DOI and NPS Rescind Policy for Managing National Parks in Context of Continuous Change

According to email correspondence obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Department of Interior (DOI) ordered the Deputy Director of the National Park Service (NPS) to rescind an Obama-era policy establishing a science-based framework for managing NPS units.

The rescinded policy (Director’s Order #100) reaffirmed that resource stewardship was a preeminent duty of the NPS, and noted that “the overarching goal of resource stewardship (stewardship goal) is to manage NPS resources in a context of continuous change that we do not fully understand, in order to:

  • preserve and restore ecological, historical, and cultural integrity;
  • contribute as an ecological and cultural core of national and international networks of protected lands, waters, and resources; and
  • provide visitors and program participants with opportunities for transformative experiences that educate and inspire.”

Director’s Order #100 contained a number of specific provisions and policies for how NPS would manage resources in the context of “continuous change” (which was defined to include climate change among other things), most notably provisions to incorporate the precautionary principle and adaptive management into resource stewardship.