Conservation Corps Project Analysis, Fall 2012

The National Park Service (NPS) Park Facility Maintenance Division (PFMD) conducted a project analysis to determine how the costs of engaging a conservation corps to accomplish cyclic maintenance activities at national parks compared with the costs of using contractor or NPS crews.

by National Park Service


NPS PFMD Conservation Corps Project Analysis FINA Lv2


The final results analyzed 15 geographically dispersed projects ranging in complexity with general focus on trail related projects. On average, using conservation corps crews instead of NPS crews saved 65% with the minimum savings just 3% and the maximum savings 87%. The analysis found that the savings using conservation corps instead of contractor crews were even more significant with average savings of 83% and over $130,000 per project. In general, the conservation corps crews were consistently the least expensive alternative. In dollars, for all 15 selected projects the average savings was over $50,000 over NPS crew costs (or $131,000 over contractor crews) with a minimum savings of just $237 and a maximum savings over $224,000.

Published June 30, 2011

About the Author


The National Park Service (NPS) was created in 1916 and today manages over 390 units found in all 50 states and some of the U.S. territories. NPS supports and operates trails in three interlocking arenas: trails in parks, technical assistance to States and communities, and administration of much of the National Trails System.

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