Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Committee Chair(s)

Keith Christensen


Keith Christensen


Daniella Hirschfeld


Zachary Miller


A change in management style, combined with increased visitation and the advanced age of guiding documents used to describe conditions and goals (known as Resource Management Plans) in Utah’s State Parks, are leading park managers to potentially not fulfill the objectives stated in their Resource Management Plans. Using a research tool known as “content analysis,” we analyzed the Research Management Plans of ten sample parks and found that written plans had strong priorities and goals regarding the care and management of natural resources. Significant findings included strong emphasis on resource protection, data collection, and research. Pre-written questions were asked of the sample park managers during a phone interview where we discovered a wide divergence from the Resource Management Plans in priorities and actions regarding natural resources. Analysis on the rate of visitation increase compared with the increasing age of the Resource Management Plans and a shift toward greater dependence on Business Plans also showed a departure from the objectives stated in the plans. Recommendations include updating Resource Management Plans, developing basic thresholds for data collection, additional research on Business Plans, and additional resources and training for park managers regarding Resource Management Plans.