NPS Core Values


The core values of an organization are those values we hold which form the foundation on which we perform work and conduct ourselves. We have an entire universe of values, but some of them are so primary, so important to us that throughout changes in society, government, politics, and technology they are still the core values we will abide by.

In an ever-changing world, core values are constant. Core values are not descriptions of the work we do or the strategies we employ to accomplish our mission. The values underlie our work, how we interact with each other, and which strategies we employ to fulfill our mission. The core values are the basic elements of how we accomplish our work. They are the practices we use (or should be using) every day in everything we do.

What are the NPS Core Values?

The NPS Core Values spell out RITES:

  • Respect: We embrace each other’s differences so that we may enrich the well-being of everyone.
  • Integrity: We deal honestly and fairly with the public and one another.
  • Tradition: We are proud of it; we learn from it; we are not bound by it.
  • Excellence: We continually strive to learn and improve so that we may achieve the highest ideals of public service.
  • Shared Stewardship: We share a commitment to resource stewardship with the global preservation community.

Core Values:

  • Govern personal relationships
  • Guide business processes
  • Clarify who we are
  • Articulate what we stand for
  • Help explain why we do business the way we do
  • Guide us on how to teach
  • Inform us on how to reward
  • Guide us in making decisions
  • Underpin the whole organization
  • Require no external justification
  • Essential tenets

Core Values are not:

  • Operating practices
  • Business strategies
  • Cultural norms
  • Competencies
  • Changed in response to market/administration changes
  • Used individually

How will Core Values be Used?

Core values can be useful in many ways. They can guide us in achieving our mission and strategic goals. They can be the basis on which each of us behaves in doing our daily work.

The National Leadership Council on Core Values:

A strong and vital National Park Service grows from our mission and our values. Our mission gives us purpose. It is the expression of the ideals for which we all work.


Our Core Values are a statement of the framework in which we accomplish our Mission. They express the manner in which, both individually and collectively, we pursue our mission. When we are challenged in fulfilling our mission, our Core Values sustain us and guide us in meeting the challenge.


During the past year, we have conducted workshops with employees at all levels of the NPS to begin discovering the core values that drive the work of the NPS. The similarity of views of the employees was surprising and gratifying. These are core values that are clearly important to all of us. – National Leadership Council, 2001


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  1. As of 3/31/2022 the core values on this page are outdated. The most recent version includes:
    Integrity – We deal honestly, ethically, and fairly with the public and one another.
    Collaboration – We succeed by engaging beyond our silos, tapping new ideas, and expanding our community.
    Accountability – We earn the public’s trust each day by competently and transparently fulfilling our responsibilities.
    Respect – We embrace our differences and treat each person with dignity.
    Engagement – We each participate fully, extend genuine invitations, and remove barriers to inclusion.
    Stewardship – We provide and inspire exceptional care of the places entrusted to us by the American people.

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