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California's Statewide Historic Preservation Plan, 2019-2023 Update

Preparation of a Statewide Historic Preservation Plan (State Plan) is required by the National Park Service (NPS) every five years as a condition of the grant each state receives from the federal Historic Preservation Fund. State Plans must include a summary of the planning process, a clear statement describing the planning cycle, a summary assessment of historic and cultural resources, a vision for historic preservation, goals and objectives, and a bibliography. Per NPS requirements, the Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) conducted an extensive public input process involving an online survey, public listening sessions held throughout the state and online, and one-on-one interviews with specific individuals. All the input gathered from the public has served to inform the process of setting goals and objectives and ensure the Statewide Historic Preservation Plan is created by and for Californians dedicated to preserving our state’s treasured heritage!

Putting the State Plan into Action

The vision, goals and objectives outlined in the State Plan can’t possibly be achieved by one agency, such as the Office of Historic Preservation, acting alone, or even a few operating in concert. Rather, it will take the concerted efforts of many individuals and organizations. With that in mind, we thought it would be useful to provide ideas for how you can help support the State Plan based on the “hats” you wear in your life. Below is a list of categories of people--some are traditional preservation partners, and others are not. You probably fit into many of these lists. By using the link for each category, you will be taken to a page with specific activities that you could do in support of the State Plan goals and objectives.

As you can see from these lists, there are lots of activities to choose from. If we all took on just one or two of these suggestions each, it would go a long way toward achieving the vision put forward in the plan. Thank you for your help in making this vision a reality.

Are you a …
Local or Regional Government Employee, Elected Official, or Commissioner?
State or Federal Agency Employee, Elected Official or Commissioner?
Historic Site Employee or Volunteer?
Preservation/History Advocacy Group Member?
Tribal Member?
Private Preservation Consultant?
Teacher or Youth Group Leader?
Property Developer/Owner?
Business Owner?
Real Estate Professional?
Tourism Professional?
Neighborhood Association Member?
Community Member?

You can also see the activities that apply to the Office of Historic Preservation.


Each State Historic Preservation Office is required to review and revise the State Plan every five years as a condition for receiving a grant from the federal Historic Preservation Fund. Information about Statewide Historic Preservation Planning is available online from the National Park Service.

As statements of public policy in historic preservation, each State Plan serves as a general-level guide for decision-making throughout the state, rather than as a technical encyclopedia of all that is known about the state's historic and cultural resources.  The State Plan

  • Identifies current and emerging historic preservation issues throughout the state;
  • Establishes the vision, mission, and priorities for the Office of Historic Preservation;
  • Identifies preservation goals and objectives for integrating historic preservation into the broader planning and decision-making at local, regional, and state levels;
  • Identifies preservation partners and their contributions needed to accomplish the State Plan’s goals and objectives.

Over the last 20 years or so, the scope of historic preservation planning practice has expanded beyond being concerned primarily with understanding the nature and significance of historic and cultural resources to integrating historic preservation into the broader land use planning and decision-making processes, and incorporating historic preservation into other social and economic concerns such as sustainability, revitalization and community development, affordable housing, disaster preparedness planning and recovery, and environmental quality. 

Key features of this broad approach to historic preservation planning include:

  • Statewide focus on preservation issues and players all across the state.
  • Active public involvement, not only in developing the vision, issues, and goals of the plan, but also in helping achieve these goals. A series of public listening sessions in a variety of locations, an online survey, interviews with key individuals, focus groups with selected people involved in preservation in the state, and posting information and engaging discussion about the plan on our Facebook page, and through Twitter are some of the ways in which the public is included in the process.  
  • Consideration of a wide variety of social, economic, political, legal, and environmental conditions, issues, and trends affecting resource preservation.
  • Consideration of the full range of historic and cultural resources representing the breadth and depth of the state's history, prehistory, and culture.
  • Coordination with other planning efforts in the state, such as federally mandated transportation planning, the statewide comprehensive outdoor recreation plan, and local land-use plans.
  • Linkage of preservation plan implementation with the Office of Historic Preservation’s expenditures of its federal Historic Preservation Fund grant.