NPS Management Policies 2006


NPS Management Policies 2006 is the basic Service-wide policy document of the National Park Service. It outlines the broad framework, provides direction, and sets limits for making management decisions.

NPS Directives System

Management Policies are the highest of three levels of guidance documents in the NPS Directives System. The Directives System is designed to provide NPS managers and employees with clear and updated information on NPS policies, required or recommended actions, and other information needed for effective management of parks and programs.

  • Level 1 consists of the policies that appear in the book entitled Management Policies, and which set the broad framework, provide direction, and prescribe parameters for making management decisions.
  • Level 2 is Director’s Orders, which articulate new or revised policy on an interim basis between publication dates of NPS Management Policies. They also provide more detailed interpretation of Management Policies and outline requirements applicable to NPS functions, programs and activities, and are a vehicle by which the Director may delegate specific authorities and responsibilities.
  • Level 3 materials include handbooks, reference manuals and other documents containing comprehensive information in support of field and programmatic operations. A typical handbook or reference manual will include relevant legislation, regulations, management policies, other instructions or requirements issued through a Director’s Order, as well as examples, illustrations, recommended practices, forms, etc.

How often are Management Policies revised?

Management policies are revised at appropriate intervals to consolidate Service-wide policy decisions or to respond to new laws and technologies, new understandings of park resources and the factors that affect them, or changes in American society. The NPS may accomplish interim updates or amendments through Director’s Orders (the second level of the Directives System). Director’s Orders also serve as vehicles to clarify or supplement the Management Policies to meet the needs of NPS managers.

Additional Resources

  • NPS Office of Policy: Information on policy development as well as links to relevant laws, regulations, Director’s Orders, and Reference Manuals.
  • NPS Fundamentals Essentials: Law and Policy – A resource in the Knowledge Park that provides information about existing legislation that authorizes NPS employees to make decisions and take action.

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