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

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.

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.

More articles by this author

More articles in this category

Affinity and Identity-Based Crews and Programs

posted Feb 8, 2023

The purpose of this guide is to highlight the work of service and conservation Corps who develop and manage identity-based programs and crews, discuss the intention and purpose of these crews, why they are important, and how they have been transformational experiences for Corpsmembers and partners.

COVID-19 Conservation Corps

posted Mar 9, 2022

Successes and lessons from the COVID-19 Conservation Corps programs in Juneau, Anchorage, and Sitka that trained and employed out-of-work Alaskans in 2020.

SCA Leader Teams Handbook

posted Oct 1, 2021

This handbook defines the role of the SCA and the Programs’ policies and guidelines. It is to be referred to and followed. There are three sections- general information, a section specifically for the Leader Team Crew Leader, and a section specifically for the Leader Team Members.

Youth Conservation Corps Reference Manual: A Coordinator’s Guide

posted Oct 1, 2021

This handbook is intended to provide consistency among the National Park Service (NPS) units responsible for implementing the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) and to offer guidance for establishing and operating the YCC throughout the NPS.

220 views • posted 07/22/2020