Tools for Effective Decision Making

Policy sets the framework and provides direction for all management decisions. The National Park Service adopts policies and procedures to carry out the intent of the laws, regulations, and higher-level authorities that govern management of the national parks and National Park Service programs.

The NPS Directives System is the basic source of Service-wide policies and required or recommended practices and procedures. It consists of three levels of documents that comprise a policy reference library. 

Details of the multicolored layers in the Bright Angel formation in the Grand Canyon
NPS Management Policies

Management Policies is the basic Service-wide policy document of the National Park Service

Foggy river scene with scattered stones in the foreground
Director’s Orders and Related Guidance

Director's Orders serve as an “executive summary” of important policies and procedures

Sunset highlights clouds in skies over Big Bend National Park
Policy Memoranda and Related Guidance

Policy Memoranda fill time-sensitive, narrow-in-scope, or interim policy needs

Group of visitors viewing nighttime eruption of Kilauea
What's New in Policy?

Recently approved policies and draft policies available for public comment

Last updated: November 3, 2023