Breckenridge, Colorado

RRC Associates Lands National Park Service Contract

As part of a national team, RRC Associates from Boulder was recently awarded a 5-year, up to $40 million contract with the National Park Service (NPS). The research contract will include multiple projects annually and focus on park visitor profiles, travel patterns, economic impact, transportation issues and other topics. Additional core team members include Otak, based in Redmond, WA, and the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (ITRR) at the University of Montana.

Other firms and universities are also on the team and will be tapped, depending on project needs. Additional Colorado partners include the University of Colorado Business Research Division, Economic and Planning Systems (EPS) from Denver, Neotreks from Castle Rock and Otak’s Louisville office.

The core NPS team of RRC, Otak and ITRR brings unique qualifications and strengths including decades of nationwide tourism and recreation research. “We’re excited to support the NPS across the country to continue to make decisions that help protect vital resources and continue providing high-quality experiences. Our team brings a collaborative approach that is supported by innovative research methods.,” said Jake Jorgenson, Lead Analyst at RRC Associates.

The Organic Act of 1916 created the National Park Service to provide for the enjoyment of current and future generations. Today the agency oversees 62 national parks and 81 national monuments across all 50 states. The NPS Social Sciences Program supports research to gain an understanding of enjoyment and public appreciation through the study of visitors and their interactions with NPS services, attractions and facilities.


Sean Maher, CEO of RRC said “Especially in these trying times, our national parks are incredibly important to Americans and our team is honored to work with the NPS. This research will address big issues facing the parks including crowding, access, visitor experience and the economic impacts on nearby communities.”


The 5-year contract scope covers a variety of project types:


  1. In-park visitor use studies to allow land managers to make better decisions on visitor experiences, protecting resources and managing congestion.
  2. Personnel and partner studies to investigate internal agency and department issues from federal staff comprised within and with partners.
  3. Regional economic impact and economic welfare studies that include cost/benefit analysis and visitor spending profile estimates.
  4. Recreation, transportation and carrying capacity issues include visitor movement, travel pattern studies, visitor use level estimation and evaluations of conditions with how they change over time and under various use levels.
  5. Non-visitor studies look at visitor displacement and awareness studies of people in gateway communities and regional stakeholders affected by national parks. They may also study potential future visitors to assist in both short and long-term planning.


“The NPS is excited to work with this extensive team of subject matter experts to inform the variety of socioeconomic and natural resource data and analytic needs for our parks and programs. This contract will significantly contribute to data-driven decision making across the bureau,” said Bret Meldrum, NPS Social Science Program Chief.

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