Current Efforts

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park

NPS Photo

Socioeconomic Monitoring

The lands protected by the National Park Service are set aside for the use and enjoyment of the American public. A number of studies to understand visitor characteristics such demographics, activities, and frequency of visits have been completed at some specific parks. However there has been no study to comprehensively examine park visitation and visitor characteristics for the NPS system as a whole. The NPS is addressing this gap in knowledge by administering a socioeconomic monitoring program to understand park visitors and how they use park lands. The technical report summarizing development work to establish this program was released in March 2019.
Visitors at ticket kiosk World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument
Visitors at the ticket kiosk at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument

NPS Photo/Ziesler

Economics- Visitor Spending
Trip-related spending by NPS visitors generates and supports a considerable amount of economic activity within park gateway communities. This interactive tool displays results from the Visitor Spending Effects report series on the annual economic contributions of NPS visitor spending to local, state, and national economies.

National Mall and Memorial Parks
Visitors at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall

NPS Photo

The NPS System-wide Public Use Reporting System (SPURS) is the formal system for collecting, compiling and reporting a very specific collection of visitor use data. The objectives of the program are to design a statistically valid, reliable and uniform method of collecting and reporting public use data for each independently authorized unit administered by the National Park Service. The system addresses recreation visit counts and hours, non-recreation visit counts and hours and overnight stays by category. Data generated by SPURS can be accessed through the NPS IRMA/Stats website.

Visitors enjoying a nice view
Visitors watch bears along the Alagnak River.

NPS Photo

Customer Service
The Social Science Branch (SSB) provides technical assistance support to park units related to a variety of social science inquiry needs ranging from project initiation to completion. The Social Science Branch can help park managers develop funding proposals, identify principal investigators, develop contracts, manage projects, review study instruments and methodologies, and review technical reports. Providing these services to park units is a primary objective of the SSB. Park managers are encouraged to contact the Social Science Branch to inquire about these services and support to further their understanding about all aspects related to social science.

Last updated: June 21, 2022


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