Cultural Landscape Recognition: 1981-2000


The term "cultural landscape" is first codified by the NPS.

“Cultural landscape” is first defined as a cultural resource type in Cultural Resource Management Guideline, NPS 28, Release No. 2.

A gazebo-like structure stands on a knob of land in a grassy field.
The Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mound within Nachoochee Valley, Georgia.

Photo from Historic American Buildings Survey, HABS GA-167-A


First preservation plan for a rural historic district published.

Allen Stovall completes The Sautee and Nacoochee Valley, A Preservation Study, a comprehensive plan for the future development of two valleys in Northern Georgia to preserve their natural and cultural qualities.


Guidance published for nominating rural districts to the National Register.

Cultural Landscapes: Rural Historic Districts in the National Park System is completed by Robert Melnick, Daniel Sponn and Emma Jane Saxe.

Report cover for "Cultural Landscapes: Rural Historic Districts in the National Park System" shows an open field.
This document provided the first NPS guidance for evaluating the integrity of cultural landscapes.



National Heritage Areas Program established.

The National Heritage Area program is established by Congress to designate places where, "nature, culture, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape."


The term "cultural landscape report" codified by the NPS.

The "cultural landscape report" (CLR) is identified in NPS 28, Release No. 3, as the official NPS planning document for cultural landscape treatment plans.


First CLR treatment plan implemented by NPS.

The Tao House courtyard at the Eugene O'Neill Historic Site is rehabilitated to improve accessibility as part of the first CLR treatment plan to be carried out.

A hedge-lined walk leads to a two-story house, with porches on both levels.
The lawn of the Tao House received subgrade reinforcement for accessibility during treatment implementation.

NPS Photo, 2016

Coer of National Register Bulletin 18, with image and text.
NR Bulletin 18 created a typology of "character defining features" for designed landscapes.



Guidance published for nominating designed landscapes to the National Register.

National Register Bulletin 18: How to Evaluate and Nominate Designed Historic Landscapes is released.


NPS adopts management policy for cultural landscapes.

The NPS Management Policies address cultural landscapes and include guidance for recognizing their historic, archeological, ethnographic and design values.


NPS begins effort to inventory cultural landscapes in the national park system.

The NPS Cultural Landscape Inventory initiative begins with the design and testing of an inventory method for all cultural landscapes.


The term "cultural landscape" codified internationally.

Cultural Landscapes are recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), an agency of the United Nations, as a type of World Heritage Site.

A tall tree grows in the middle of a lush lawn, framed by shubs and a two-story house on the right.
The Olmsted National Historic Site preserves the home, office, and residential landscape of Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. and the Olmsted Brothers Firm.

NPS Photo


The Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation established.

The Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation is created within the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site in Brookline, Massachusetts, to guide cultural landscape preservation activities in the northeast United States, within national parks, and with preservation partners.


Public guidance on cultural landscape preservation released by the NPS.

Preservation Brief 36: Protecting Cultural Landscapes: Planning, Treatment and Management of Historic Landscapes is published, providing step-by-step guidance for preserving designed and vernacular landscapes to a public audience.

Report cover for "Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes"
The Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes nests within the Secretary of the Interior's Standards.


Professional guidance for the treatment of cultural landscapes published.

Secretary of the Interior's Standard for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes provides the first professional standards in the U.S.


The content of NPS cultural landscape inventories standardized.

A Cultural Landscape Inventory database is released throughout the NPS, providing standardization to the documentation of the history, existing conditions, and evaluation of integrity of cultural landscapes.

Report cover for "A Guide to Cultural Landscape Reports: Contents, Process, and Techniques"
This report codified Cultural Landscape Reports.


The content of NPS cultural landscape reports standardized.

A Guide to Cultural Landscape Reports: Contents, Process and Techniques is published, standardizing the approach to the preparation of a Cultural Landscape Report as the cultural landscape treatment plan.


The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) is established.

TCLF is a non-profit organization with a mission to "educate and engage the public to make our shared landscape heritage more visible, identify its value, and empower its stewards."

Last updated: December 18, 2017