Kristin Lamoureux and Rick Perdue, faculty members with the Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, have been named to a team of academic and industry partners on a new project with the U.S. National Park Service.

The U.S. National Park Service Socioeconomics Research Nationwide Contract is a five-year, $40 million indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract (IQIC) from the U.S. National Park service aimed at supporting performance, planning, and management within the U.S. National Park Service.

“Opportunities for Feiertag HTM are geographic and substantive,” explained Department Head Nancy McGehee. “Geographically, we are the only university in the mid-Atlantic on this winning team, so we envision being particularly active in National Park Service Research in this resource-rich part of the country. Substantively, we hope to participate in projects nationwide that draw on our experience in improving the human condition, supporting entrepreneurship, and innovation in technology through Dr. Lamoureux’s expertise with Native American tourism development and Dr. Perdue’s expertise in gateway community tourism development and entrepreneurship.” 

“The U.S. National Park System, including its natural and cultural-heritage resources, is an outstanding collection of some of our country’s greatest assets,” said Lamoureux. “We look forward to working with this cross-cutting team to develop innovative and creative ways to support the park service in their mission.”

Perdue added, “Working with the University of Montana, Otak, and the rest of this team will provide our students with fantastic learning opportunities creating and implementing new methods of field research and analysis.”

Through the new park service contract, the project team will provide more creative approaches to informing park managers on social and natural resources issues. Some projects and goals include:

  1. Understanding in-park visitor use so land managers can make better decisions on visitor experiences and resource protection.
  2. Investigating personnel and partner studies of internal agency and department issues.
  3. Assessing regional economic impact and economic welfare studies that include cost/benefit and regulatory flexibility analyses, willingness to pay and visitor spending profile estimates.
  4. Studying recreation, transportation and carrying capacity issues, including visitor movement, travel pattern studies, visitor use level estimation and evaluations of conditions with changes over time and under various use levels.
  5. Conducting non-visitor studies to look at visitor displacement and increase awareness of gateway communities and regional stakeholders, as well as studying potential visitors to assist in future management decisions.

The project is being coordinated by the University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research. Several other universities are also involved in the five-year contract, including the University of Georgia, Utah State University, Oregon State University, University of Colorado, Kansas State University, University of Florida, and the University of Maine.

Collaborative business partners nationwide include: Otak, of Redmond, Washington; Bioeconomics and Global Parks Solutions, both of Missoula, Montana; NatureWerks, LLC, of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Agnew Beck Consulting of Anchorage, Alaska; EPS of Oakland, California; Fehr & Peers, of various offices throughout the United States; New Line Consulting of Gallatin Gateway, Montana; Evermost of Kirkland, Washington; Industrial Economics of Cambridge, Massachusetts; Kirk Value Planners of Goodyear, Arizona; OmniTrak Group of Honolulu, Hawaii; NeoTreks of Castle Rock, Colorado; and L2 Data Collection of Boise, Idaho, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

“The park service is excited to work with this extensive team of subject-matter experts to inform the variety of socioeconomic and natural resource data and analytic needs for our parks and programs,” said Bret Meldrum, park service social science program chief. “This contract will significantly contribute to data-driven decision-making across the bureau.”