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Park Planning and Special Studies Division

Foundation Documents for National Park Units

To effectively manage a national park unit and plan for its future, a basic understanding of a park's resources, values, and history is needed - a foundation for planning and management. These are called foundation documents. Foundation documents are at the core of each park's planning portfolio.

Each foundation document aims to answer critical questions such as:

  • What is the purpose of this park?
  • Why was it included in the national park system?
  • What makes it significant?
  • What are its fundamental resources and values?
  • What legal and policy requirements, special mandates, and administrative commitments apply to this park?
  • What are the park's key planning and data needs?