|Germany’s protected areas encounter many specific challenges in regards to visitor management. Due to a high population density, they are frequented by high visitor numbers who also enter unaccounted for from diffuse ingress points as access is free of charge. Additionally, Germany’s parks are historically young. Thus, scientific monitoring is often limited to conservation issues whereas socioeconomic dimensions are not always considered a core management issue. Harz National Park with an area of 246 km2, situated in the German states of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, is a typical example. Although visitor counts have been conducted in several recreational “hot spots” within in the park, no quantitative and qualitative visitor use statistics for the park as a whole exist. As a consequence, the park administration lacks information that is necessary to analyse and evaluate potential conflicts between visitor use and conservation objectives. In 2007, the Institute of Environmental Planning and the Harz National Park administration joined efforts to develop a long-term strategy to implement visitor use monitoring with the national park. Based on extensive interviews, mainly with park staff, and an evaluation of current available technologies, a first framework was developed which will address the methodological challenges outlined above. Key pillars of the framework are a concept for quantitative visitor counts by means of pyroelectric counters and a modular-structured questionnaire to collect qualitative data such as visitor preferences, and value added to the region. The framework will now further undergo scientific evaluation to be implemented from 2009 onwards.