Laws & Policy


There are many laws that govern how transportation is managed and maintained in the National Park Service (NPS). The NPS is required by the NPS Organic Act and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to plan and make informed decisions that help preserve park resources and values. The NPS carries out this responsibility by preparing studies and involving the public before making decisions that will affect the environment.

Because the NPS Federal Lands Transportation Program (FLTP) is authorized through the US Department of Transportation legislation rather than NPS statutes, there are additional laws that apply to that program.


A policy is a guiding principle or procedure that sets the framework and provides direction for management decisions. Our policies are guided by and consistent with the Constitution, public laws, executive proclamations and orders, and regulations and directives from higher authorities.

The NPS uses the three level directives system. Higher levels of authority (Level 1) contain broad statements and lower level (Level 3) policies focus on specific tasks or issues. Lower level policies acquire their authority from higher ones and cannot contradict the higher authority. In addition, as the NPS develops transportation policy, it cannot contradict policy set by FHWA.

The NPS FLTP relies on Chapter 9, Park Facilities, in NPS Management Policies (2006), a Level 1 directive, as its foundation for giving direction and setting limits for making management decisions.

In October 2016, the NPS Associate Director, Park Planning, Facilities, and Lands issued Interim Policy for Implementing the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, a Level 3 directive, until more comprehensive policy is developed.
For information on the laws, policies and regulations that apply to the NPS, please visit our Laws, Policies & Regulations page.

Last updated: July 17, 2024