People & Parks

Providing the public opportunities to visit and engage with national parks is a guiding principle for the NPS. Each year millions of people from all over the world visit U.S. national parks. National parks provide a variety of benefits to people such as recreation, research opportunities, spiritual inspiration, and economic benefits among others. Interaction between people and parks is integral to the mission of the NPS and long-term stewardship to protect these lands. Social science research provides insights and understanding about the different meanings and relationships people have with the land in order for NPS managers to better manage the variety of relationships and interactions between people and parks.

A park ranger passes out youth admission passes.


Through research we can ascertain how people choose to engage with parks and how they would like to continue engagement with these areas.

A road winds through a maritime forest.

Environmental Stewardship

Many social science research inquiries are designed to help park managers better understand how people practice stewardship on NPS lands.

A wooden bridge stretches into the distance.


Current social science research aims to understand who uses national parks and how people interact with these lands.

Last updated: April 1, 2016


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