The Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP) framework is a planning framework developed by the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) to help guide visitor use planning and decision-making in U.S. national parks. The research reported here highlights the perceptions of park practitioners about major successes and challenges associated with visitor management and recreation planning using the VERP framework. We used a qualitative multiple case study design to explore three (3) national parks that have applied the framework. We conducted 16 semi-structured interviews with park managers, park planners, and recreation scientists, and used thematic coding to categorize the data to capture relevant themes. Our results show that lack of training and leadership in the social dimensions of resource management has limited the successful application of VERP. On the other hand, closely following framework procedures and maintaining quality partnerships with entities both within the agency and outside to facilitate planning efforts, has helped visitor management approaches achieve desired outcomes. This research contributes to the ongoing work of visitor use specialists by using lessons learned and applying them to future planning. It provides tangible outcomes to park managers by providing examples of VERP application to base decisions.
Outdoor Recreation, Planning, Park Management, Qualitative Research, Case Study
The authors of this article would like to thank study participants for their valuable contribution. This work was made possible by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, McIntire Stennis project ME041504, and the George L. Houston Scholarship (School of Forest Resources, University of Maine).
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Recommended APA Citation
Fefer, J., De Urioste-Stone, S. M., Daigle, J., & Silka, L. (2018). Understanding the Perceived Effectiveness of Applying the Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP) Framework for Recreation Planning: A Multi-Case Study in U.S. National Parks. The Qualitative Report, 23(7), 1561-1582. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol23/iss7/6