National Park Service
US Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Interpretive Development Program

Interpretive Planning

Benchmark Competency Description

The process of Planning Park Interpretation is a method by which the principles of interpretation are applied during planning efforts that result in opportunities for people to connect to parks. This process can take a variety of forms: Planning for Comprehensive Interpretive Plans, seasonal/annual interpretive programming, or for planning a single program, event or product. Through the use of goal-driven planning, teamwork with stakeholder involvement, and by incorporating multiple perspectives, interpretive planning efforts result in opportunities for audiences to form their own intellectual and emotional connections with the meanings and significance of park resources.

Competency Standard

Full Performance Interpreters:

  • Incorporate goal-driven planning, multiple perspectives, and consensus building in the planning of all interpretive programs, events and products
  • Make decisions based on the interrelationship between the planning effort and the broader planning context and documents
  • Evaluate how these efforts could contribute to the achievement of the park’s larger goals
  • Incorporate solid research about the resource and audience into all planning efforts
  • Plan for the application of appropriate interpretive techniques
  • Plan specifically to provide opportunities for audience members to form their own intellectual and emotional connections with the meanings and significance inherent in the resource