Superintendent’s Compendium

Compendium Basics

The Superintendent’s Compendium is a list of park-specific administrative orders (or compendium actions) issued by the superintendent pursuant to discretionary authority given to the Superintendent in NPS regulations. Specific discretionary authorities are found throughout 36 CFR, plus a general discretionary authority in 36 CFR 1.5 that also contains procedures for properly issuing compendium actions.

Compendium actions are focused on visitor use. They may close a portion of a park area to a specific use or activity; or impose conditions or restrictions on a use or activity. Compendium actions may not conflict with federal statutes or regulations (including NPS regulations in 36 CFR) and must comply with NPS policies. Each compendium action must be supported by a written determination explaining the reason for the action. The compendium may not be used for actions that are highly controversial or significant – these actions must be promulgated through notice and comment rulemaking and published in the Code of Federal Regulations.

The compendium must be updated annually, which means it should be reviewed, signed and dated by the superintendent at least once per year. This is the minimum requirement. The compendium may be updated at any time and should be reviewed regularly to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date.

Where Can I Find the Compendium? 

The compendium must be made available to the public and should be posted on the System unit’s website on the Laws & Policies page. See the following examples:

  • The Walnut Canyon National Monument website for Laws & Policies contains the compendium for the Flagstaff Area National Monuments.
  • The Grand Canyon National Park website for Laws & Policies contains the compendium for the national park.
  • The Harpers Ferry National Historical park website for Laws & Policies contains the compendium for the historical park.

Why it Matters

The compendium contains park-specific information that governs visitor use of the System unit. A violation of a compendium action by a park visitor can result in criminal penalties. NPS employees and visitors should be aware of the closures and restrictions in the compendium in order to help preserve resources and provide for an enjoyable visitor experience.


Have you ever reviewed your park’s compendium? Can you think of NPS employees or other individuals or groups who might want to read the compendium? How could the park engage them in reviewing the compendium? Share your thoughts in the “Review” section below.

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