Preservation Guidance

Preservation is the practice of sustaining something by keeping it intact, free from harm, and safe from deterioration. For the National Park Service, historic preservation is the act of protecting and sustaining cultural and natural resources in perpetuity.

The identification and preservation of cultural resources is critical to protecting the nation's richly textured history. Cultural resources include tangible items of historic or cultural significance, such as cultural landscapes, buildings, structures, and objects; as well as the intangible items, like traditional knowledge, practices, and life-ways.

Cultural landscapes have been recognized by the NPS as cultural resources since 1983. Our responsibility for their preservation is equal to other resources, regardless of the landscape type or level of significance.

Flowers in pots grow on a patio of square pavers beside a pool with a diving board
View of the swimming pool area from the pool patio in 1940, part of the cultural landscape of Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site.

NPS / Cook-Dickerman Collection

Essential Guidance

Guide to Cultural Landscape Reports: Contents, Process, and Techniques

A Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) identifies the preservation goals for a cultural landscape. The CLR documents landscape characteristics and associated features, values, and associations that make a landscape historically significant, according to National Register Criteria for Evaluation. This guide is the definitive guidance document for the creation and use of CLRs.

Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes

This document presents the standards and guidelines for the treatment of cultural landscpaes for cultural landscape owners, stewards, and managers, landscape architects, engineers, contractors, and project reviewers in the planning and implementation of treatment projects.

National Register of Historic Places Criteria for Evaluation

Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation. The significance of cultural landscapes is based on their eligibility and evaluation for the National Register of Historic Places.

"Management of Cultural Landscapes"

Chapter 7 of NPS-28: Cultural Resource Management Guideline describes the management of cultural landscapes by the National Park Service.

Research, Planning, and Stewardship

Technical guidance for the preservation of cultural landscapes is arranged according to the processes of research, planning, and stewardship.

Preservation Process

Image of a question mark in front of a stone wall

Have a question about cultural landscape preservation?

Contact Park Cultural Landscapes Program staff by email or visit the Contact Us page.

Last updated: April 10, 2023