Collaborative socioeconomic tool development to address management and planning needs

Product Type: 

Journal Article




Richardson, Leslie A.; Huber, Christopher; Cullinane Thomas, Catherine; Donovan, Elizabeth; Koontz, Lynne M.

Suggested Citation: 

Richardson, L., C. Huber, C. Thomas, L. Donovan, L. Koontz, L. 2014. Collaborative Socioeconomic Tool Development to Address Management and Planning Needs. The George Wright Forum 31: 205-214.

Public lands and resources managed by the National Park Service (NPS) and other land management agencies provide a wide range of social and economic benefits to both nearby local communities and society as a whole, ranging from job creation, to access to unique recreational opportunities, to subsistence and tribal uses of the land. Over the years, there has been an increased need to identify and analyze the socioeconomic effects of the public’s use of NPS lands and resources, and the wide range of NPS land management decisions. This need stems from laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), increased litigation and appeals on NPS management decisions, as well as an overall need to demonstrate how parks benefit communities and the American public. To address these needs, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NPS have an ongoing partnership to collaboratively develop socioeconomic tools to support planning needs and resource management. This article discusses two such tools. The first, Assessing Socioeconomic Planning Needs (ASPN), was developed to help NPS planners and managers identify key social and economic issues that can arise as a result of land management actions. The second tool, the Visitor Spending Effects (VSE) model, provides a specific example of a type of analysis that may be recommended by ASPN. The remainder of this article discusses the development, main features, and plans for future versions and applications of both ASPN and the VSE.

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