Wilderness Stewardship Plan Handbook

Planning to Preserve Wilderness Character

The purpose of the Wilderness Stewardship Plan Handbook 2014 is to provide direction for creating wilderness stewardship plans, driven by the concept of preserving wilderness character. The Handbook focuses on how to incorporate wilderness policy and wilderness character into a wilderness stewardship plan and also offers a general overview of planning and compliance to be useful for those with and without a professional background in planning.

by National Park Service

This handbook is an update to the original Wilderness Stewardship Plan Handbook 2004. The purpose of the Wilderness Stewardship Plan Handbook 2014 is to provide direction for creating wilderness stewardship plans, driven by the concept of preserving wilderness character. The Handbook focuses on how to incorporate wilderness policy and wilderness character into a wilderness stewardship plan and also offers a general overview of planning and compliance to be useful for those with and without a professional background in planning. Planning is essential to ensure sound wilderness stewardship and the preservation of wilderness character through the process of setting goals, developing strategies, and determining a course of action. Planning is a collaboration process: it brings together a variety of expertise; is based on the best available information; engages the public; and involves consultation with tribes and other stakeholders to develop a dynamic framework for decision making and adaptive management.

This process makes wilderness stewardship more effective and accountable, and the planning product provides a solid foundation for future management
and preservation efforts.

The Handbook is organized into two main sections:

Part I: Wilderness Stewardship Planning Process – HOW to go about developing a plan
Part II: Wilderness Stewardship Plan Content – WHAT is contained in a plan

The intended audience is NPS staff involved in wilderness stewardship planning, including personnel in parks, regions, Denver Service Center, as well as contractors, cooperators, and partners. Those involved may or may not have a professional background in planning and compliance processes. The Handbook
focuses primarily on how to incorporate wilderness management policies and wilderness character into a wilderness stewardship plan , but also provides
a general overview of planning and compliance.

Attached document published January 2014

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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