
(See Fees 126.96.36.199; Non-NPS Roads 188.8.131.52, Construction and Expansion Proposals 184.108.40.206.2. Also see Director’s Order #87D: Non-NPS Roads)
8.6.5 Access to Private Property
The Park Service will allow access to the private property of adjacent landowners and property of landowners within park boundaries, when
· it would contribute in a material way to the park’s mission without causing unacceptable impacts on park resources or values or the purposes for which the park was established; or
· access is the landowner’s right by law or by deed reservation.
When one of these circumstances
exists, commercial vehicles will be allowed access to private property only in
accordance with 36 CFR 5.6, “Commercial Vehicles.” Access to nonfederal lands
8.6.6 Filming and Photography
The Service’s policies and procedures governing filming and photography are governed by Public Law 106-206 (16 USC 460l-6d), which distinguishes filming from photography in that filming involves movement or motion of the subject, whereas photography does not (thus still photography is simply photography). Filming and photography activities—whether commercial or noncommercial—will be allowed in parks provided that the activities do not cause unacceptable impacts under sections 220.127.116.11 or 8.2. For the purposes of NPS policy, filming and photography encompass any technology that may be used for recording images or the sound tracks associated with them.
18.104.22.168 Permits and Fees
A permit will not be required for a visitor’s personal, noncommercial filming and photography activities within normal visitation areas and hours. (Outside normal visitation areas and hours, a permit may be required.) However, all commercial filming activities will require a permit. Commercial filming means filming that involves the digital or film recording of a visual image or sound recording by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience. This includes recordings such as those used for a documentary, television or feature film, advertisement, or similar project.
In accordance with Public Law 106-206, still photography (whether commercial or noncommercial) will not require a permit unless
· it takes place at a location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed, or
· it uses model(s) or prop(s) that are not a part of the location’s natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities, or
· the Park Service would need to provide management and oversight to prevent unacceptable impacts.
Notwithstanding the above policies, commercial media coverage of breaking news never requires a permit. However, it is subject to the restrictions and conditions necessary to protect park resources from unacceptable impacts.
Performance bond and liability insurance requirements must be met, and all costs incurred by the Service in writing the permit, monitoring, providing protection services, or otherwise supporting filming or photography activities will be reimbursed by the permittee as a condition of the permit. A location fee will also be required as a condition of the permit. The amount of the fee will be based on the fee schedule current at the time the permit is approved. Neither the location fee nor the cost recovery charges may be waived.
22.214.171.124 NPS Participation
The Service’s participation is governed by the following:
· The Service will encourage and may actively assist filming and photography activities that promote public understanding and appreciation of the national park system, and the Director may authorize use of the arrowhead symbol for such filming projects.
· A superintendent may request a credit line, provided that the content or subject matter of the filming project would not reflect adversely on the National Park Service.
· NPS employees, while on duty or in uniform, will not be employed by filming permittees.
· Identifiable NPS equipment, uniforms, or insignia must not be portrayed in any way that would imply Service endorsement of a product or service.
· The Service will not censor the content of any filming project, or require finished film products for review, files, or documentation purposes. However, a superintendent may review a story board or other material if requested by the applicant to help determine whether (1) the information about the park is accurate, (2) a credit line would be appropriate, or (3) it would be appropriate for the Service to actively assist a filming activity or authorize use of the arrowhead symbol.
Additional guidance is provided by Director’s Order #53: Special Park Uses; and by Reference Manual 53.
(Also see Director’s Order #52D: Use of the Arrowhead Symbol)
8.6.7 Agricultural Uses
Agricultural uses and activities are authorized in parks in accordance with the direction provided by a park’s enabling legislation and general management plan. Agricultural practices and techniques, including the use of pesticides and other biocontrol agents such as genetically modified or engineered organisms, should be specified in an approved resource stewardship strategy, and are subject to review and approval by the NPS integrated pest management (IPM) program manager. These practices and techniques are also subject to the provisions of federal and state laws, NPS regulations and policies, and Director’s Orders #53: Special Park Uses and #77-7: Integrated Pest Management. In general, agricultural activities should be conducted in accordance with accepted best management practices.
Agricultural activities, including demonstration farms, prescribed to meet a park’s management objectives will be allowed if (1) they do not result in unacceptable impacts on park resources, values, or purposes; (2) they conform to activities that occurred during the historic period; and (3) they support the park’s interpretive themes. Agricultural uses that do not conform to those in practice during the historic period may be allowed if (1) they are authorized by the park’s enabling legislation, (2) they are retained as a right subsequent to NPS land acquisition, (3) they contribute to the maintenance of a cultural landscape, or (4) they are carried out as part of a living exhibit or interpretive demonstration.
The Service may issue leases or special use permits to individuals or organizations to conduct agricultural activities that are allowed on park lands under the criteria listed in the preceding paragraph. The use of a lease (versus a special use permit) is appropriate only when (1) specifically authorized by the park’s enabling legislation, or (2) it is part of an historic leasing program authorized by 16 USC 470h-3, or (3) it is associated with a building that is leased pursuant to 16 USC 1a-2( k). NPS and concession employees living in parks may cultivate gardens for personal use under the terms and conditions established by the superintendent. Such use will not be permitted if it would have unacceptable impacts on park resources, values, or purposes or visitor enjoyment thereof. In urban parks, areas may be designated for community recreational gardening under the same conditions.
Levels of Park Planning 2.3; Biological Resource Management 4.4;
8.6.8 Domestic and Feral Livestock
Livestock uses in parks fall into four categories: (1) recreational pack and saddle stock use, (2) administrative stock use, (3) agricultural (commercial and administrative) grazing, and (4) trespass and feral stock. Grazing that is incidental to the recreational use of stock is regulated by the horse and pack stock regulations at 36 CFR 2.16, and the policy direction for such use is discussed in Section 126.96.36.199. Agricultural stock use regulations are found at 36 CFR 2.60.
188.8.131.52 Managing Agricultural Grazing
Agricultural (commercial and administrative) grazing occurs in some parks. The Park Service will only allow agricultural grazing in parks where it is
· specifically authorized by federal law, or
· required under a reserved right of use arising from the acquisition of a tract of land, or
· required to maintain an historic scene, or
· carried out as part of a living exhibit or interpretive demonstration; or
· used to achieve resource conditions (e.g., using sheep to remove leafy spurge) as part of an IPM plan, and
· does not cause unacceptable impacts on park resources and values.
The National Park Service must manage its resources in a manner that conserves them for future generations. Parks with agricultural livestock use, including parks where such use is administered by another agency, must address this use in an appropriate planning document. Agricultural livestock grazing will use best management practices to protect park resources, with particular attention being given to protecting wetland and riparian areas, sensitive species and their habitats, water quality, and cultural resources. Managers must regulate livestock so that (1) ecosystem dynamics and the composition, condition, and distribution of native plants and animal communities are not significantly altered or otherwise threatened; and (2) cultural values are protected. A comprehensive monitoring program must be implemented, and adaptive management practices must be used to protect park resources.
Integrated pest management methods must conform to NPS pest management policy in section 4.4.5.
184.108.40.206.1 Permitting Agricultural Grazing
Agricultural livestock activities by parties other than the Park Service will be conducted only pursuant to the terms and conditions of a special use permit or lease. The use of a lease is appropriate only when (1) specifically authorized by the park’s enabling legislation, or (2) it is part of an historic preservation program authorized by 16 USC 470h-3, or (3) the livestock use is associated with a building that is leased pursuant to 16 USC 1a-2(k).
In addition to any other penalty provisions, violation of the terms and conditions of the permitting instrument may result in revocation of the livestock use privilege. In parks where the Park Service shares livestock allotment management with another government agency, or where through legislation another government agency administers the use, a general agreement between agencies is necessary to describe the relationship and responsibilities.
220.127.116.11.2 Structures for Agricultural Grazing
Appropriate structures may be approved by the National Park Service and may be allowed in parks when the structures
· are consistent with a livestock management plan or another appropriate management plan;
· are consistent with park purposes and other applicable laws, regulations, or policies; and
· will not cause unacceptable impacts on park resources and values.
The Service will not expend funds to construct or maintain livestock structures unless there is a direct benefit to the protection of park resources. The permittee will generally be required to remove structures when livestock activities are no longer authorized.
Chapter 2: Park System Planning; Management of Exotic Species 4.4.4; Water
Resource Management 4.6; Identification and Designation of the Wilderness Resource
6.2; Grazing and Livestock Driveways 6.4.7; Equestrian Trails 18.104.22.168;
Miscellaneous Management Facilities 9.4.5. Also see Director’s Order #77-3: Domestic
and Feral Livestock Management, and Reference Manual 77-3; Director’s Order
22.214.171.124 Trespass and Feral Livestock
Livestock trespassing on park lands may be impounded and disposed of pursuant to the provisions of 36 CFR 2.60, with the owner charged for expenses incurred. Wild living or feral livestock having no known owner may also be disposed of in accordance with 36 CFR 2.60.
Parks having shared jurisdiction with state fish and wildlife agencies should coordinate with their counterparts in the determination of how a particular animal is classified in that state. Good communication with state and other officials will be fostered to minimize conflicts.
8.6.9 Military Operations
In general, military activities are discouraged in parks, except for study of military history at related NPS sites. Periodically, an armed services unit may request the use of park areas for noncombat exercises such as search-and-rescue and outdoor survival. Determining when and where military units may conduct such activities is a discretionary decision of the superintendent.
A permitted military activity must conform to the following conditions:
· A permit will be issued that clearly states all necessary conditions or stipulations to protect park resources and visitor safety.
· All applicable park rules and regulations will be followed.
· No weaponry will be carried, displayed, or used, except for ceremonial purposes or authorized public demonstrations.
· The activity will be conducted away from visitor use locations and out of public view (except where a public demonstration is specifically authorized).
· The military organization will designate a liaison officer who will be available to the superintendent throughout the exercise.
· Permittees will be educated about how the purpose, mission, and regulations of the park differ from their own missions, especially in regard to resource protection and visitor use and enjoyment.
National security and law enforcement agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, and state police, may wish to conduct similar exercises. These requests should be evaluated in the same way as military special use requests.
126.96.36.199 National Cemeteries
All NPS-administered national cemeteries will be managed as historically significant resources and as integral parts of larger historical parks. Burials in national cemeteries will be permitted, pursuant to applicable regulations, until available space has been filled. The management and preservation of national cemeteries are subject to the provisions of the National Cemeteries Act of 1973; NPS “National Cemetery Regulations” (36 CFR Part 12); and Director’s Order #61: National Cemeteries.
The enlargement of a national cemetery for additional burials constitutes a modern intrusion, compromising the historical character of both the cemetery and the historical park, and will not be permitted.
188.8.131.52 Family Cemeteries
The burial of family members in family cemeteries that have been acquired by the Park Service in the course of establishment of parks will be permitted to the extent practicable, pursuant to applicable regulations, until space allotted to the cemeteries has been filled. Family members (or their designees) will be allowed access for purposes of upkeep and commemoration (such as wreath-laying and religious rituals) that do not jeopardize safety or resource protection. Whenever applicable, park managers will keep active files on cemeteries for the purpose of responding to requests and inquiries.
(Also see Director’s Order #19: Records Management)
184.108.40.206 Other Burials and the Scattering of Ashes
Other burials or reinterments outside established cemeteries in parks will be prohibited except where permitted by cultural resource policies. The scattering of ashes from cremation may be permitted by a superintendent, in accordance with NPS general regulations in 36 CFR 2.62 and applicable state laws. Authorization to scatter ashes must take into account potential conflicts with the spiritual or cultural practices of the indigenous people associated with the area.
(See Stewardship of Human Remains and Burials 5.3.4; Cultural Resources 6.3.8, Consultation 7.5.6)
Other special park uses that may be allowed under permit or special regulations include the use of explosives and the use of portable power equipment. Specific guidance is provided in 36 CFR Part 2; Director’s Order #53: Special Park Uses; and Reference Manual 53.
8.7 Mineral Exploration and Development
Mineral exploration and development include exploration, extraction, production, storage, and transportation of minerals. Mineral exploration or development may be allowed in parks only when prospective operators demonstrate that they hold rights to valid mining claims, federal mineral leases, or nonfederally owned minerals. If this right is not clearly demonstrated, the National Park Service will inform the prospective operator that, until proof of a property right is documented, the Service will not further consider the proposed activity. Unless otherwise directed by Congress, if the Service determines that the proposed mineral development would impair park resources or values, or that such development is not consistent with park purposes or does not meet approval standards under applicable NPS regulations and cannot be sufficiently modified to meet those standards, the Service will seek to extinguish the associated mineral right through acquisition. In some parks, all or certain types of mineral development are specifically prohibited by law.
All persons who conduct mineral development within parks will do so only in conformance with applicable statutes, regulations, and NPS policies. These statutes include the Mining in the Parks Act, the Mineral Leasing Act, the Acquired Lands Mineral Leasing Act, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, the National Park System General Authorities Act, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and enabling statutes for individual parks. Applicable regulations include 36 CFR Part 9, Subpart A and Subpart B; 43 CFR Parts 3100-3500; and special use regulations.
Persons may not use or occupy surface lands in a park for purposes of removing minerals outside the park unless provided for in law. General management plans, land protection plans, and other planning documents for parks with mining claims, federal mineral leases, or nonfederally owned mineral interests will address these nonfederal property interests as appropriate. Lands with mineral interests will be zoned according to their anticipated management and use—based on their resource values, park management objectives, and park-specific legislative provisions relating to mineral interests.
(See Levels of Park Planning 2.3; Land Protection Plans 3.3; Identification and Designation of the Wilderness Resource 6.2; Mineral Development 6.4.9)
8.7.1 Mining Claims
The location of new mining claims pursuant to the General Mining Act of 1872 is prohibited in all park areas. Under the Mining in the Parks Act, the National Park Service may permit mineral development only on existing patented and valid unpatented mining claims in conformance with the park’s enabling legislation and the regulations for mining claims in 36 CFR Part 9, Subpart A. The Service may initiate a validity examination on unpatented mining claims at any time. The Service will require a validity examination of all unpatented mining claims before approving any operations on such claims in accordance with 36 CFR Part 9, Subpart A. However, a validity examination is not required before NPS authorization of activities that are conducted only to reclaim a site. All mineral development and use of resources in connection with a claim will be confined to the boundaries of the claim itself, except for the access and transport that are permitted under 36 CFR Part 9, Subpart A; or, for Alaska, 43 CFR Part 36.
8.7.2 Federal Mineral Leases
All parks are closed to new federal
mineral leasing except for three national recreation areas (Lake Mead,
Some park areas contain leases that existed at the time the park was created or expanded. These leases are valid existing rights and will continue to exist until they expire under the regulations that govern federal mineral leasing (43 CFR Parts 3100 and 3500).
8.7.3 Nonfederally Owned Minerals
Nonfederal mineral interests in park units consist of oil and gas interests, rights to mineral interests other than oil and gas (such as private outstanding mineral rights, mineral rights through general land grant patents, homestead patents, or other private mineral rights that did not derive from the General Mining Act). The Park Service governs activities associated with these two categories of nonfederal mineral rights under separate regulatory schemes.
The Park Service may approve operations associated with nonfederal oil and gas interests under the standards and procedures in 36 CFR Part 9, Subpart B. If an operator’s plan fails to meet the approved standards of these regulations, the Park Service generally has authority to deny the operation and may initiate acquisition. Absent a decision to acquire the property, application of the regulations is not intended to result in a taking of the property interest, but rather to impose reasonable regulation of the activity.
Operations associated with nonfederal mineral interests, other than oil and gas, are subject to the requirements of 36 CFR Part 5, “Commercial and Private Operations,” and 36 CFR 1.6.
The Service must determine that operations associated with these mineral interests would not adversely impact “public health and safety, environmental or scenic values, natural or cultural resources, scientific research, implementation or management responsibilities, proper allocation and use of facilities, or the avoidance of conflict among visitor use activities ….” If the impacts from the operation on the resource cannot be sufficiently mitigated to meet this standard, the Park Service may seek to acquire the mineral interest.
8.8 Collecting Natural Products
The collection of natural products for personal use or consumption is governed by NPS general regulations contained in 36 CFR 2.1 and 36 CFR Part 13. A superintendent may designate certain fruits, berries, nuts, or unoccupied seashells that can be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption upon a written determination by the superintendent that such an activity will not adversely affect park wildlife or the reproductive potential of a plant species or otherwise adversely affect park resources. In some cases, peer-reviewed scientific information may be needed to support the determination. The regulations do not authorize the taking, use, or possession of fish, wildlife, or plants for ceremonial or religious purposes, except where specifically authorized by federal statute or treaty rights or where hunting, trapping, or fishing are otherwise allowed. The collection of minerals or rocks for personal use will be allowed only when specifically authorized by federal law or treaty rights.
The gathering of firewood will be allowed only where subsistence use is authorized by federal law, or in specific areas designated by a superintendent in which dead and down wood may be collected for campfires or in small quantities for other uses within the park. Natural resource products that accumulate as a result of site clearing for development, hazard tree removal, vista clearing, or other management actions will be recycled through the ecosystem when practicable. When recycling is not practicable, the products may be disposed of by other means. Disposal may be accomplished by contract, if the result of the work done under contract and the value are calculated in the contract cost, or by sale at fair market value in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Wood that accumulates as a result of the management actions described above may also be used for park purposes, such as heating public buildings or offices or for interpretive campfire programs.
(See Consumptive Uses 8.9, Natural and Cultural Studies, Research, and Collection Activities 8.10. Also see Director’s Order #18: Wildland Fire Management)
8.9 Consumptive Uses
Consumptive uses of park resources may be allowed only when they are
· specifically authorized by federal law or treaty rights (such as hunting, trapping, or mining, or subsistence use in specifically identified parks);
· specifically authorized pursuant to other existing rights (such as a right retained by a donor of the land on which the use would occur);
· grazing activities authorized in accordance with section 220.127.116.11; or
· traditional visitor activities, such as fishing or berry picking, that are authorized in accordance with NPS general regulations.
As a matter of policy, the Service generally supports the limited and controlled consumption of natural resources for traditional religious and ceremonial purposes and is moving toward a goal of greater access and accommodation. As a general matter, a superintendent may not allow consumptive use of park resources by any particular group to the exclusion of others.
Current NPS policy is reflected in regulations published at 36 CFR Part 13. The general regulations at 36 CFR 2.1 allow superintendents to designate certain fruits, berries, nuts, or unoccupied seashells that may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption if it will not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproductive potential of a plant species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources. The regulations do not authorize the taking, use, or possession of fish, wildlife, or plants for ceremonial or religious purposes, except where specifically authorized by federal statute or treaty rights or where hunting, trapping, or fishing are otherwise allowed.
The 36 CFR Part 13 regulations
address the consumptive use of park resources for subsistence purposes in
Alaska, where it is allowed in the 10 parks and “expanded areas” established by
the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Some park-specific
enabling acts (e.g., Big Cypress National Preserve and
(See Park Management 1.4; Harvest of Plants and Animals by the Public 4.4.3; Resource Issue Interpretation and Education 7.5.3; General 8.; Use by American Indians and Other Traditionally Associated Groups 8.5. Also see 36 CFR Part 13, Subpart B)
8.10 Natural and Cultural Studies, Research, and Collection Activities
Studies, research, and collection activities by non-NPS personnel involving natural and cultural resources will be encouraged and facilitated when they otherwise comport with NPS policies. Scientific activities that involve field work or specimen collection, or that have the potential to disturb resources, the visitor experience, or park operations, require a permit issued by the superintendent that prescribes appropriate conditions for protecting park resources, visitors, and operations. Such studies may require additional permits from other jurisdictions.
(See Studies and Collections 4.2; Independent Research 5.1.2; Independent and Commercial Studies 8.11.3)
8.11 Social Science Studies
Understanding the changing
demographics of our nation is critical to the future of the National Park
Service. The Park Service will actively seek to better understand the values
and connections the changing
The National Park Service will facilitate social science studies that support the NPS mission by providing an understanding of park visitors, the nonvisiting public, gateway communities and regions, and human interactions with park resources. This approach will provide a scientific basis for park planning, development, operations, management, education, and interpretive activities. Investigators will be encouraged to use the parks for scientific studies whenever such use is consistent with NPS policies that recognize the scientific value of parks as laboratories. Specific guidance is provided in Director’s Orders #75A: Civic Engagement and Public Involvement, and #78: Social Science.
Studies include short- or long-term scientific investigations in NPS areas that may involve social science surveys and research. The data and information acquired through scientific activities conducted in the parks will be made broadly available to park managers, the scientific community, and the public, except where legal restrictions apply. Studies may include both internally and externally conducted projects by researchers and scholars with universities; foundations and other nongovernmental organizations; federal, state and local agencies; chambers of commerce; industry organizations; and NPS staff. The Park Service will promote cooperative relationships with educational and scientific institutions and qualified individuals (1) when specialized expertise exists that can be of significant assistance to the Service in obtaining information, and (2) when the opportunity for research and study in the parks offers institutions a significant benefit to their programs. NPS facilities and assistance may be made available to qualified researchers conducting NPS-authorized studies. NPS or other federally funded studies that rely on survey instruments or focus groups are strictly regulated and must be approved by the Park Service, the Department of the Interior, and the Office of Management and Budget before they can be used to gather information directly from visitors or the general public.
(See Managing Information 1.9.2; Studies and Collections 4.2; Research 5.1, Planning 5.2; Appropriate Use 8.1.1; Special Park Uses 8.6; NPS-supported Studies 8.11.2; Independent and Commercial Studies 8.11.3; Department of the Interior Interim Guidelines for Collection of Information from the Public. Also see Director’s Order #17: Tourism))
8.11.2 NPS-supported Studies
The National Park Service is responsible for the identification and acquisition of needed inventory, monitoring, and research, as well as for the interpretation of the management and operational implications of such studies. The Service will use the best available science to assist park managers in addressing management needs and objectives that have been identified in legislation and planning documents.
The Service will support studies to
· reach a level of understanding that will minimize “crisis” management;
· ensure a systematic and fully adequate park information base;
· provide a sound basis for policy, planning, and decision-making;
· develop effective strategies, methods, and technologies to predict, avoid, or minimize unacceptable impacts on resources, visitors, and related activities;
· determine causes of resource management problems;
· further understand park ecosystems and related human social systems, and document their components, condition, and significance;
· evaluate visitor satisfaction with services, facilities, and recreational opportunities;
· ensure that the interpretation of park resources and issues reflects current standards of scholarship for the history, science, and condition of the resources;
· evaluate performance measures in support of strategic plan goals;
· establish economic measures and impact indicators of interest or importance;
· improve understanding of local, regional, and national demographics and trends.
Superintendents may authorize park staff to carry out routine duties without requiring a research/collecting permit. NPS-supported research will rely on high-quality methods and undergo peer review. NPS-supported scientists will be expected to publish their findings in refereed journals, among other outlets.
8.11.3 Independent and Commercial Studies
Non-NPS social science studies conducted in parks are not required to address specifically identified NPS management issues or information needs. However, these studies (excluding research in museum collections) require an NPS research/collecting permit. Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the permit, the studies must conform to NPS policies and other guidance regarding activities such as the collection and publication of data, conduct of studies, and wilderness restrictions. NPS research/collecting permits may also include requirements that permittees provide parks, within reasonable time-frames, with the appropriate field notes (subject to ethical guidelines of the appropriate discipline), data, information about the data, catalog data, progress reports, interim and final reports, and publications derived from the permitted activities. Projects will be administered and conducted only by fully qualified personnel, and will conform to current standards of scholarship.
The collection of data from the public and employees to support the research, development, and marketing of commercial products or services may be permitted only in limited circumstances. Such activity will not be permitted when the superintendent determines that it would impose an undue burden on visitors and/or employees, and/or when it has the potential to adversely impact park resources or detract from visitors’ experiences in the park. All necessary data collection permits must be obtained, including a scientific research and collecting permit and the permission of the superintendent. Names and addresses and any other unique identifying information collected from park visitors and/or employees cannot be distributed, shared, or sold for commercial purposes.
(Also see Director’s Order #84: Library Management)
8.11.4 Management and Conduct of Studies
All studies in parks will employ nondestructive methods to the maximum extent possible to avoid the irretrievable commitment of park resources. Studies will be preceded by an approved scope of work, proposal, or other detailed written description of the work to be performed.
(See Studies and Collections 4.2. Also see Director’s Order #74: Studies and Collecting)
In accordance with 36 CFR Part 18, the National Park Service may enter into a lease for the use of any park property—historic or nonhistoric (except nonhistoric land)—if the following determinations are first made by the appropriate regional director (who may redelegate this authority to superintendents):
(1) The lease will not result in degradation of the purposes and values of the park area.
(2) The lease will not deprive the park area of property necessary for appropriate park protection, interpretation, visitor enjoyment, or administration.
(3) The lease contains such terms and conditions as will ensure that the leased property will be used for an activity and in a manner that are consistent with the purposes established by law for the park area in which the property is located.
(4) The lease is compatible with NPS programs.
(5) The lease is for rent at least equal to the fair market value rent of the leased property.
(6) The proposed activities under the lease are not subject to authorization through a concession contract, commercial use authorization, or similar instrument.
(7) If the lease includes historic property, the lease will adequately ensure the preservation of the historic property. (In addition, a lease that includes historic property may be executed by the Park Service only after compliance with the CFR Part 800, the commenting procedures of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation).
It is likely that lease uses will be permissible under paragraph (6) if
· the leased property where the proposed services are to be provided is not near a particular visitor destination of the park area, and
· the patrons of the lessee are expected to be primarily persons who come to the park area only to use the lessee’s services.
8.12.1 Additional Criteria
· All leases must be at fair market value.
· The term of the lease will be the shortest time needed for the proposed use, taking into account required lessee investments and other factors related to determining an appropriate lease term.
· No lease will exceed 60 years.
· Lease terms may not be extended except that leases with a term of one (1) year or more may be extended once for a period not to exceed one (1) additional year if it is determined that an extension is necessary because of circumstances beyond NPS control.
8.12.2 Prior Approval
No lease instrument may be awarded or amended without prior written approval by the Solicitor’s Office.
Prior to their execution by a regional director or superintendent, the Director must approve—
· proposed leases with terms of more than ten (10) years;
· proposed leases or lease amendments that provide for a leasehold mortgage or similar encumbrance; and
· proposed amendments of existing leases that required the Director’s approval prior to execution.
8.12.3 Noncompetitive Awards
The Service generally may not enter into a Part 18 lease without issuing a Request for Bids or a Request for Proposals. The Service may, however, enter into Part 18 leases on a noncompetitive basis in two circumstances:
(1) The Part 18 lease is with a nonprofit organization or a unit of government and the Service determines that the nonprofit or governmental use of the property will contribute to the purposes and programs of the park area; or
(2) The lease is short-term (sixty (60) continuous days or less) and the Service determines that to award the lease noncompetitively is in the best interests of the administration of the park area. This authority is not limited to nonprofit organizations or units of government; any qualified person or entity may be awarded a lease with a term of sixty (60) days or less. These leases cannot require any rehabilitation or improvements to the applicable property.
Noncompetitive leases must in all other ways meet the requirements of 36 CFR Part 18 and Director’s Order #38: Real Property Leasing.
8.12.4 Historic Properties
If a lease agreement requires or allows the lessee to maintain, repair, rehabilitate, restore, or build upon historic property, the work must be done in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation and other NPS policies, guidelines, and standards.