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The Secretary of the Interior's
Standards and Guidelines for
Preservation Planning


Preservation Planning
Standards & Guidelines

Standard I
Standard II
Standard III
Managing the Planning Process
Developing Historic Contexts
Developing Goals for a Historic Context
Integrating Individual Historic Contexts--Creating the Preservation Plan
Coordinating with Management Frameworks
Recommended Sources of Technical Information
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NOTE: These Standards and Guidelines are part of Archeology and Historic Preservation: Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines, which appeared in the Federal Register, September 29, 1983 (48FR44716). Also included are standards and guidelines for identification, evaluation, registration, treatment, and documentation. Visit the entire set of Standards and Guidelines. Use your browser's "Back" button to return to this page.



These Guidelines link the Standards for Preservation Planning with more specific guidance and technical information. They describe one approach to meeting the Standards for Preservation Planning. Agencies, organizations or individuals proposing to approach planning differently may wish to review their approaches with the National Park Service.
The Guidelines are organized as follows:



The preservation planning process must include an explicit approach to implementation, a provision for review and revision of all elements, and a mechanism for resolving conflicts within the overall set of preservation goals and other land use planning goals. It is recommended that the process and its products be described in public documents.

Implementing the Process

The planning process is a continuous cycle. To establish and maintain such a process, however, the process must be divided into manageable segments that can be performed within a defined period, such as a fiscal year or budget cycle. One means of achieving this is to define a period of time during which all the preliminary steps in the planning process will be completed. These preliminary steps would include setting a schedule for subsequent activities.

Review and Revision

Planning is a dynamic process. It is expected that the content of the historic contexts described in Standard I and the goals and priorities in Standard II will be altered based on new information obtained as planning proceeds. The incorporation of this information is essential to improve the content of the plan and to keep it up-to-date and useful. New information must be reviewed regularly and systematically, and the plan revised accordingly.

Public Participation

The success of the preservation planning process depends on how well it solicits and integrates the views of various groups. The planning process is directed first toward resolving conflicts in goals for historic preservation, and second toward resolving conflicts between historic preservation goals and other land use planning goals. Public participation is integral to this approach and includes at least the following actions:

  1. Involving historians, architectural historians, archeologists, historical architects, folklorists and persons from related disciplines to define, review and revise the historic contexts, goals and priorities;

  2. Involving interested individuals, organizations and communities in the planning area in identifying the kinds of historic properties that may exist and suitable protective measures;

  3. Involving prospective users of the preservation plan in defining issues, goals and priorities;

  4. Providing for coordination with other planning efforts at local, state, regional and national levels, as appropriate; and

  5. Creating mechanisms for identifying and resolving conflicts about historic preservation issues.
The development of historic contexts, for example, should be based on the professional input of all disciplines involved in preservation and not be limited to a single discipline. For prehistoric archeology, for example, data from fields such as geology, geomorphology and geography may also be needed. The individuals and organizations to be involved will depend, in part, on those present or interested in the planning areas.

Documents Resulting from the Planning Process

In most cases, the planning process produces documents that explain how the process works and that discuss the historic contexts and related goals and priorities. While the process can operate in the absence of these documents, planning documents are important because they are the most effective means of communicating the process and its recommendations to others. Planning documents also record decisions about historic properties.

As various parts of the planning process are reviewed and revised to reflect current information, related documents must also be updated. Planning documents should be created in a form that can be easily revised. It is also recommended that format, language and organization of any documents or other materials (visual aids, etc.) containing preservation planning information meet the needs of prospective users.

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