These guidelines have been prepared to assist cultural resources professionals who may encounter potential historic landscapes in the course of conducting surveys under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. They are based on the "Caltrans Guidelines for Identifying and Evaluating Historic Landscapes," prepared in November 1996 for the use of California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) cultural resources staff and consultants. The Caltrans guidelines were distributed on request and also made available through the Internet. It soon became apparent that, despite the constraints of the guidelines’ agency- and state-specific approach, the document was meeting a broader need beyond that of California’s transportation agency, as other agencies in other states reported using the guidelines as well.

Because of the favorable response, the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation approached Caltrans on the possibility of publishing the guidelines for a wider audience. Subsequent discussions led to an agreement to prepare a more general version of the guidelines that could be adopted for use in other states. The revised guidelines would, however, continue to meet the specialized needs of transportation agencies and similar authorities which have responsibilities for corridor-type activities that could involve potential historic landscapes.

Caltrans staff accordingly drafted a revised version and submitted it to a review committee established by the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation under the direction of Alliance President Barbara Wyatt. Thanks are due to the Alliance review committee—Cheryl Miller (and Hugh C. Miller), Tim Keller, and Chris Capella Peters—and other reviewers, including Denise Bradley and Amy Squitieri, who provided helpful suggestions. Joan Bollman and Jerry Barkdoll of the Federal Highway Administration also offered valuable guidance. Their assistance was greatly appreciated.

This guidance is based on documents prepared by the National Park Service (NPS), particularly the National Register bulletins which provide technical information on identifying and evaluating landscapes for the National Register of Historic Places; Preservation Brief No. 36, "Protecting Cultural Landscapes"; the journal CRM’s "Thematic Issue on the Preservation of Cultural Landscapes"; and the Secretary of the Interior’s "Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Landscapes." The National Park Service’s August 1994 San Francisco conference on "Preserving Historic and Cultural Landscapes in the West," and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Historic Preservation Forum issue "Focus on Landscape Preservation" helped shape the original document. The Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation also provided additional useful information in workshops and publications and in the contributions of individual members.

Information presented in these guidelines is intended to supplement, not replace, NPS guidance. It is largely a compilation and distillation of existing documentation, directed at the particular needs of cultural resources staff conducting surveys for transportation projects. The basic information, definitions, and approaches to identifying and evaluating historic landscapes are taken, often verbatim, from National Register bulletins and NPS publications. Where appropriate, relevant NPS guidance is cited for further information.

These guidelines have been prepared in cooperation with the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation by Dorene Clement, staff historian, California Department of Transportation. Please contact her at (916) 653-0358, or by e-mail,, if you have questions or comments.