University of Vermont

Park Studies Laboratory

Faculty, Staff, and Students

Park Studies Laboratory
Contact us at:
Park Studies Laboratory
Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources
313 George D. Aiken Center
81 Carrigan Drive
Burlington, VT 05405
(802) 656-8873



  • Bill Valliere William Valliere is a member of the research staff in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. Bill has worked in the Park Studies Laboratory since 1994 when he completed his masters degree in Natural Resources Planning at the University of Vermont . He oversees and coordinates day to day operations in the lab and data collection during field seasons. Bill is an author on many of the publications the Park Studies Laboratory has produced and frequently participates in national and regional and National Park Service sponsored meetings, presenting research findings. Bill is a 5th Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. Email William Valliere

Graduate Students

  • Elizabeth (Bess) Perry is a doctoral student in the Park Studies Laboratory. She earned a M.S. in Forest Ecosystems and Society and a graduate certificate in Marine Resources Management at Oregon State University (2013) and a B.S. in Natural Resources Ecology - Conservation Biology at the University of Idaho (2004). Bess' thesis research focused on public knowledge and attitudes regarding Oregon's newly created state marine reserves. She has worked with the National Park Service's Klamath Inventory and Monitoring Network, Grand Teton National Park, and Connecticut State Parks. Her research interests include examining relationships that individuals and communities form with parks and how these relationships may inform park creation, management, and science communications. Outside of exploring these paths, Bess enjoys running trails, creating art and mehndi, improving her Nepali, and discovering new pursuits and adventures. Email Elizabeth Perry

  • Xiao Xiao is a doctoral students in the Park Studies Laboratory. She completed her undergraduate and Master's studies at Nanjing University in Tourism Management (2010) and Human Geography(2013). Her master's thesis focused on the formative mechanism and spatial differences of visitors' sense of place in Jiuzhai Valley National Park, China. Xiao's research interests including sustainable transportation planning for rural, recreational and park landscapes. Xiao is a woman's singles table tennis champion in the graduate school at Nanjing University where she organized teams and activities. Email Xiao Xiao

  • Alumni

    • Nathan Reigner Nathan Reigner is a consultant at Resource Systems Group, Inc. Nathan's particular areas of expertise include visitor use monitoring, survey methods, computational and simulation modeling, and adaptive management. Nathan has learned and exercised these skills in parks as diverse as Acadia, Golden Gate, Haleakala, and Yosemite. In addition to his research expertise, Nathan teaches park and wilderness management and GIS. Nathan earned his Ph.D. from the Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. All of his work is informed by a deep appreciation for and fascination with the socio-cultural history of nature, environmental thought, and outdoor recreation.

    • Vinson Vinson Pierce is a master’s student in the Park Studies Laboratory.  A native of Richmond, VA, Vinson earned his B.A. in Geography and Political Science in 2011 from the University of South Carolina.  His research interests include land conservation, wilderness areas, and land management.  In his free time, Vinson enjoys biking, reading, and playing bike polo.

    • Ellen Ellen Rovelstad is a Master’s student in the Park Studies Laboratory. She earned a BA in Environmental Public Policy from DePaul University in 2010. She interned as a park guide at Arches National Park with the Student Conservation Association and assisted with soundscape research in Bryce Canyon and Glacier National Parks. Her research interests consist of technology and the visitor experience in backcountry and wilderness areas, in addition to managing light pollution to protect night skies. Ellen enjoys taking her minivan to hikes in the Green Mountains and Vermont’s fine local establishments in her free time.

  • Laura Anderson is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin at Steven's Point. She is a graduate of University of Massachusetts, Amherst, The Ohio State University, and Wittenberg University.  Laura’s research in the lab has taken her to Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, and Glacier National Parks – and to the scenic byways of Vermont.  Laura is co-author (with Dr. Manning) of Managing Outdoor Recreation: Case Studies in the National Parks (CABI publishing).  She is an Associate Editor for Leisure Sciences.  In 2008, she served as coordinator for the 14th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management. 

    • Peter Pettengill Peter Pettengill completed his PhD in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources in 2012. He earned a BS in Environmental and Resource Economics from the University of New Hampshire in 2003 and received a Master of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School in 2006. Pete is now an outdoor recreation planner at Grand Canyon National Park.

    • Rebecca Stanfield McCown Rebecca Stanfield McCown Rebecca Stanfield McCown completed her M.S. in Natural Resources Planning in 2006 and her PhD in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources in 2011. Rebecca earned a B.S. from Colorado State University in 2004. Her dissertation research focused on engaging communities of color in outdoor recreation and national parks. Rebecca is now the Community Engagement and Partnerships Coordinator for the National Park Service's Conservation Study Institute.

    • Kelly GoonanKelly Goonan earned a master's degree at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. She has a wide range of interests related to parks and protected areas. Her research focused on the ecological effects of recreation on mountain summits in the Northeast and promoting sustainable recreation in this region. Kelly received her BA from St. Lawrence University in May 2007 with dual degrees in Environmental Studies and Spanish. Kelly is now enrolled in a doctoral program at Utah State University.

    • Carena Van Riper Carena J. van Riper earned a Master's degree in the Park Studies Laboratory. Carena is interested in the human dimensions of natural resources, parks and protected area management, and conservation policy. Her thesis research used stated choice modeling to understand visitor perceptions of social, ecological, and managerial conditions on three mountain summits in the northeast. She holds an interdisciplinary undergraduate degree in Biology and Outdoor Recreation Management from Arizona State University. Outside of academia, Carena enjoys snowboarding, distance running, and statistics. Carena is now enrolled in a doctoral program at Texas A&M University.

    • Dan Abbe Dan Abbe completed a master's degree in Natural Resources at the University of Vermont, studying with Professor Robert Manning. Prior to coming to the University of Vermont his work experience involved a 15-plus year association with the National Park Service starting as a Youth Conservation Corps crew leader and culminating as a sub-district ranger. Dan also worked for 11 protected areas in 2 countries and 8 states. His expertise is visitor services and resource protection based in both frontcountry and backcountry settings from Alaska to Honduras. Dan currently works as a wilderness ranger in Denali National Park.

    • James Bacon Jim Bacon completed his master's degree in Natural Resource Planning with an emphasis in Outdoor Recreation Management. He has assisted in research projects in Denali National Park, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and Acadia National Park. Prior to attending graduate school, Jim served as a recreation supervisor at the Croton-on-Hudson Recreation and Parks Department in Westchester County, New York. Previous experience also includes experiential and outdoor education at summer camps in Colorado and New York. Jim served two years in the Peace Corps in Guatemala after completing his master's degree and is now the superintendant at the National Park of American Samoa.

    • Megha Budruk Megha Budruk completed a PhD with Dr. Robert Manning at the Park Studies Laboratory, University of Vermont. She is now Associate Professor in the School of Community Resource and Development at Arizona State University. She has an educational background in biology, environmental sciences and outdoor recreation management from the University of Poona, India and Arizona State University. Her professional interests include recreation carrying capacity and its relationship with interpretation and education in parks and application of carrying capacity to urban parks and frontcountry areas. She has assisted in research at Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area. Prior to moving the U.S., Megha worked with an envrionmental networking agency in India and served on a variety of projects at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, India and with the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India. Originally from India, she has traveled extensively around the world and enjoys experiencing new places and people.

    • Jeff Hallo Jeffrey C. Hallo completed a PhD with Dr. Robert Manning at the Park Studies Laboratory, Univeristy of Vermont. Jeffrey is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at Clemson University. His research and teaching interests focus on understanding, planning for, and managing recreational visitor use in parks, forests, and other protected areas. More specifically, his research has examined transportation in national parks, scenic driving/motorized recreation (e.g., off-highway vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, and motorboat use), crowding/carrying capacity, spatial distributions of visitors/tourists, and modeling of recreational use.

    • Steve Lawson Steve Lawson completed a Ph.D. in Natural Resources at the University of Vermont, studying with Professor Robert Manning. He was Associate Professor in the Department of Forestry at Virginia Tech Unversity and recently became a Senior Associate with Resource Systems Group, Inc. He conducts a program of research for the National Park Service, applying normative theory and quantitative and qualitative methods to address issues related to visitor use in national parks. Steve has designed and/or participated in research at several national park areas including Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Arches, Denali, Acadia, Alcatraz Island, Statue of Liberty, Isle Royale, and Boston Harbor Islands.

    • Daniel Laven Daniel Laven completed his M.S. in Natural Resources Planning in 2003 and his doctorate in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources in 2006. Daniel received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin/Madison in 1995, and has since worked for a variety of management agencies including the U.S. National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Daniel worked with the National Park Service's Conservation Study Institute for several years and is now on the faculty at Mid-Sweden University.

    • Peter Newman Peter Newman earned a Ph.D in Natural Resources in the summer of 2002 studying with Professor Robert Manning at the University of Vermont. His research focused on integrating resource and social issues in carrying capacity decision making in National Parks. Peter came to the Park Studies Lab from Yosemite National Park where he worked as a naturalist for the Yosemite Institute and as a National Park Service Ranger. Peter has designed and/or participated in studies in several parks including Yosemite, Mesa Verde, Acadia, the Appalachian Trail, and the Adirondacks. He conducted a study in Yosemite National Park wilderness that will help to inform social carrying capacity decision-making. Peter is now Department Head and Professor in the Recreation, Park and Tourism Management program at Penn State University.

    • Logan Park Logan Park received his undergraduate degree from Furman University, receiving his B.S. in Environmental Chemistry. As a Master's student in the Park Studies Laboratory, his research bridged resource impacts and social aspects of recreation and also used 3D computer technology in the establishment of social norms. Logan recently earned a Ph.D. at Virginia Tech University and is now Assistant Professor at Southern Illinois University.

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    Last modified December 23 2015 03:17 PM

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