Visitor Use Planning & Management

Planning visitor use for maximum efficiency and preservation.

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Visitor Use Planning & Management

Planning visitor use for maximum efficiency and preservation.

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Visitor Use Planning & Management

Planning visitor use for maximum efficiency and preservation.

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Managing Over-tourism to Expand Park Access and Protect Ecologies

All places affected by overtourism, not only greenspaces, experience environmental impacts and require adaptive, sustainable design to compensate for growing demand. In order to best plan and design parks for visitor use, Otak conducts visitor survey research designed to account for overtourism’s impact and strengthen the protection of natural resources.

Visitor Use Projects >

Socioeconomic Research & Analysis

Using the NPS National Socioeconomic Monitoring Program and photo simulation-based crowding surveys, Otak can assess parks that lack ready visitor data. To better understand and plan for visitor use, we conduct surveys that analyze behavior and interests, how visitors plan their trips, how long they spend in the parks, and what activities they engage in. By collecting feedback on facilities and services from visitors through Experience Evaluations and by identifying demographic statistics and spending habits, we discover regional trends and invaluable insights into visitor use for better planning.

Otak National Park Service Project

Visitor Use Analysis, Modeling, Planning, & Management

We analyze, model, plan, and manage visitor use in order to identify and set desired park conditions for the development of strategies that meet and maintain those conditions. We implement a visitor use management framework and establish thresholds and triggers, quantifiable conditions, that represent points at which adaptive management action is needed as part of long-term monitoring. By estimating numeric user capacities for a given location, we can analyze visitation trends to develop strategies for limiting crowding and mitigate myriad negative impacts to the environment.

View of crowded parking from Acadia Visitor Use Study

Multimodal Transportation & Congestion Management

To improve multimodal transportation and manage road congestion, Otak assess and improves access to popular park locations. We examine parking lots, pedestrian trails, and both in-park and proximal multi-modal transportation for needed improvements and overcrowding. To avoid overcrowding and straining facilities, we optimize space and routes of transportation. When facilities and transportation fail to meet visitor needs, we improve them and implement access management strategies, such as reservation systems, to manage overcrowding at peak times, delivering an excellent visitor’s experience.

Resource Management Planning

Otak’s Resource Management Planning goal is to develop a comprehensive conservation plan focused on ecosystem-based resource management that meets stewardship requirements and enhances facilities. We state specific objectives for land incorporation into strategic activity plans and consider the short-term conditions, never losing sight of time-term consequences. We assess different types of resources—species, vegetation, communities, soils—and habitats to clarify objectives and pursue desired conditions. By preserving historical sites and resources, assessing regulatory constraints, and accounting for existing risks, like erosion, we develop adaptable plans for a continually changing environment.

Sketch of Pacific Creek update at Snake River

Want to talk Projects? Contact our Visitor Use Leads.

“I enjoy working at Otak because of all of the great people as well as the broad diversity of projects.”

Chad Weiser

PLA, AICP, LEED AP

Director of Federal Business

Interested in joining our team?