Frequently Asked Questions

Recreation is fundamental to American culture. It connects people with nature and history, builds healthier minds and bodies, enhances bonds between family and friends, contributes to the quality of life and resiliency of local communities, and inspires and rejuvenates our spirits. Additionally, recreating helps visitors develop an understanding and sense of belonging to a place and, thus, to act as citizen stewards of our collective natural and cultural heritage. Recreation and tourism also contribute greatly to local, regional, and national economies.

If Recreation is Valuable, Why Manage It?

Every year, people seek out public lands and waters to pursue a growing variety of recreational experiences. To ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefits of recreation, managers need effective ways to manage use so these special places, and the benefits they provide, persist for current and future generations. Visitor use management meets this pressing need by offering a flexible set of tools and strategies that support appropriate public access to these valued places, while ensuring long-term viability of ecological and cultural conditions that make quality visitor experiences possible.

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How Does the Interagency Visitor Use Management Council Help?

The Interagency Visitor Use Management Council (the council) is a collaborative forum for federal member land and water agencies created to share and leverage practical, science-based tools for managing recreation on America’s most iconic and valued public lands and waters. The council is designed to build a common language and institutional knowledge of management techniques, while efficiently sharing tools, training, technical assistance, and best practices.

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What is the Council’s Visitor Use Management Framework?

The Visitor Use Management Framework and associated guidebooks provide a broadly applicable tool kit that agencies can apply to make visitor use management decisions at a variety of scales, ranging from changes in day-to-day operations in a section of a park, to the long-term planning of a regional network of land, aquatic, and marine protected areas. The council’s framework also provides a common language to enable recreation and resource management specialists across all agencies to communicate with one another and the public regarding visitor use management.

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How does the Council’s Work Benefit Resource Managers and Recreational Visitors?

The council benefits both managers and visitors of the nation’s public lands and waters by providing a collaborative forum and tools for federal agencies to tackle common challenges of sustainable recreation. The council’s products, trainings, and outreach make it possible for agencies to facilitate and sustain public access and use of valued, and often vulnerable, land and water resources.

The council’s efforts also directly benefit recreational users and other stakeholders by providing an objective, science-based, consistent, and transparent process for their engagement with agency decisions that affect how, where, and at what intensities we all access and enjoy the natural and cultural treasures of our nation’s lands and waters.

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Information last updated
3/5/2018 2:45 pm