Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2001


This paper reviews social science research on visitor capacity relevant to units of the National Park System (NPS). Visitor capacity is defined as a prescribed number and type of people that an area will accommodate given the desired natural/cultural resource conditions, visitor experiences, and management program. Some 40 years of scientific investigation illustrate the complexity of the interaction between human use and park resources. This paper provides insights from environmental psychology on person-environment relationships, nine capacity-related research findings, a matrix of NPS studies, and recommendations for a program of research.


Text found in Social Science Research Review. Vol. 2, No. 1. Spring 2001.