Cultural Landscape Guidance Documents

Park Cultural Landscapes Program

Updated Cultural Landscapes

The NPS Park Historic Structures and Cultural Landscapes program has created a collection of Cultural Landscape Guidance Documents on the Integrated Resource management Applications (IRMA). These documents include manuals, handbooks and other reference materials that illustrate and clarify the implementation of laws, management policies, director’s orders and guidelines for the preservation of cultural landscapes. These “how to” documents are generally applicable to the whole National Park Service, and may be helpful to partners in preservation.


Examples of Basic Cultural Landscape Guidance

Cover page for Guidelines for Treatment of Cultural Landscapes
SIS Guidelines for Treatment of Cultural Landscapes

The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes (1996) – This document contains standards and guidelines for the treatment of cultural landscapes. The document provides guidance prior to and during the planning and implementation of treatment projects. These Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes explain how preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction is applied to cultural landscapes in accordance with the Standards.

A Guide to Cultural Landscape Reports: Contents, Process, and Techniques (1998) – This report provides guidance for the creation and use of Cultural Landscape Reports. It begins by presenting a history and context of cultural landscape preservation in the national park system. It then provides a comprehensive instruction for the creation of Cultural Landscape Reports (CLRs). The CLR is the principle treatment document for cultural landscapes and the primary tool for their long-term management. Management and treatment decisions are based on the character of the land, its historical significance, and the challenges to preservation. A CLR is used for maintenance, interpretation, and planning.


Examples of Recently Published Guidance

Cover page for Climate Change and Cultural Landscapes: A Guide to Research, Planning, and Stewardship
Climate Change and Cultural Landscapes

Climate Change and Cultural Landscapes: A Guide to Research, Planning, and Stewardship (2017) – This guide is intended for managers of cultural landscapes to address current and projected climate change impacts at all levels, and it includes a decision framework that tiers off of the NPS Cultural Resources Climate Change Strategy. The framework is organized broadly around the NPS cultural resources model of research, planning, and stewardship. Each section includes an overview of the process, recommended tools and resources, and guiding considerations in addition to specific cultural landscape examples at eight NPS units.

Field Notes: Path & Trail Surface Alternatives for Cultural Landscape Applications (2017) (Note: resource not available for public users)- This document examines an array of products used by NPS professionals to preserve the historic character of unpaved circulation systems in cultural landscapes. The document includes product details, evaluations, and links to manufacturer’s websites. There is a summary ranking of these products and links to other resources on path and trail surfacing alternatives. Field Notes is an occasional publication for sharing NPS parks’ staffs’ experiences with products and techniques pertaining to cultural landscapes. This document presents stories and opinions of NPS cultural landscape specialists and should not be considered an official product endorsement by the National Park Service.

Preservation Brief 48: Preserving Grave Markers in Historic Cemeteries (2016) – Cemeteries across the country are not only places of burial, but they also provide a vivid record of community history. This document focuses on grave marker preservation to provide guidance for people who are responsible for or are interested in preserving and protecting them. The Brief describes grave maker materials and the risk factors that contribute to their decay. It also provides guidance for assessing marker conditions and discusses maintenance and preservation treatments. Also identified are a number of excellent references that address materials used in all grave markers.


There are currently 48 guidance documents included in this Cultural Landscapes Guidance Documents collection on IRMA. The collection will continue to be updated as new guidance documents for the preservation of cultural landscapes are created.


Can’t find what you need?   Contact the Park Cultural Landscapes Program via email or the program lead in your region.

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