NPS Management Policies

The NPS has a basic set of Service-wide management policies governing the operation of all park units. Adherence to policy is mandatory unless specifically waived or modified by the Secretary of the Interior or the Director of the NPS. These policies will guide response actions taken on park lands or waters. Key policy sections include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Unimpaired or Non-Derogation Standard: Congress defines a single standard for the management of the National Park System and that standard is impairment as defined in the NPS Management Policies 2006 (Chapter 1.4). Generally, impairment is an impact that would harm the integrity of park resources or values, including the opportunities for the public to enjoy those park resources or values. Specifically, an impact is likely to constitute an impairment to the extent that it affects a resource or value whose conservation is (Chapter 1.4.5):

    • Necessary to fulfill specific purposes identified in the establishing legislation or proclamation of the park, or

    • Key to the natural or cultural integrity of the park or to opportunities for enjoyment of the park; or

    • Identified as a goal in the park’s general management plan or other relevant NPS planning documents as being of significance.

This standard will be considered an Applicable or Relevant and Appropriate Requirement (ARAR) in determining protection priorities and response actions and in determining cleanup standard of lands and waters within all NPS park units.

  • Use of the Incident Command System for Emergency Operations: NPS Management Policies of 2006 (Chapter direct all NPS emergency operations to be conducted under the Incident Command System of the National Interagency Incident Management System (NIIMS), and all multi-agency incidents to be conducted under the Unified Command System within the Incident Command System.

Last updated: February 28, 2018


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