Interdisciplinary Resource Protection and Law


This forty-hour interdisciplinary course provides employees with a solid understanding of the resource mission of the NPS and the primary laws, legal authorities, case law interpretation, and policies used to protect park resources. Participants will also receive instruction in the functions and roles that contribute to effective interdisciplinary group work and practice these skills through resource protection case studies.

Training focuses on the ability of the employee to recognize a diversity of natural and cultural resources existing throughout the national park system and the types of threats and vulnerabilities associated with these resources. Participants utilize the legal basis (including compliance) for resource protection and develop skills and strategies to respond and take action to prevent resource injuries through interdisciplinary collaboration. Methods for implementing resource protection and visitor management techniques are explored. Participants will leave this training with the basic level knowledge required to apply legal authorities to safeguard natural and cultural resources, an understanding of the broad range of threats to park resources, and strategies to recognize, respond, and take action to resource impacts. Participants will gain experience using interdisciplinary group processes to ensure effective collaboration among NPS staff, partners and the public.

This course also provides an update of laws, policies, and case law for those who have not reviewed NPS legal authorities in many years. Participants will be required to complete pre- and post-course work to receive full credit for the course. Part of the post-course work will include developing an outline of a response plan Standard Operating Procedure for a resource injury. Law enforcement refresher credit (28.5 hours) is available for this class.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the course, you should be able to:

  • Develop a working knowledge of the legal framework that safeguards natural and cultural resources in the national park system.
  • Explain why knowledge of park resources and values is central to each employee’s responsibility.
  • Describe why every employee has a responsibility to take action to contribute to the protection of system unit resources.
  • Use an integrated approach to identify and communicate threats to system unit resources for the purpose of ensuring that resource injuries are addressed.
  • Demonstrate effective group processes to ensure interdisciplinary and cooperative actions among NPS staff, partners and the public.


Target Audience

Commissioned employees, interpreters in resource education and public information, resource management discipline specialists and maintenance employees that will work in interdisciplinary teams. Employees from other disciplines will be considered on a space-available basis.

Course Format

Blended curriculum:

  • On-line; 3 hours
  • Instructor led; 40 hours
  • Participants are required to complete pre- and post course work to receive credit for the course.

Course Dates

This course is generally given three times a year in the fall, early spring and summer.


NPS Fundamentals is recommended, but not required.

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