This paper identifies criteria for efficient public utilization of designated wildlife sites. It describes a survey of the major wildlife sites in Scotland in order to determine the site management objectives and extent to which sites are utilized by visitors. Substantial differences were found to exist between organizations as regards site management objectives, promotion and the provision of visitor facilities. Explanations for the apparent variability in efficiency of site utilization are discussed in terms of organization ideology, funding and structure. It is argued that trusts funded through membership may be best able to reconcile the benefits from current site utilization with the conservation of long-term use and existence values.