Through the National Marine Sanctuaries Visitor Counting Process (NMS-COUNT), marine protected area (MPA) resource managers gain valid and reliable data and methods to advance predictive capability and understanding of visitors. The NMS-COUNT process is an iterative framework that allows local management and stakeholders to add knowledge of visitor use at an NMS unit through each phase.
Building off the US Interagency Visitor Monitoring Framework, NMS-COUNT facilitates local input on visitation and communication with managers and researchers to develop and implement the most efficient methodology. Understanding visitor use can help MPA managers create better policies, leading to more satisfied visitors and healthier coastal ecosystems. Visitation data helps to efficiently maintain and manage local ecological, economic and social resources. NMS-COUNT helps resource managers adhere to limits of resilience within MPAs, leading to sustainable use and maintenance for future generations.