Interpretive Planning Tools for Historic Areas, Historic Trails and Gateways

This toolkit was designed to assist managers in developing and implementing regional or site-specific interpretive plans. It describes each step in the process from the early planning stages through implementation to evaluation.

by National Park Service


Interp Planning Toolkit for Heritage Areas Historic Trails and Gateways 2


An interpretive plan is a management document that outlines and guides decisions about a site’s or region’s interpretive programming. It is created through a collaborative process involving management, interpretive specialists, subject matter experts, and stakeholders (community members who have a personal, economic or political stake in the project). The useful lifetime of an interpretive plan is about ten years, but it should be updated as necessary. There is no single template for an effective plan, but it typically includes two parts: a foundation and an action plan.

Published July 01, 2010

About the Author


The National Park Service (NPS) was created in 1916 and today manages over 390 units found in all 50 states and some of the U.S. territories. NPS supports and operates trails in three interlocking arenas: trails in parks, technical assistance to States and communities, and administration of much of the National Trails System.

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