Parks and People

Managing Outdoor Recreation at Acadia National Park

Edited by Robert E. Manning

Parks and People describes fifteen years of research at Maine’s Acadia National Park, conducted by Robert E. Manning, his colleagues, and students. The book is organized into three parts. Part I addresses indicators and standards of quality for park resources and the visitor experience. Part II describes efforts to monitor indicator variables. Part III outlines and assesses management actions designed to maintain standards of quality. The book concludes with a discussion of the implications of this program of natural and social science research, including a series of principles for outdoor recreation management at Acadia and other parks.

E-book: $39.99
ISBN-13: 9781584658818
Pages: 352 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: September 25, 2009


  • Nearly all the chapters in Parks and People deal specifically with management issues at Acadia National Park in Maine. However, most of these studies, based on 15 years of research by Manning easily apply to management issues elsewhere . . . Publication of this book is particularly timely . . . and will probably contribute to further increases in visitation throughout the system . . . Recommended.

  • One may think the conclusions are just common sense, but the research presented makes sense of and finds inroads to understand the chaos of visitor engagement with national parks. Manning attempts here to move park management from being an art to a science, making this book useful for park managers, transportation specialists, park planners and those who study park use for other reasons.

    Electronic Green Journal
  • Parks & People is a well-organized and clearly presented compendium of many years research into the social science aspect of park management at Arcadia National Park. The depth of the research topics prove how crucial management of visitors is to a park as heavily used as this one.

    Natural Areas Journal Book Reviews
  • A major challenge facing all national park areas is how to balance our conservation and recreation mandates. Visitation in protected areas can have resource impacts and degrade the experiences of other visitors. To prevent these problems, park managers must recognize and understand the causes and consequences of these threats. The successful stewardship and protection of Acadia National Park for future generations therefore depends upon scientifically credible and timely answers to important questions.The social science research that Dr. Bob Manning has conducted at Acadia National Park over the last 20 years has provided the National Park Service with important insights about visitor attitudes relative to congestion, crowding, and conflicts among different user groups. These data have been used by the park’s management team to make decisions about how to appropriately manage visitor use so that the public can continue to have high quality experiences while ensuring that natural resources will be protected. The story that Dr. Manning tells in his new book will provide the reader with a better understanding of the challenges of managing New England’s only National Park and how science is helping to inform good decision making.

    Sheridan Steele
    Superintendent, Acadia National Park
  • In this comprehensive and valuable book, Robert E. Manning, one of the leading scholars of the scientific study of outdoor recreation, focuses in on a single protected area: Acadia National Park in Maine. There is great benefit at looking at one park in depth, and the result is an unusually deep exploration of the many recreation-related issues that confront park managers today. As editor of the volume and contributor to many of its chapters, Manning has once again significantly advanced our understanding of the dynamics of outdoor recreation.

    David Harmon
    Executive Director, George Wright Society

About the Author

Robert E. Manning

Robert Manning is Professor Emeritus in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont, where he taught the history, philosophy, and management of parks and related areas and conducted a program of research for the U.S. National Park Service and related agencies. He was also Director of the University’s Park Studies Laboratory. Dr. Manning has spent four year-long sabbatical leaves with the U.S. National Park Service at Grand Canyon National Park, …

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