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K-State Today

May 28, 2020

Applied Park Science Lab announces partnership through National Park Service contract

Submitted by Ryan Sharp

The Applied Park Science Lab in the horticulture and natural resources department will work on improving national parks as a collaborator on a $40 million contract from the U.S. National Park Service.

The lab will study visitor use and social issues for nationwide research projects conducted to assist with park service planning and management. The Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana, Otak of Redmond, Washington, and RRC Associates of Boulder, Colorado, are the leads on the five-year N.P.S. contract. 

The Applied Park Science Lab will be specifically available to assist with:

  1. Understanding in-park visitor use so land managers can make better decisions on visitor experiences and resources protection.
  2. Studying recreation, transportation and carrying capacity issues, including visitor movement, travel pattern studies, visitor use level estimation and evaluations of conditions with changes over time and under various use levels.
  3. Conducting non-visitor studies to look at visitor displacement and increase awareness of gateway communities and regional stakeholders, as well as studying potential visitors to assist in future management decisions.

The APS lab at Kansas State University will join researchers from Utah State University, Oregon State University, University of Colorado, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of Maine and Virginia Polytechnic University.