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Section 4f


Avoidance and Minimization
Related Statutes
Legal Overview
Project Examples

Parks & Recreation
Cultural Resources
Other Considerations

This portion of the document will acquaint you with the Section 4(f) resources. When you have finished, you should have a basic understanding of the following:

  • the four main categories of Section 4(f) resourcesParks & Recreation Areas, Refuges, Cultural Resources (historic sites), and Other Considerations)
  • the defining criteria for each of these categories (except for Other Considerations, which have none)
  • the wide variety of other considerations

As stated in the original Section 4(f) legislation of 1966 and its revisions (1968 and 1983), Section 4(f) protects three basic types of resources: publicly owned public park and recreation areas, publicly owned wildlife and waterfowl refuges, and historic sites (what we call cultural resources).

Many of the common resources you're likely to encounter do not fit neatly into one of these three categories. Instead, they are more appropriately grouped into a fourth, miscellaneous, category that we call other considerations. This group is comprised of resources that may or may not be protected by Section 4(f) and that may belong to one or more of the three basic resource categories identified by the statute, depending on a variety of factors.

Our four main categories, then, are the following:

  • parks and recreation areas
  • refuges
  • cultural resources (historic sites)
  • other considerations

Be sure to note that a resource's Section 4(f) status is determined not by its name, but by the criteria that define it. For example, a recreation areawhich requires public ownership (among other things) in order to qualify for Section 4(f) protectionwould not be protected simply because it's called a recreation area. It must also be owned by the public.

A word of caution: Make no assumptions about the final status of any Section 4(f) resource until the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has reviewed and approved all documentation, including detailed records of the communication and coordination with the official with jurisdiction about the land in question.

In the remaining pages of this section, you will find the defining criteria for each of the three basic types of resources, plus a list of other considerations and a discussion of each.


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