America's State Park Systems


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    America's State Park Systems

    2018 Outlook and Analysis Letter

    PNAS Article

    Each year, we release a report presenting the ‘vital statistics’ that characterize the operation and use of the nation’s 50 state park systems. In the report, we detail historical trends relevant to state park system management. The Outlook and Analysis Letter illustrates annual values aggregated across the 50 state park systems between the years of 1984 and 2017 for each of the following measures:


    • Attendance;
    • Operating Expenditures;
    • Capital Expenditures;
    • Revenues;
    • Labor; and
    • Acreage.


    In addition to the historical trends, we also present projected values for each measure into the near future (2018, 2019, and 2020). These projections are provided to give state park managers a better understanding of how park usage and management are likely to change in the years to come.


    In the ‘Analysis’ section of the Outlook and Analysis Letter, we present the results of a statistical analysis designed to determine the historic and recent technical efficiency of each state park system. The analysis of state-specific technical efficiency allows individual state park systems to see how efficient they are at providing outdoor recreation opportunities within their state.


    The analysis of technical efficiency, along with the presentation of recent trends in the park systems’ ‘vital statistics’, gives national- and state-level leadership a better understanding of what the future has in store for the vast array of high-quality outdoor recreation opportunities offered throughout the nation’s state park systems.


    DOWNLOAD the report here

    2018 Outlook and Analysis Letter


    2017 Technical Efficiency Rankings Table


    Access previous years' reports and publications HERE.



    DOWNLOAD the article here.



    This research is funded through contracts between the National Association of State Park Directors, NC State University, and the Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism at Utah State University as well as a grant from the National Science Foundation (#1633756).