2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – November/December 2005

National Parks Inc.

Like it or not, national parks are officially in the business of business. Will this focus destroy the soul of a national institution--or save it in these lean times?

by: Eryn Brown

Usually, as in Big South Fork's case, the work of business-izing national parks involves fairly mundane details. John Kelly, park planner at Acadia National Park, says that when he took part in the Business Plan Initiative in 2001, the visiting students took a "SWAT team approach" and "started at a very basic level. It was, 'How many people does it take to clean a restroom X number of times, over Y number of days?'" Capozzi and Cohn focused on the size of Big South Fork's truck fleet, as well as its utility costs. Over at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, their colleagues Alice Bond (environmental management, Yale School of Forestry), Alison Sekikawa (MBA, Dartmouth), and Sindhu Srinath (public administration, Columbia) analyzed whether installing automated fee machines might help the park collect money from visitors during hours when entrance gates aren't staffed.

Such small tweaks can deliver results. Findings from Shenandoah's two business plans convinced park managers to hire a permanent volunteer coordinator--who increased volunteer work-hours in the park 29 percent in fiscal year 2004, getting for free the equivalent of 29.2 full-time workers. Shenandoah also streamlined waste management. Reducing the number of trash cans at Skyline Drive's scenic overlooks from 75 to 2 saves $30,000 a year on garbage pickups, says park spokesperson Karen Beck Herzog, who adds that littering has not increased as a result. Cutting back on maintenance supervision saved park managers at the Natchez Trace Parkway around $200,000 a year (about 5 percent of costs)--again with no ill effects, according to park sources. Great Smoky Mountains has saved around $300,000 annually by making changes to its auto fleet, economizing on utilities, and pursuing other cost-reducing strategies.

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Posted On: Sep 01, 2014
Submitted By: CajunHiker
Trailhead Register
New random photo thread.
Posted On: Sep 01, 2014
Submitted By: Echo

View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions