What It Is
Mike Caldwell, Acting Associate Director, Park Planning, Facilities and Lands announced in December 2020, “The Investment Review Board (IRB) has sponsored the formation of the Visitor Center Futures (VC Futures) workgroup. This group was formed, in part, due to visitor center projects that have gone to the IRB and appeared to lack strong connections to the broader investment goals of the park, or the project lacked a comprehensive understanding of current and future visitor needs and expectations.”
VC Futures is the opportunity to reimagine visitor centers and challenge our assumptions to better meet visitor needs. The work group intends to provide parks with a toolkit to assist them with evaluating the need for a visitor center and/or determine the most cost effective methods and locations for delivery of essential visitor functions traditionally housed in a visitor center.
Why It Matters
Visitor Centers are about more than just a building or an investment. Visitor Centers, like many other things that the National Park Service is known for such as the arrowhead, are agency icons. This group study impacts NPS employees, partners, visitors, and stakeholders, and it is important that considerations be taken to assess how future investments will best serve all.