Policies and Guidance
The National Park Service (NPS) Directives System consists of internal instructions and guidance documents to ensure that NPS managers and staff have clear information on NPS policy and on required and/or recommended actions. It is intended to reflect the NPS's organizational values of teamwork, delegation to the most effective level, empowerment of employees, accountability, and reduction in overall paperwork. The Directives System is composed of 3 "levels" of documents:
- 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 specific instructions and outline requirements
applicable to NPS functions, programs and activities,
and are a vehicle by which the Director may
delegate specific authorities and responsibilities.
The main target audience for Director's Orders
is superintendents, for whom they serve as
an "executive summary" of important
policies and procedures.
- Level 3 materials include handbooks, reference manuals, and procedural 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.
In addition, the National Park Service is one of eight bureaus under the Department of the Interior. The Department also formulates policies and guidance such as that in the Departmental Manual.
While the policies & guidance are meant to provide direction to employees, we often get requests from the public and other government agencies for our policies. They may also be useful to students doing research.