The Use Preservation Paradox: An Examination of Negotiated Rulemaking at Cape Hatteras National Seashore


  • Lavell, Jr. Merritt
  • C. Scott Shafer


Public involvement, National Park Service, conflict management, National Environmental Policy Act


Local communities, individuals, visitors, and special interest groups are often called upon to participate in the decisionmaking processes of the National Park Service (NPS). Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CAHA) engaged in a negotiated rulemaking process to create an Off-Road Vehicle Management Rule. The process involved park stakeholders working with the NPS as a Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee with the goal of creating an Off-Road Vehicle Management Rule for CAHA. Interviews with park staff and negotiated rulemaking participants provided valuable information about this decision-making process. This article describes the influence of negotiated rulemaking on perceptions toward park resources and park management. The effect of the negotiated rulemaking process was an increase in the knowledge of participants about NPS decision making. In general, participants also developed a stronger relationship with park management. This research suggests critical dimensions for achieving widespread social legitimacy through meaningful public involvement in decision making.





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