(Send comments to Brian Forist by February 16, 2004)
DIRECTOR'S ORDER #82: PUBLIC USE DATA COLLECTING AND REPORTING PROGRAM
This Director's Order supersedes NPS-82 (Public Use Reporting) and Staff Directive 76-8 (Revised) on the Public Reporting Program. This Director's Order, in conjunction with the Counting and Reporting Instructions and the Summary of Survey Findings, outlines and identifies acceptable approved practices and requirements.
Table of Contents
I. Purpose and Background
D. Temporary Modifications
I. Purpose and Background
Information about visitation and public use of units of the National Park System is in constant demand. The National Park Service (NPS) Public Use Data Collecting and Reporting Program is managed by the Public Use Statistics Office (PUSO) under direction of the Visiting Chief Social Scientist (VCSS) and the Associate Director for Natural Resource Stewardship and Science (ADNRSS).
Information about public use of national parks has been collected since 1904, before the NPS was established. Since the early days of informally monitoring visitation levels, trip origin of visitors, and transportation modes used to get to the parks, the NPS has developed a formal system for collecting, compiling, and reporting public use data. Although the system has changed little in emphasis and operation since the late 1960s, careful attention is needed to keep the data collection consistent and reliable.
The purpose of this Director's Order is to set forth policies and procedures for collecting and reporting public use data at units of the National Park System. This Director's Order describes the Servicewide Public Use Data Collecting and Reporting Program, establishes policies and procedures for counting and reporting visitation by the public, and defines the roles and responsibilities of park, regional, Public Use Statistics Office (PUSO) and Washington office personnel in implementing the program.
As is the case with all components of the NPS directives system, this Director's Order is intended only to improve the internal management of the NPS, and is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities or entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.
Authority to issue this Director's Order is contained in the NPS Organic Act (16 USC 1 through 4). Part 245 of the Department of the Interior (DOI) Manual delegates to the Director of the NPS the Secretary of the Interior's authority to supervise, manage, and operate the National Park System.
The National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-391, Sec. 202; 16 U.S.C. 5932) requires that the management of units of the National Park System be enhanced by the availability and utilization of a broad program of the highest quality science and information.
In addition, all federal recreation land managing agencies measure and report public use in accordance with standards set forth in a 1965 Interagency Agreement between the Department of the Interior (National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service), Department of Agriculture (U.S. Forest Service), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: A Uniform Method of Measuring and Reporting Public Use on the Public Lands and Waters of the United States. Other requirements for reporting include Coordination Memorandum No. 1 dated April 15, 1969, covering use reporting at all federal recreation land areas where fees are collected as required by Public Law 88-29.
III. Policies and Procedures
The following guidance is specified for the Public Use Data Collecting
and Reporting Program:
The objectives of the Public Use Data Collecting and Reporting Program
Public use data will be collected and reported at all areas either administered or managed by the NPS, whether solely or in partnership or association with other entities (i.e., states, counties, other federal agencies, private groups, individuals, or foreign governments). The NPS, through the PUSO, will analyze and categorize the data in order to maintain and ensure statistical validity and accuracy of the program. The PUSO will distinguish between those units that are under the sole administration of the NPS and other units that are classified as "miscellaneous areas." The data collected in miscellaneous areas where the NPS has partial administrative responsibility or limited presence will be maintained as a source for identifying internal comparisons but will not be reported in the combined total statistics of those areas directly administered by the NPS. The data from the miscellaneous areas will be maintained and displayed separately in the Annual Statistical Abstract.
1. Counting and Reporting Instructions
2. Summary of Survey Findings
a) Visitor Surveys.
It is the park's responsibility to maintain current and accurate conversion factors. The PUSO will provide assistance, as available, to parks in such areas by obtaining the necessary clearance from the Visiting Chief Social Scientist and the Office of Management and Budget (in compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995), providing sampling plans for person-per-vehicle surveys, designing a survey form, entering the data, analyzing the results, and compiling and issuing the Summary of Survey Findings.
3. Monthly Public Use Report
The contents of the Monthly Public Use Report will contain the following applicable data:
o Visits (recreation and nonrecreation),
o Hours of use (recreation and nonrecreation) which is converted into visitor days, and
o Overnight stays (concessioner lodges and campgrounds, tents and recreational vehicles in NPS campgrounds, backcountry, group or miscellaneous, and nonrecreation).
4. Annual Statistical Abstract
o Recreation and non-recreation visits to units of the National Park System, reported systemwide, by state, region, population center and park,
o Recreation visits and visitor days spent in units of the National Park System, reported systemwide, by state, region and park,
o Overnight stays in units of the National Park System, reported by park,
o Forecasts of recreation visits for next two calendar years reported by park, and
o Acreage in the National Park System.
C. Starting a Public Use Counting Program at a New Park Unit
D. Temporary Modifications
E. Difficulties or Problems
F. Noting Reasons for Anomalies
G. Duplicate Reporting
Below are common situations that can lead to duplicate reporting and must be avoided:
o Commuter traffic going to and from work through the park.
o Visitor traffic going to and from outside locations (campers in need of additional supplies or in search of goods and services outside the park).
o Visits to different areas of the same park that involve crossing non-park lands.
o Visitors staying outside the park and making multiple daily visits.
o Visitors counted once upon entry to the park and again as overnight stays.
o Miscellaneous area: A property that is neither solely federally owned nor directly administered by the NPS, but which utilizes NPS assistance.
o Overnight stay: One night within a park by a visitor (a party of two visitors staying over for three nights yields six overnight stays). Overnight stays by inholders will not be recorded, as they are not on parkland.
The seven categories of overnight stays are described below:
o Concessioner lodging: Persons staying overnight in concessioner operated lodges, cabins, motels, and hotels (including youth or elder hostels).
o Concessioner campground: Persons staying overnight in concessioner operated trailer courts, recreational vehicle parks, and tent campgrounds.
o Tent: Campers in sleeping bags or soft-sided tents attached to a vehicle or erected in a NPS operated campground.
o Recreational vehicle: Campers in recreational vehicles including tent trailers at NPS operated campground.
o Backcountry: Campers in sleeping bags or soft-sided tents erected at undeveloped walk-in campsites not accessible by road.
o Miscellaneous: Campers in group camping areas, on boats, in undeveloped overflow areas, or in other areas not otherwise described above (except inholders).
o Nonrecreation: Overnight stays associated with nonrecreation visits (e.g., nights on board commercial fishing vessels off shore but within boundaries of NPS areas, or researchers on non-legislated NPS business).
o Visit: The entry of any person onto lands or waters administered by the NPS. A visitor is an individual who may generate one or more visits. The three categories of visits (recreation visit, non-recreation visit and non-reportable visit) are described in depth below.
o Recreation visits: Entries of persons onto lands or waters administered by the NPS, except non-recreation and nonreportable visits.
o Non-recreation visits include the following:
o Commuter and other through traffic.
o Persons going to and from inholdings across significant parts of parkland, including subsistence users.
o Trades-people with business in the park.
o Any civilian activity as a part of or incidental to the pursuit of a gainful occupation.
o Government personnel (other than NPS employees) with business in the park.
o Citizens using NPS buildings for civic or local government business, or attending public hearings. And
o Research activities independent of the legislated interests of the NPS and conducted on behalf of the NPS.
o Nonreportable visits include the following:
o Brief incidental entries into a park by passing traffic (vehicular or pedestrian) using NPS administered grounds, roads, or walkways.
o Employees of the NPS who are assigned to the park or are visiting the park in connection with their duty assignments.
o NPS contractors, concessionaires, Cooperating Associations and their employees.
o Temporary or permanent members in households of personnel otherwise included in this definition whose residence is within the park.
o Private tenants within NPS boundaries (inholders) if not crossing significant NPS territory for access.
o Any other persons whose presence in the park is to help the NPS fulfill its mission (e.g., Volunteers in the Parks, research activities associated with the NPS legislated mission, etc.). And
o People engaged in illegal activity.
o Visitor day: Twelve visitor hours.
o Visitor hour: The presence of one or more persons in a park for continuous, intermittent, or simultaneous periods of time aggregating one hour (one person for one hour or two persons for one-half hour each).
IV. Roles and Responsibilities
The responsibility for ensuring a reliable and accurate statistical reporting program lies with each park and the PUSO under the supervision of the Visiting Chief Social Scientist.
B. Regional and Support Offices
C. Associate Director for Natural Resource Stewardship and Science
D. Visiting Chief Social Scientist (VCSS)
o Provide leadership and direction to the social science activities of the NPS.
o Manage the NPS Social Science Program, which conducts and promotes state-of-the-art social science related to the mission of the National Park Service for the purpose of delivering usable knowledge to NPS managers and the public, including public use data collection and reporting.
o Act as a liaison with the USGS, the Department of the Interior, and other federal agencies on social science activities, including public use data collection and reporting.
o Perform other tasks as assigned by the ADNRSS. And,
o Advise the Director and National Leadership Council on social science issues, including those related to public use.
E. Public Use Statistics Office (PUSO)
The PUSO will provide and maintain the monthly reporting software and
provide technical support to the park's staff on the software's proper
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