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Home arrow News arrow NPS Endorses ACHP Policy Statement arrowA Comparison of Council Policy Statement and Existing NPS Policies
A Comparison of "Balancing Cultural and Natural Values on Federal Lands: Council Policy Statement" and Existing National Park Service Policies
National Park Service


ACHP STATEMENT OF POLICY

The ACHP initial policy statement calls for "resource management and conflict resolution on Federally owned public lands that achieves balance between natural and cultural values," and for recognition that "cultural and natural values are often interrelated and should therefore be considered in an integrated manner, to ensure that cultural values are afforded equal consideration."

RELEVANT NPS POLICIES AND GUIDANCE:

The National Park Service Organic Act establishes the "fundamental purposes" of the national parks: "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such a manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

The Draft Director's Order 13 on Environmental Leadership also offers a broad vision of comprehensive resource protection:

"Landscapes will be managed with biodiversity and environmental stewardship as primary goals. The NPS will protect and restore, where feasible, natural and cultural resources under its stewardship through comprehensive environmental compliance and the use of ecologically protective resource management and planning strategies." [Draft D.O. 13 Environmental Leadership]

NPS Management Policies 2001 provides the following additional instruction:

** All bracketed [ ] citations from here forward refer to NPS Management Policies 2001, unless otherwise specified.

"NPS managers must always seek ways to avoid, or to minimize to the greatest degree practicable, adverse impacts on park resources and values." [1.4.3]

"The 'park resources and values' that are subject to the no-impairment standard include: The park's scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife; . . . scenic features, natural visibility, both in daytime and at night; natural landscapes; natural soundscapes and smells; water and air resources; soils; geological resources; paleontological resources; archeological resources; cultural landscapes; ethnographic resources; historic and prehistoric sites, structures, and objects; museum collections; and native plants and animals." [1.4.6]

"Before approving a proposed action that could lead to an impairment of park resources and values, an NPS decision-maker must consider the impacts of the proposed action and determine, in writing, that the activity will not lead to an impairment of park resources and values. If there would be an impairment, the action may not be approved.

"In making a determination of whether there would be an impairment, a National Park Service decision- maker must use his or her professional judgment. The decision-maker must consider any environmental assessments or environmental impact statements required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA); relevant scientific studies, and other sources of information; and public comments." [1.4.7]

Concerning these NEPA documents, the Director's Order #12 Handbook ("Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision Making") notes in part:

"Section 106 review and NEPA are two separate, distinct processes. They can and should occur simultaneously. . .They should. . .be coordinated to avoid duplication of public involvement and other requirements. The information and mitigation gathered as part of the 106 review must be included in the NEPA document, and the 106 process must be completed before a FONSI or an ROD can be signed on a proposal that affects historic properties." [2.13 C.3.]


ACHP PRINCIPLE I: IDENTIFY POTENTIAL CONFLICTS EARLY

The Council calls for "full study of the potentially competing resources through land management planning processes or other land management initiatives." It discourages demolition by neglect and indicates that such neglect should result only from "management decisions made in the context of long-range planning with full public involvement."


RELEVANT NPS POLICIES AND GUIDANCE:

NPS Management Policies 2001 offers significant guidance on the planning process:

General Management Plans (interdisciplinary; public involvement)

"The Service will maintain an up-to-date GMP for each unit of the national park system. The purpose of each GMP will be to ensure that the park has a clearly defined direction for resource preservation and visitor use. This basic foundation for decision-making will be developed by an interdisciplinary team, in consultation with relevant offices within the Service, other federal and state agencies, other interested parties, and the general public. The GMP will be based on full and proper utilization of scientific information related to existing and potential resource conditions, visitor experiences, environmental impacts, and relative costs of alternative courses of action. General management planning will constitute the first phase of tiered planning and decision-making. It will focus on why the park was established, and what management prescriptions (i.e., resource conditions, visitor experiences, and appropriate types of management actions) should be achieved and maintained over time. The GMP will take the long view, which may project many years into the future, when dealing with the time frames of natural and cultural processes. The plan will consider the park in its full ecological, scenic, and cultural contexts as a unit of the national park system and as part of a surrounding region." [2.3.1]

"An interdisciplinary team, including park managers and technical experts, will prepare GMPs. Planning teams will consult with park staff, Service leadership, other agencies with jurisdiction by virtue of law or expertise, other knowledgeable persons, and the public concerning future management of park resources." [2.3.1.4].

The need for an interdisciplinary approach also appears in Director's Order #12:

"NPS decisions need to reflect this [interdisciplinary] approach as the standard for management in all units. . . NPS managers must consistently apply the principles of interdisciplinary decision-making in order to achieve our goals as resource stewards and 'environmental leaders.'" [D.O. #12, 4.11]

Returning to NPS Management Policies 2001:

"The planning framework for each park will contain the following elements:

  • The park's mission, and the broad, park-wide mission goals. The park's mission includes the park's purpose and significance, based on the park's enabling legislation or Presidential proclamation, and any laws and Executive orders that apply to the national park system or to the individual park unit. Mission goals will articulate the ideals that the NPS will strive to achieve in the park. Park mission goals tier off, or flow from, the overall goals for the national park system.
  • Specific management prescriptions in the park general management plan (GMP). Management prescriptions will (1) clearly define the desired natural and cultural resource conditions and visitor experiences to be achieved and maintained over time; and (2) identify the kinds and levels of management activities, visitor use, and development that are appropriate for maintaining the desired conditions." [2.2]

"Decisions documented in GMPs and other planning products, including environmental analysis and documentation, will be based on current scientific and scholarly understanding of park ecosystems and cultural contexts, and the socioeconomic environment." [2.3.1.5]

"Members of the public-including existing and potential visitors, park neighbors, people with traditional cultural ties to lands within the park, concessioners, cooperating associations, other partners, scientists and scholars, and other government agencies-will be encouraged to participate during the preparation of a GMP and the associated environmental analysis. Public involvement will meet NEPA and other federal requirements for identifying the scope of issues, for developing the range of alternatives considered in planning, for reviewing the analysis of potential impacts, and for disclosing the rationale for decisions about the park's future. The Service will use the public involvement process to share information about legal and policy mandates, the planning process, issues, and proposed management directions; learn about the values placed by other people and groups on the same resources and visitor experiences; and build support for implementing the plan among local interests, visitors, Congress, and others at the regional and national level." [2.3.1.6]

"Alternative futures for the park will be explored and assessed during general management planning and environmental analysis. Within the broad parameters of the park mission and mission goals, various approaches to park resource preservation, use, and development may be possible, some of which may represent competing demands for the same resource base. The GMP will be the principal tool for resolving such issues. The range of alternatives will examine different combinations of management prescriptions, within the limits of laws, regulations, and policies governing national parks. [2.3.1.7] . . . The analysis of alternatives will meet the program standards for NPS implementation of NEPA and related legislation, including the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). An environmental impact statement (EIS) will be prepared for GMPs." [2.3.1.8]

"Implementation planning will focus on how to implement activities and projects needed to achieve the management prescriptions identified in the GMP and in the complementary long-term goals in the park strategic plan. Developing plans of action for dealing with complex, technical, and sometimes controversial issues often requires a level of detail and thorough analysis beyond that appropriate at the GMP or strategic plan levels. Implementation planning will provide this level of detail and analysis." [2.3.3]

"Any decisions calling for actions having the potential to significantly affect the human environment will require a formal analysis of alternatives, in compliance with NEPA and related legislation, including NHPA. Because many issues involving environmental quality and cultural resources will be resolved through implementation planning, rather than general management planning, the NEPA and NHPA section 106 processes begun during general management planning will often be continued as part of implementation planning." [2.3.3.4]

Adequate information base

"The future of the Service as an accountable organization, and the future of individual parks, depends heavily on (1) the availability, management, and dissemination of comprehensive information, and (2) the Service's success in long-term preservation and management of, and access to that information. [1.7] . . . . The Service is committed to the widest possible sharing and availability of knowledge, and to fostering discussion about the national park system, America's natural and cultural heritage found in national parks, and the national experiences and values they represent." [1.7.1]

"The National Park Service will conduct a vigorous interdisciplinary program of research into the cultural resources of each park. The principal goals of such research will be to:

  • Ensure a systematic, adequate, and current information base representing the park's cultural resources and traditionally associated peoples, in support of planning, management, and operations;

  • Ensure appropriate protection, preservation, treatment, and interpretation of cultural resources, employing the best current scholarship;

  • Develop approaches for managing park cultural and natural resources that ensure consideration of the views held by traditionally associated peoples and others, as appropriate;

  • Collect data on subsistence and other consumptive uses of park resources in order to reach informed decisions; and

  • Develop appropriate technologies and methods for monitoring, protecting, preserving, and treating cultural resources.

"Adequate research to support informed planning and compliance with legal requirements will precede any final decisions about the treatment of cultural resources, or about park operations, development, and natural resource management activities that might affect cultural resources. Research will be periodically updated to reflect changing issues, sources, and methods. Research needs will be identified and justified in a park's approved resource management plan." [5.1.1]

"The National Park Service will conduct surveys to identify and evaluate the cultural resources of each park, assessing resources within their larger cultural, chronological, and geographic contexts. The resulting inventories will provide the substantive data required for (1) nominating resources to the National Register of Historic Places; (2) general park planning and specific proposals for preserving, protecting, and treating cultural resources; (3) land acquisition, development, and maintenance activities; (4) interpretation, education, and natural and cultural resource management activities; and (5) compliance with legal requirements." [5.1.3]

"The Park Service will (1) maintain and expand the following inventories about cultural resources in units of the national park system, (2) enter information into appropriate related databases, and (3) develop an integrated information system:

Archeological sites inventory for historic and prehistoric archeological resources and the related Archeological Sites Management Information System (ASMIS) database;

Cultural landscapes inventory of historic designed landscapes, historic vernacular landscapes, ethnographic landscapes, and historic sites, and the related Cultural Landscapes Automated Inventory Management System (CLAIMS) database;

Ethnographic Resources Inventory (ERI) of places, including sites, structures, objects, landscapes, and natural resources with traditional cultural meaning and value to associated peoples and other resource users;

List of Classified Structures (LCS), encompassing historic and prehistoric structures; and

National Catalog of Museum Objects, encompassing all cultural objects, archival and manuscript materials, and natural history specimens in NPS collections and the related automated version, the Automated National Catalog System (ANCS+ or its successor)." [5.1.3.1]

"The general management planning process will include goals and strategies for research on, consultation about, and stewardship of cultural resources, and for research on and consultation with traditionally associated and other peoples. Planning for park operations, development, and natural resource management activities will integrate relevant concerns and program needs for identifying, evaluating, monitoring, protecting, preserving, and treating cultural resources." [5.2]

Consultation with Interested Public

"The National Park Service is committed to the open and meaningful exchange of knowledge and ideas to enhance (1) the public's understanding of park resources and values, and the policies and plans that affect them; and (2) the Service's ability to plan and manage the parks by learning from others. Open exchange requires that the Service seek and employ ways to reach out to, and consult with, all those who have an interest in the parks.

"Each park superintendent will consult with outside parties having an interest in the park's cultural resources or in proposed NPS actions that might affect those resources, and provide them with opportunities to learn about, and comment on, those resources and planned actions. Consultation may be formal, as when it is required pursuant to NAGPRA or Section 106 of the NHPA, or it may be informal when there is not a specific statutory requirement. Consultation will be initiated, as appropriate, with tribal, state, and local governments; state and tribal historic preservation officers; the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; other interested federal agencies; traditionally associated peoples; present-day park neighbors; and other interested groups.

"Consultations on proposed Park Service actions will take place as soon as practical, and in an appropriate forum that ensures, to the maximum extent possible, effective communication and the identification of mutually acceptable alternatives. The Service will establish and maintain continuing relationships with outside parties to facilitate future collaboration, formal consultations, and the ongoing informal exchange of views and information on cultural resource matters." [5.2.1]

ACHP PRINCIPLE II: DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN REAL AND PERCEIVED CONFLICTS

The Council notes that "Assumptions are often made about conflicts among competing resource values" that are not necessarily based on adequate analysis, especially on the question of whether "the ecosystem or natural area [is] in fact threatened by the presence of historic properties." The Council calls for a "full understanding of the resources," so that the real impact of the presence of, use of, and access to historic areas upon natural resources can be realistically evaluated.


RELEVANT NPS POLICIES AND GUIDANCE:

In addition to various of the materials cited above on interdisciplinary planning and ongoing consultation with interested parties, NPS guidance documents offer the following additional instructions of particular relevance to this Council Principle.

Scientific research

Director's Order #12 requires "that environmental costs and benefits of NPS proposed actions are fully and openly evaluated before actions are taken that may impact the human environment. This evaluation must include provisions for:

Meaningful participation by the public and other stakeholders;
Development and critical evaluation of alternative courses of action;
Rigorous application of scientific and technical information in the planning, evaluation and decision-making processes..... [D.O.12 at 4.3]

Director's Order #12 continues: "Pursuant to NPOMA and NEPA, NPS management decisions will be based on ample technical and scientific studies properly considered and appropriate to the decisions made. In making decisions, the NPS will articulate a reasoned connection between technical and scientific information and the final agency action." [D.O. 12 at 4.4]

NPS Management Policies 2001 also speaks more specifically to this Council Principle:

"The Service will encourage appropriately reviewed natural resource studies whenever such studies are consistent with applicable laws and policies. These studies support the NPS mission by providing the Service, the scientific community, and the public with an understanding of park resources, processes, values, and uses that will be cumulative and constantly refined. This approach will provide a scientific and scholarly basis for park planning, development, operations, management, education, and interpretive activities." [4.2]

"Each park will prepare and periodically update a long-range (with at least one to two decades in view) comprehensive strategy for natural resource management, as appropriate. This long-range strategy will describe the comprehensive program of activities needed to achieve the desired future conditions for the park's natural resources. It will integrate the best available science, and will prescribe activities such as inventories, research, monitoring, restoration, mitigation, protection, education, and management of resource uses. The strategy will also describe the natural-resource-related activities needed to achieve desired future conditions for cultural resources (such as historic landscapes) and visitor enjoyment.

"Similarly, planning for park operations, development, and management activities that might affect natural resources will be guided by high-quality, scientifically acceptable information, data, and impact assessment. Where existing information is inadequate, the collection of new information and data may be required prior to decision-making." [4.1.1]


COUNCIL PRINCIPLE III: RECOGNIZE THAT COMPETING VALUES HAVE COMPETING CONSTITUENCIES

The Council recommends that "Consultation with both environmental advocates and historic preservationists should be integrated," that "Where values are in conflict, natural and cultural resource planning should be undertaken in concert," and that in any event "scheduling separate planning initiatives should take into account the interrelatedness of natural and cultural values."


RELEVANT NPS POLICIES AND GUIDANCE:

Integration of NEPA and 106 Processes

As previously noted, The Director's Order #12 Handbook, "Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision Making," specifically addresses the integration of the NEPA and 106 processes:

"Section 106 review and NEPA are two separate, distinct processes. They can and should occur simultaneously, and documents can be combined, but one is not a substitute for the other. They should, however, be coordinated to avoid duplication of public involvement or other requirements. The information and mitigation gathered as part of the 106 review must be included in the NEPA document, and the 106 process must be completed before a FONSI or an ROD can be signed on a proposal that affects historic properties." [Handbook at 2.13 C.3.]

NPS Management Policies 2001 also addresses NEPA/106 coordination:

"Where NEPA and sections 106 and 110 of NHPA (16 USC 470f and 470h-2, respectively) both apply, NEPA procedures will be used to inform the public about undertakings having the potential to affect properties listed on, or eligible for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places, consistent with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's regulatory provisions governing coordination with NEPA, and the NPS nationwide programmatic agreement on section 106 compliance." [2.3.1.8]


ACHP PRINCIPLE IV: BROADEN UNDERSTANDING OF ALL AFFECTED RESOURCES

The Council suggests that in approaching questions of historical significance agencies should "build upon National Register criteria as commonly applied to historic properties by drawing upon a wide range of scholarship." Further, agencies should understand that the "changing demographics of visitorship to public lands" likely means that "new visitors will bring different interests and perspectives. . ."


RELEVANT NPS POLICIES AND GUIDANCE:

NPS Management Policies 2001 provides the following guidance on identifying and evaluating cultural resources:

"The National Park Service will conduct a vigorous interdisciplinary program of research into the cultural resources of each park. The principal goals of such research will be to:

  • Ensure a systematic, adequate, and current information base representing the park's cultural resources and traditionally associated peoples, in support of planning, management, and operations;

  • Ensure appropriate protection, preservation, treatment, and interpretation of cultural resources, employing the best current scholarship;

  • Develop approaches for managing park cultural and natural resources that ensure consideration of the views held by traditionally associated peoples and others, as appropriate;

  • Collect data on subsistence and other consumptive uses of park resources in order to reach informed decisions; and

  • Develop appropriate technologies and methods for monitoring, protecting, preserving, and treating cultural resources.

"Research will be periodically updated to reflect changing issues, sources, and methods." [5.1]

"The National Park Service will conduct surveys to identify and evaluate the cultural resources of each park, assessing resources within their larger cultural, chronological, and geographic contexts. . . ." [5.1.3]

"The Park Service will (1) maintain and expand the: . . .

  • Cultural landscapes inventory of historic designed landscapes, historic vernacular landscapes, ethnographic landscapes, and historic sites, and the related Cultural Landscapes Automated Inventory Management System (CLAIMS) database; [and the]

  • Ethnographic Resources Inventory (ERI) of places, including sites, structures, objects, landscapes, and natural resources with traditional cultural meaning and value to associated peoples and other resource users; . . ." [5.1.3.1]

"Ethnographically meaningful cultural and natural resources, including traditional cultural properties, will be identified and evaluated in consultation with peoples having traditional associations to park resources. Examples of traditionally associated peoples include Acadians, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans. Some ethnographically meaningful resources do not meet National Register Criteria for Evaluation, but will be inventoried in consultation with traditionally associated peoples and considered in management decisions about treatment and use." [5.1.3.2]

"Periodically reassessing the GMP will give everyone with a major stake in the park an opportunity to re-validate the park's role in the nation and in the region, and to re-evaluate whether the kinds of resource conditions and visitor experiences being pursued are the best possible mix for the future." [2.3.1.12]

NPS' Cultural Resource Management Guideline, issued pursuant to Director's Order #28, speaks extensively to the need for a broad, open-minded approach toward identifying, evaluating, and caring for cultural resources:

"Cultural resources constitute a unique medium through which all people, regardless of background, can see themselves and the rest of the world from a new point of view. Access to cultural resources means that people can learn not only about their own immediate ancestors but about other traditions as well. New citizens can discover for themselves how earlier immigrants became Americans; descendants of African, Asian, and European ancestors can discover unexpected commonali-ties; and all of us can come to better appreciate the great saga of Native American history. Such an exchange offers every American a place of importance in the history of our country as well as an opportunity to meet others and be met in a spirit of mutual tolerance, appreciation, and respect.

"A primary responsibility of the National Park Service is to identify, protect, and share the cultural resources under its jurisdiction. The work inherent in this endeavor is varied and challenging. First, there must be systematic, open-minded study by archeologists, historians, and other specialists to locate resources and to discover or substantiate their significance. Second, considerable thought must be given to the problem of simultaneous-ly protecting park resources and making them available to the public. Third, appropriate treatment programs and protective measures must be put into effect. . .

"American history is well represented in the national park system. Although political and military themes have predominated, the parks' historical associations range from aboriginal settlement of the Western Hemisphere to . . .the struggle for voting rights. . . . The National Park Service is also steward of places, objects, and records important in perpetuating specific ethnic traditions. Such resources include vision quest sites and evangelical churches, feathered headdresses and hand-forged farm tools, oral histories and salmon-filled rivers. When used by their associated ethnic groups, these types of resources help underpin entire cultural systems. Resource management sensitive to the rights and interests of these groups, especially Native Americans, can help perpetuate if not strengthen traditional activities such as subsistence, language use, religious practice, and aesthetic expression. In this context, cultural resource manage-ment extends beyond concern with tangible resources to recognition and accommodation of cultural processes.

"How is a cultural resource identified and what makes a resource significant? What should be done to properly care for a cultural resource? How do cultural resources fit into the overall scheme of park manage-ment?. . . . In the past, these questions have usually been answered in the context of specific academic disciplines, such as architecture or museology. But when park managers and cultural resource specialists talk about cultural resource issues or when NPS staff meet with state historic preservation officers, their discussions would undoubtedly benefit from a common understanding of the program as a whole. . . . .

"The National Historic Preservation Act recognizes five property types: districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects. . . . .Resource categories are useful because they help organize cultural resources into a manageable number of groups based on common attributes. On the other hand, categorization may obscure the interdisciplinary nature of many cultural resources. An early farmhouse, for example, may be filled with 19th-century furniture, form the centerpiece of a vernacular landscape, and occupy the site of a prehistoric burial mound. In addition to this type of overlap, cultural resources might also embrace more than one category or classifica-tion system. A stone ax can be both an archeological resource and a museum object, just as a fence may be viewed as a discrete structure, the extension of a building, and part of a landscape. Taken a step further, historic districts can be formed by various combinations of cultural land-scapes, struc-tures, and ethnographic and archeological resources. . . .

"Ethnographic resources are basic expressions of human culture and the basis for continuity of cultural systems. A cultural system encompasses both the tangible and the intangible. It includes traditional arts and native languages, religious beliefs and subsistence activities. Some of these traditions are supported by ethnographic resour-ces: special places in the natural world, structures with historic associations, and natural materials. An ethnogra-phic resource might be a riverbank used as a Pueblo ceremonial site or a schoolhouse associated with Hispanic education, sea grass needed to make baskets in an African-American tradition or a 19th-century sample of carved ivory from Alaska. Management of ethnographic resources acknowledges that culturally diverse groups have their own ways of viewing the world and a right to maintain their traditions. . . . [E]thnographic resources are not limited to things commonly thought of as cultural resources, nor are ethnographic associations limited to past people and events. For ethnographic resources, associations are links to living traditions. For example, in ethnographic terms a grove of trees or a distant mountain peak might be considered worthy of preservation for social or religious associations when tied to the ongoing cultural practices and beliefs of a specific ethnic group. An archeologi-cal site signifi-cant for its scientific value may also be an ethnographic resource for its place in the mythology of a nearby pueblo. . . .

"Research begins by locating and evaluating cultural resources. . . . . A major issue in research is setting appropriate limits on the scope and level of investigation. . . . Research should also consider ideas and advice from people outside the Service-particularly our partners in cultural resource management, contempo-rary ethnic populations, historians, and scientists in related fields. This exchange should grow from a shared under-standing about the nature of cultural resour-c-es, it should reflect awareness that treatment without adequate information may do more harm than good, and it should not presume that research is an end in itself. . . .

"[C]ultural resource management must be integrated with natural resource management, education, and visitor experience as the primary concerns of park management. An integrated approach builds on the fundamental relationships among physical, biological, and social systems; it views human beings as part of the natural world and the natural world as the basis for human activity."


ACHP PRINCIPLE V: RECOGNIZE THAT ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF BARRIERS IS A FIRST STEP TOWARD PROBLEM-SOLVING WHEN CULTURAL AND NATURAL VALUES COMPETE

The Council points out that "a host of real-world problems often contributes to a perception that natural and cultural values cannot be reconciled."

The Council cites as barriers the rights of private in-holders, misconceptions about the requirements of the Wilderness Act, and a perception that preserving the natural environment is more cost-effective than preserving historic properties.


RELEVANT NPS POLICIES AND GUIDANCE:

NPS Management Policies 2001 offers the following guidance on these Council points:

Reconciling Natural and Cultural Values

"Each park will prepare and periodically update a long-range (with at least one to two decades in view) comprehensive strategy for natural resource management, as appropriate. This long-range strategy will describe the comprehensive program of activities needed to achieve the desired future conditions for the park's natural resources. It will integrate the best available science, and will prescribe activities such as inventories, research, monitoring, restoration, mitigation, protection, education, and management of resource uses. The strategy will also describe the natural-resource-related activities needed to achieve desired future conditions for cultural resources (such as historic landscapes) and visitor enjoyment." [4.1.1]

"The treatment of a cultural landscape will preserve significant physical attributes, biotic systems, and uses when those uses contribute to historical significance. Treatment decisions will be based on a cultural landscape's historical significance over time, existing conditions, and use. Treatment decisions will consider both the natural and built characteristics and features of a landscape, the dynamics inherent in natural processes and continued use, and the concerns of traditionally associated peoples." [5.3.5.2]

Limiting Access

"Park superintendents will set, enforce, and monitor carrying capacities to limit public visitation to, or use of, cultural resources that would be subject to adverse effects from unrestricted levels of visitation or use. This will include (1) reviewing the park's purpose; (2) analyzing existing visitor use of, and related impacts to, the park's cultural resources and traditional resource users; (3) prescribing indicators and specific standards for acceptable and sustainable visitor use; and (4) identifying ways to address and monitor unacceptable impacts resulting from overuse." [5.3.1.6]

Wilderness

"Cultural resources that have been included within wilderness will be protected and maintained according to the pertinent laws and policies governing cultural resources, using management methods that are consistent with the preservation of wilderness character and values. These laws include the Antiquities Act and the Historic Sites, Buildings and Antiquities Act, as well as subsequent historic preservation legislation, including NHPA, ARPA, and NAGPRA. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) reaffirms the first Amendment rights of Native Americans to access national park lands for the exercise of their traditional religious practices. The Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation projects provide direction for protection and maintenance. . . . Native Americans will be permitted access within wilderness for sacred or religious purposes consistent with the intent of AIRFA, the Wilderness Act, and other applicable authorities provided by federal statutes and Executive orders." [6.3.8]

"The park's wilderness management plan may be developed as a separate document or as an action component of another planning document. Wilderness management plans will be supported by appropriate documentation of compliance with NEPA and NHPA. The plan will be developed with public involvement, and will contain specific, measurable management objectives that address the preservation and management of natural and cultural resources within wilderness as appropriate to achieve the purposes of the Wilderness Act and other legislative requirements." [6.3.4.2]


ACHP PRINCIPLE VI: CONSIDER FULL RANGE OF FEASIBLE ALTERNATIVES WHEN CULTURAL AND NATURAL VALUES INTERRELATE

The Council notes that both the Section 106 process and the NEPA process are intended as vehicles for considering a full range of alternatives on the way to making a decision. They are not intended to be simply approval processes for a decision that has already been made. "Paramount to the successful resolution of competing interests between natural and cultural resources is the commitment to examine alternate methods for implementing an undertaking."


RELEVANT NPS POLICIES AND GUIDANCE:

Full Range of Alternatives

NPS Management Policies 2001 specifically calls for examination of a full range of alternatives. It also acknowledges the need for reconciling competing demands for the same resource base:

"Alternative futures for the park will be explored and assessed during general management planning and environmental analysis. Within the broad parameters of the park mission and mission goals, various approaches to park resource preservation, use, and development may be possible, some of which may represent competing demands for the same resource base. The GMP will be the principal tool for resolving such issues. The range of alternatives will examine different combinations of management prescriptions, within the limits of laws, regulations, and policies governing national parks. [2.3.1.7]

Integration of NEPA and 106 Processes

Director's Order #12 Handbook, "Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision Making," amplifies the discussion of examining a full range of alternatives. It also speaks directly to the question of integrating the NEPA and 106 processes:

"A key feature of NEPA is that under CEQ regulations (1502.5) all analysis, public input, and documentation must be completed in time to be a useful part of decision-making. Initiating or completing environmental analysis after a decision has been made, whether formally or informally, is a violation of both the spirit and the letter of the law. NEPA's intent is to encourage planning for conservation and resource management and integration of scientific and technical information into management decisions, rather than an after-the-fact "compliance" effort. A well-done NEPA analysis provides useful information on environmental pros and cons (i.e., impacts) of a variety of reasonable choices (alternatives); this analysis is much like economic cost-benefit or technical or logistical planning. It is an essential prelude to the effective management of park resources." [Handbook 1.2.C.]

"Knowing how early or how late to begin a NEPA analysis is often a difficult balancing act. You should try to start early, so that environmental information can be a valuable part of the decision-making process. . . . All of the steps necessary to complete the NEPA process are to be finished in time to be part of any recommendation or report on the proposal - that is, early enough so that the final document can 'serve practically as an important contribution to the decision-making process.'" [Handbook 1.5]

"You must examine a full range of alternatives in the analysis documented in either an EIS or an EA. Those alternatives carried forward for analysis must meet project objectives to a large degree, although not necessarily completely. . .The alternatives must also be developed with environmental resources (rather than cost, e.g.) as the primary determinant. . .[T]he range of alternatives you consider may not ultimately be fully analyzed as 'reasonable alternatives'. . ." [Handbook 2.7.A.]

"After the environmental analysis is completed, you must identify the environmentally preferred alternative or alternatives. . . .This includes alternatives that. . .preserve important historic, cultural, and natural aspects of our national heritage and maintain, wherever possible, an environment that supports diversity and variety of individual choice. . . . Simply put, 'this means the alternative that causes the least damage to the biological and physical environment; it also means the alternative which best protects, preserves, and enhances historic, cultural, and natural resources. . . . Through identification of the environmentally preferred alternative, the NPS decision-makers and the public are clearly faced with the relative merits of choices and must clearly state through the decision-making process the values and policies used in reaching final decisions." [Handbook 2.7.D.]

As noted above, the Handbook specifically calls for coordination of the NEPA and 106 processes:

"Section 106 review and NEPA are two separate, distinct processes. They can and should occur simultaneously, and documents can be combined, but one is not a substitute for the other. They should, however, be coordinated to avoid duplication of public involvement or other requirements. The information and mitigation gathered as part of the 106 review must be included in the NEPA document, and the 106 process must be completed before a FONSI or an ROD can be signed on a proposal that affects historic properties." [Handbook at 2.13 C.3.]

"As necessary, GMPs will be reviewed and amended or revised, or a new plan will be prepared, to keep them current. GMP reviews may be needed every 10 to 15 years, or sooner if conditions change more rapidly. Even in parks with strong traditions and established patterns of use and development, managers will be responsible for assessing whether resources are threatened with impairment, the visitor experience has been degraded, or the park's built environment is difficult to sustain. Periodically reassessing the GMP will give everyone with a major stake in the park an opportunity to re-validate the park's role in the nation and in the region, and to re-evaluate whether the kinds of resource conditions and visitor experiences being pursued are the best possible mix for the future." [2.3.1.12]


ACHP PRINCIPLE VII: USE AN INTEGRATED APPROACH TO SECTION 106 REVIEW, SECTION 110, NEPA, PARK PLANNING, AND OTHER AUTHORITIES . . . AS A METHOD OF REACHING THE BROADEST RANGE OF THE INTERESTED PUBLIC

The Council emphasizes that, because various constituencies have an interest in agency planning and decision-making, the various processes for consulting those constituencies should be "interconnected" to avoid conflicts during the planning process, and to avoid subsequent needs for amending land management plans to account for interests that should have been considered during the planning process.


RELEVANT NPS POLICIES AND GUIDANCE:

The previously cited material from Director's Order #12 Handbook, "Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision Making," calls for coordination of the NEPA and 106 processes "to avoid duplication of public involvement."

The Handbook also offers the following general mandate:

"Be diligent and creative in your efforts to involve the public in your NEPA procedures and resources planning." [Handbook 4.8]

The Handbook provides additional instructions on consultation and public involvement that make clear NPS' intent to seek out and involve the full range of interested parties in the planning process. Those instructions emphasize the importance of identifying cross-cutting and related authorities. They also call for consultation at the internal scoping stage.

"Internal scoping" is simply the use of NPS staff . . . to decide what needs to be analyzed in a NEPA document. It is an interdisciplinary process, and at a minimum it should be used to define issues, alternatives, and data needs. The IDT [Interdisciplinary Team] may also be used to. . .put together a public involvement strategy. . ." [Handbook 2.6]

"Other federal, state, and local laws may have information requirements that overlap with NEPA. The study of these resources and information about their present status (i.e., affected environment) should be integrated into your NEPA document. . .[Y]ou must consult local, state, and other federal agencies as part of scoping to determine all of the applicable requirements." [Handbook 2.13.C.] In addition to the NHPA, this section lists as examples of other requirements the Endangered Species Act, Executive Orders on Floodplain Management and Wetland Protection, Executive Order on Environmental Justice, and Secretarial Orders on Indian Trust Resources.

Instructions for preparing an Environmental Impact Statement include:

"Scoping with interested federal, state, and local agencies and Indian tribes should be a part of the internal scoping process (see section 2.6 and section 2.13 [cited above] on cooperating agencies).

  1. Historic preservation officers - you should invite the early participation of the state or tribal historic preservation officer by letter when historic properties are associated with any NPS alternative under consideration in an EA or an EIS.

  2. Other agencies - Any interested agency, or any agency with jurisdiction by law or expertise, must be contacted to obtain early input, and should be solicited to be cooperating agencies. This could include federal, state, local or tribal agencies or units of government…

  3. Indian tribes - Early in the scoping of an EIS, the involved decision-makers and members of the IDT should identify potential American Indian issues and the likelihood of tribal/state agency formal interests in NPS proposed actions. Any affected tribes must be invited to scoping meetings and provided with review copies of documents." [Handbook 4.8.B.2.]

Specific instructions for preparation of an Environmental Assessment include the following:

"Regardless of the specific requirements described in this section, NPS should always make a 'diligent' effort to involve the interested and affected public. . .on a proposal for which an EA is prepared. This is a requirement of NEPA, and in the NPS, it means public scoping sessions, public review of EAs, responses to comments, and other measures normally reserved for EISs if the issuing office believes such measures are needed to comply with the diligence standard.

"Scoping, or requesting early input before the analysis formally begins, is required on all EAs prepared by NPS. Although public scoping is encouraged where an interested or affected public exists, issuing offices are only required to involve appropriate federal, state, and local agencies and any affected Indian tribe." [Handbook 5.5]

For Categorical Exclusions the Handbook says:

"CEQ requires agencies to always make a 'diligent' effort to involve any interested and affected public that exist. . . You should include an internal scoping step to brainstorm whether any interested or affected public exist, and discuss the best method to involve them if they do." [Handbook 3.7]

Beyond the more specific prescriptions of the Handbook, previously cited sections of NPS Management Policies 2001 make clear NPS' intent to reach the broadest range of the interested public:

"The National Park Service is committed to the open and meaningful exchange of knowledge and ideas to enhance (1) the public's understanding of park resources and values, and the policies and plans that affect them; and (2) the Service's ability to plan and manage the parks by learning from others. Open exchange requires that the Service seek and employ ways to reach out to, and consult with, all those who have an interest in the parks.

"Each park superintendent will consult with outside parties having an interest in the park's cultural resources or in proposed NPS actions that might affect those resources, and provide them with opportunities to learn about, and comment on, those resources and planned actions. Consultation may be formal, as when it is required pursuant to NAGPRA or Section 106 of the NHPA, or it may be informal when there is not a specific statutory requirement. Consultation will be initiated, as appropriate, with tribal, state, and local governments; state and tribal historic preservation officers; the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; other interested federal agencies; traditionally associated peoples; present-day park neighbors; and other interested groups.

"Consultations on proposed Park Service actions will take place as soon as practical, and in an appropriate forum that ensures, to the maximum extent possible, effective communication and the identification of mutually acceptable alternatives. The Service will establish and maintain continuing relationships with outside parties to facilitate future collaboration, formal consultations, and the ongoing informal exchange of views and information on cultural resource matters." [5.2.1]

"Members of the public-including existing and potential visitors, park neighbors, people with traditional cultural ties to lands within the park, concessioners, cooperating associations, other partners, scientists and scholars, and other government agencies-will be encouraged to participate during the preparation of a GMP and the associated environmental analysis. Public involvement will meet NEPA and other federal requirements for identifying the scope of issues, for developing the range of alternatives considered in planning, for reviewing the analysis of potential impacts, and for disclosing the rationale for decisions about the park's future. The Service will use the public involvement process to share information about legal and policy mandates, the planning process, issues, and proposed management directions; learn about the values placed by other people and groups on the same resources and visitor experiences; and build support for implementing the plan among local interests, visitors, Congress, and others at the regional and national level." [2.3.1.6]


ACHP PRINCIPLE VIII: CONSULT WITH INDIAN TRIBES AND NATIVE HAWAIIAN ORGANIZATIONS ON THE FULL RANGE OF CULTURAL AND NATURAL VALUES

The Council calls on agencies to "adequately recognize tribes' status as sovereign nations." The Council also points out that tribes and Native Hawaiians "tend to view cultural and natural resource values as inextricably linked, rather than in conflict, so that land managers should pay particular attention to their views when considering these issues.

RELEVANT NPS POLICIES AND GUIDANCE:

NPS Management Policies 2001 speaks directly to the points raised by the Council:

"Since national parks embody resources and values of interest to a national audience, efforts to reach out and consult must be national in scope. But the Service will be especially mindful of consulting with traditionally associated peoples- those whose cultural systems or ways of life have an association with park resources and values that pre-dates establishment of the park. Traditionally associated peoples may include park neighbors, traditional residents, and former residents who remain attached to the park area despite having relocated. Examples of traditionally associated peoples include American Indians in the contiguous 48 states, Alaska Natives, African Americans at Jean Lafitte, Asian Americans at Manzanar, and Hispanic Americans at Tumacocori.

"In particular, it is essential to consult traditionally associated peoples about:

  • Proposed research on, and stewardship of, cultural and natural resources with ethnographic meaning for the groups;

  • Development of park planning and interpretive documents that may affect resources traditionally associated with the groups;

  • Proposed research that entails collaborative study of the groups;

  • Identification, treatment, use, and determination of affiliation of objects subject to NAGPRA;

  • Repatriation of Native American cultural items or human remains based on requests by affiliated groups in accordance with NAGPRA;

  • Planned excavations and proposed responses to inadvertent discoveries of cultural resources that may be culturally affiliated with the groups;

  • Other proposed NPS actions that may affect the treatment and use of, and access to, cultural and natural resources with known or potential cultural meaning for the groups; and

  • Designation of National Register, national historic landmark, and world heritage sites.

"Consultation with federally recognized American Indian tribes will be on a government-to-government basis. The Service will notify appropriate tribal authorities (such as tribal historic preservation officers) about proposed actions when first conceived, and by subsequently consulting their appointed representatives whenever proposed actions may affect tribal interests, practices, and traditional resources (such as places of religious value). . . .

[The section concludes with the following cross-references:]
"(See Ethnographic Resources 5.3.5.3. Also see ARPA; NAGPRA; NEPA; NHPA [16 USC 470f]; 36 CFR Part 800; 40 CFR Parts 1500-1508; 41 CFR Part 101;, 43 CFR Parts 7 and 10; Executive Memorandum on Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments; Executive Order 13007; Executive Order 13175; 512 Department of the Interior Manual [DM] 2; Director's Order #71: Relationships with Indian Tribes; NPS Guide to the Federal Advisory Committee Act)." [5.2.1]


"Park ethnographic resources are the cultural and natural features of a park that are of traditional significance to traditionally associated peoples. . . Living peoples of many cultural backgrounds-American Indians, Inuit (Eskimos), Native Hawaiians, African Americans, Hispanics, Chinese Americans, Euro-Americans, and farmers, ranchers, and fishermen-may have a traditional association with a particular park.

"Traditionally associated peoples generally differ as a group from other park visitors in that they typically assign significance to ethnographic resources-places closely linked with their own sense of purpose, existence as a community, and development as ethnically distinctive peoples. . . While these places have historic attributes that are of great importance to the group, they may not necessarily have a direct association with the reason the park was established, or be appropriate as a topic of general public interest. . . .

"The Service's primary interest in these places stems from its responsibilities under

  • The NPS Organic Act-to conserve the natural and historic objects within parks unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations;

  • NHPA-to preserve, conserve, and encourage the continuation of the diverse traditional prehistoric, historic, ethnic, and folk cultural traditions that underlie and are a living expression of our American heritage;

  • AIRFA-to protect and preserve for American Indians access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites;

  • ARPA-to secure, for the present and future benefit of the American people, the protection of archeological resources and sites which are on public lands; and

  • NEPA-to preserve important historic, cultural, and natural aspects of our national heritage; and

  • Executive Order 13007-to (1) accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites by Indian religious practitioners and (2) avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sacred sites.

"The Service must therefore be respectful of these ethnographic resources, and carefully consider the effects that NPS actions may have on them. When religious issues are evident, the Service must also consider constraints imposed on federal agency actions by the first and fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

"The National Park Service will adopt a comprehensive approach that considers parks and traditionally associated and other peoples as interrelated members of an ecosystem. As an aid to appreciating the diverse human heritage and associated resources that characterize the national park system, the Service will identify the present-day peoples whose cultural practices and identities were, and often still are, closely associated with each park's cultural and natural resources." [5.3.5.3]

"Consistent with the requirements of the Organic Act, NHPA, AIRFA, ARPA, NEPA, and Executive Order 13007 cited in section 5.3.5.3 above, the Service will strive to allow American Indians and other traditionally associated peoples access to, and use of, ethnographic resources. Continued access to and use of ethnographic resources is often essential to the survival of family, community, or regional cultural systems, including patterns of belief and sociocultural and religious life. . . ." [5.3.5.3.1]

"The National Park Service acknowledges that American Indian tribes, including native Alaskans, treat specific places containing certain natural and cultural resources as sacred places having established religious meaning, and as locales of private ceremonial activities. Consistent with Executive Order 13007, the Service will, to the extent practicable, accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites by religious practitioners from recognized American Indian and Alaska native tribes, and avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sacred sites.

"In consultation with the appropriate groups, the Service will develop a record about such places, and identify any treatments preferred by the groups. This information will alert superintendents and planners to the potential presence of sensitive areas, and will be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law. The Service will collaborate with affected groups to prepare mutually agreeable strategies for providing access to enhancing the likelihood of privacy during religious ceremonies. Any strategies that are developed must comply with constitutional and other legal requirements. To the extent feasible and allowable by law, accommodations will also be made for access to, and the use of, sacred places when interest is expressed by other traditionally associated peoples, especially native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders, and by American Indian peoples and others who often have a long-standing connection and identity with a particular park or resource." [5.3.5.3.2]

Concerning consultation with tribes early in the planning process, see again the Handbook, for example:

"Scoping with interested federal, state, and local agencies and Indian tribes should be a part of the internal scoping process. . . .

Early in the scoping of an EIS, the involved decision-makers and members of the IDT should identify potential American Indian issues and the likelihood of tribal/state agency formal interests in NPS proposed actions. Any affected tribes must be invited to scoping meetings and provided with review copies of documents." [Handbook 4.8.B.2.]


ACHP PRINCIPLE IX: CONSIDER HISTORIC VALUES WHEN PLANNING FOR THE UNEXPECTED

The Council calls on agencies to plan for natural disasters, so that damage resulting from the disaster itself can be minimized, so that preparation for unanticipated impacts on historic properties may be considered in timely fashion, so that such consideration has the benefit of consultation with the interested public, and so that possible harm to historic properties as a result of disaster/emergency response activities can be mitigated. .


RELEVANT NPS POLICIES AND GUIDANCE:

NPS Management Policies 2001 speaks briefly in two chapters to planning for emergencies. The policies do call for development of plans that look toward the protection of cultural resources. While these references do not specify consultation with interested parties in preparing emergency plans, all of the previously cited materials make clear that all NPS planning is to be informed by meaningful consultation:

"The National Park Service will develop a program of emergency preparedness in accordance with title VI of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 USC 5195-5197g); National Security Decision Directive 259 (February 4, 1987); Department of the Interior policy; and other considerations at the Washington headquarters, regional, and park levels. The purpose of the program will be to maximize visitor and employee safety and the protection of resources and property. . . . Each park superintendent will develop and maintain an emergency operations plan to ensure an effective response to all types of emergencies that can be reasonably anticipated." [8.2.5.2]

"Measures to protect or rescue cultural resources in the event of an emergency, disaster, or fire will be developed as part of a park's emergency operations and fire management planning processes. Designated personnel will be trained to respond to all emergencies in a manner that maximizes visitor and employee safety and the protection of resources and property." [5.3.1.1]


Updated April 30, 2002

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