All Current Publications

Document Type



Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism

Publication Date



National Association of State Park Directors


The annual Outlook and Analysis Letter presents the ‘vital statistics’ that characterize the operation and use of the nation’s 50 state park systems. In the report, we detail historical trends relevant to state park system management using data within the Annual Information Exchange (AIX) archive. The Outlook and Analysis Letter illustrates annual values aggregated across the 50 state park systems between the years of 1984 and 2017 for each of the following measures: Attendance; Operating Expenditures; Capital Expenditures; Revenues; Labor; and Acreage. In addition to the historical trends, we also present projected values for each measure into the near future (2018, 2019, and 2020). These projections are provided to give the leadership within the National Association of State Park Directors a better understanding of how park usage and management are likely to change in the years to come. In the ‘Analysis’ section of the Outlook and Analysis Letter, we present the results of a statistical analysis designed to determine the historic and recent technical efficiency of each state park system. The analysis of state-specific technical efficiency allows individual state park systems to see how efficient they are at providing outdoor recreation opportunities within their state. The analysis of technical efficiency, along with the presentation of recent trends in the park systems’ ‘vital statistics’, gives national- and state-level leadership a better understanding of what the future has in store for the vast array of high-quality outdoor recreation opportunities offered throughout the nation’s state park systems.

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