University of Vermont

Park Studies Laboratory

Current/Past Studies

Current and Recent Studies and Projects

Schoodic Point, Acadia National Park

Transportation as a Barrier to Visiting National Parks by Communities of Color.  U.S. National Park Service, 2011-2013.
Racial and ethnic minority groups are substantially underrepresented in the national parks.  Research suggests that lack of transportation may be one of the causes of this problem.  This study will use two cases studies – Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area to examine this issue.  Surveys will be conducted of park visitors and community members to determine if they have visited this and other units of the national park system and to assess the role of transportation in visitation patterns.

Research to Support Wilderness Management at Olympic National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 2011-2013.
The vast majority of Olympic National Park (95%) is designated wilderness.  The National Park Service is undertaking development of Wilderness Stewardship Plan to guide management of this portion of the park.  Two visitor surveys – one of day users and the other of overnight users – will be conducted to help support and inform this planning process.  These surveys will address characteristics of visitors and visitor use patterns, indicators and standards of quality of the wilderness experience, and visitor attitudes toward a range of management practices.

Development of a Transportation Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (T-ROS).  Federal Lands Highway, 2011- 2013.
The Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) is a long-standing conceptual framework in the field of parks and outdoor recreation.  ROS is used to guide park and outdoor recreation management by illustrating the potential diversity of recreation opportunities.  This project is designed to adapt ROS to the field of transportation in parks and related outdoor recreation areas.  An interagency workshop and a Delphi survey are being used to help design a T-ROS.

Literature Review of the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum Applied to Transportation. Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Technical Assistance Center, 2011.
The Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) is a long-standing conceptual framework in the field of parks and outdoor recreation.  ROS is used to guide park and outdoor recreation management by illustrating the potential diversity of recreation opportunities.  This project is designed to conduct a literature review of the ROS concept and its application to a number of fields of study and practice, and to support development of an ROS applied to transportation in parks and related areas.

Development of a Case Study of Transportation at Cape Cod National Seashore.Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Technical Assistance Center, 2011.
This project was designed to develop a case study of transportation planning and management at Cape Cod National Seashore and surrounding communities.  The case study emphasized coordination and cooperation among a number of agencies and groups.  This case study is one of several developed by the TRIPTAC program as a form of technical assistance to park and outdoor recreation management agencies.  The case study is posted on the TRIPTAC website.

Development of a Best Practices Manual for Transportation in Parks and Outdoor Recreation.Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Technical Assistance Center, 2011-2012.
Transportation and outdoor recreation are inextricably linked.  For many visitors, driving or riding is the conventional and primary way in which visitors experience the national parks.  Moreover, transportation can be an important management tool by delivering the “right” number of visitors to the “right” places at the “right” times.  This project is designed to develop a best practices manual for managing transportation in parks and on public lands, including maintaining a high quality visitor experience.

Integration of Spatial Data, Behavioral Observation and Social Norms to Inform Objectives, Indicators and Standards-Based Recreation Management, 2010-2012
Along with the beauty and drama of natural landscapes, quality recreation experiences in parks and wildlands are largely influenced by the social conditions encountered by visitors.   Maintaining social densities and distributions that maximize behavioral freedom and minimize inter-party conflict is a primary measure of recreation quality and mission of resource managers.  This study seeks to develop analytical techniques to integrate visitor surveys and behavioral observations with small area spatial models enable researchers and practitioners to better characterize and understand the local effects of social conditions of crowding on visitor behavior, freedom of action and perceptions of quality.
  
Simulation Modeling of Pedestrian Behavior along Trail Networks in Parks and Outdoor Recreation Settings, 2012-2013
Simulation modeling is a productive tool for understanding and experimenting with recreation behaviors.  Advances in simulation modeling, including the VISSIM Social Force model, integrate spatial data with microsimulation in ways that may replicate recreation behavior and systems in substantially better ways than previous models.  Such simulation models can be effective and necessary management tools in the face of intense visitor use and resource protection pressures.  With a grant from the US Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Centers, the Park Studies Lab is collaborating with Applied Trails Research to develop foundational expertise in spatially explicit microsimulation of recreation behavior and resource quality.    

Measurement and Analysis of Visitor Capacity at Yosemite National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 2009-2011.
This study will measure visitor capacity at selected sites in Yosemite National Park. Visitor surveys will be conducted at seven sites throughout the park using visual simulations of a range of visitor use levels. Study findings will be incorporated into simulation models designed to estimate maximum acceptable use levels and how visitor use can be accommodated within the park's transportation system. This study is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Steve Lawson at Resource Systems Group, Dr. Dave White at Arizona State University, and Bill Byrne at David Evans and Associates.

Indicators and Standards for Managing Recreation in the Alaska Region of the National Park Service. U.S. National Park Service, 2010-2011.
This study is designed to identify indicators and standards of quality for outdoor recreation in the Alaska Region of the National Park Service. An initial phase of the project was a workshop in Anchorage, AK to discuss the concept of indicators and standards in outdoor recreation management and to begin the process of indentifying indicator variables. Based on workshop findings, a research proposal is being developed to identify field-based components of this project. This project is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Chris Monz at Utah State University.

Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Technical Assistance Center. U.S. Department of Transportation, 2009-2012.
The Technical Assistance Center (TAC) is a consortium of universities and consultants that offer technical assistance to federal land management agencies on transportation issues. It is a one-stop shop for transportation-related information, training, and technical support. The Park Studies Laboratory is a member of the TAC and develops training programs and related materials and conducts a program of research on transportation in parks and on other public lands.

Research and Management of Aircraft Overflights in National Parks. John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, 2009-2012.
Noise associated with aircraft overflights in the national parks is an increasingly important issue. The National Park Service is required to develop Air Tour Management Plans for 100 units of the national park system. This program of research is designed to support development and application of these plans. This project is being conducted in collaboration with several other universities and research facilities including Resource Systems Group, Colorado State University and Southern Utah University.

Research to Support Management of Visitor Capacity at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. U.S. National Park Service, 2009-2012.
This study will support development of a visitor capacity plan for the park with special emphasis on commercial use of the historic Dyea area. The study will be conducted in four phases: 1) scoping of issues, 2) a visitor survey to identify potential indicators of quality, 3) a visitor survey to identify potential standards of quality, and 4) report writing.

Research to Support Managing Outdoor Recreation at Cumberland Island National Seashore. U.S. National Park Service, 2008-2012.
This study will support development of a General Management Plan and associated Transportation Plan at Cumberland Island National Seashore. Visitor surveys and related research methods will be used to 1) determine baseline characteristics of visitors and visitor use patterns, 2) identify indicators and standards of quality for the visitor experience, and 3) measure visitor attitudes toward alternative managment practices. This study is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Jeffrey Hallo of Clemson University.

Tourism and Transportation: Indicators and Standards of Sustainable Transportation. University of Vermont Transportation Research Center, 2007-2012.
This study addresses sustainable transportation in the context of parks, outdoor recreation, and tourism. Visitor surveys, visual simulations, and computer simulation modeling will be used to help guide formation of indicators and standards for transportation planning and management. Study sites include national parks, scenic byways, and tourist destinations. This study is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Lisa Chase of the University of Vermont Extensive Service.

Integrated Transportation and Capacity Management: Yosemite National Park, 2010-2011.
There is an integral relationship between transportation and visitor capacity in national parks. Transportation systems deliver visitors to park attraction sites and therefore influence the social conditions and consequent visitor experience at these sites. It is important for park managers to understand the relationship between transportation and visitor use to manage resources for high quality visitor experiences. This study measures crowding-related indicators and standards of quality at attraction sites in Yosemite National Park with a focus on integrating transportation systems operation with the quality of visitor experiences.

Indicators and Standards of Recreational Boating on Lake Champlain. Lake Chmplain Sea Grant Program, U.S. Department of Commerce, 2006-2011.
This study is designed to help guide management of sustainable recreational boating on Lake Champlain. Surveys of boaters are being conducted to identify indicators and standards of recreational boating. Inventory and monitoring of boating-related environmental impacts is also being conducted. This study is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Chris Monz of Utah State University.

Vermont Trail Collaborative, Green Mountain National Forest, 2009-2011.
The Vermont Trail Collaborative was established in 2009 to improve management of trails and recreation on the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) and throughout Vermont. Much of the work of the Trail Collaborative is done by three work groups: 1) the Stewardship and Communication Work Group which coordinates efforts throughout the state to improve the educational and interpretive information available for trail users, 2) the Landscape Management Work Group which evaluates ways to improve upon the overall trail system on the GMNF and surrounding areas. The objectives of the group are to address landscape scale issues transcending landownership and jurisdictional boundaries which have been identified from local knowledge, previous planning and the collaborative process, and 3) the Science Panel Work Group which is a panel of stakeholders and scientists which catalogues relevant studies for trail management on the GMNF and surrounding areas.

Research to Support National Park Service 21st Century Relevancy Initiatives. Conservation Study Institute, NPS Northeast Region, Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area, and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, 2006-2010.
This study was designed to examine how the National Park Service can successfully engage diverse and traditionally underserved audiences. The study was conducted in two phases: 1) interviews with key informants regarding NPS diversity initiatives and 2) qualitative case studies of youth engagement programs at two units of the NPS. A model of deep engagement was developed from study findings and highlights the processes through which parks successfully engage diverse audiences.

Capacity Reconsidered: Finding Consensus and Clarifying Differences. U.S. National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service, 2008-2010.
Carrying capacity of parks and related areas is a long-standing and increasingly urgent issue. In response to recent developments, a group of five experts in this subject -- David Cole, Glenn Haas, Bo Shelby, Doug Whittaker, and Bob Manning -- worked to develop a report that identifies a number of professional agreements and several disagreements about the definition, measurement, and management of recreational carrying capacity.

Indicators and Standards of Sustainable Recreation/Tourism: Research to Support Management of the Northern Forest. Northern States Research Cooperative, 2006-2010.
This study is designed to help guide management of sustainable recreation/tourism in the Northern Forest. The geographic focus is selected mountain summits. Surveys are being conducted to identify indicators and standards of quality for outdoor recreation, and inventory and monitoring of recreation-related impacts is also being conducted. This study is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Chris Monz of Utah State University.

Research to Support Visitor Management at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. U.S. National Park Service, 2006-2011.
This study is designed to help support development of a new General Management Plan for the park. Visitor counts and surveys are being conducted at several park sites, including Muir Woods, Alcatraz Island, and San Mateo County. A continuing program of research on visitor-caused noise is being conducted at Muir Woods. This study is being conducted in collaboratioin with Dr. Peter Newman at Colorado State University.

A Predictive Study of Use Impact on the Denali Park Road: A Study Plan to Support Analysis and Management of Carrying Capacity. U.S. National Park Service, 2005-2012.
This study is designed to help support analysis and management of carrying capacity on the Denali Park Road. Qualitative and quantitative surveys of park visitors are being conducted to help identify indicators and standards of quality for the park experience and to measure visitor attitudes toward alternative park management practices.

Analysis and Management of Carrying Capacity at Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2005-2010.
This study is designed to support analysis and management of recreational carrying capacity of Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. Emphasis is placed on identifying indicators and standards of quality. Study methods include visitor surveys, visual research methods, visitor counts, and GPS-based measurement of visitor use patterns.

Carrying Capacity of Park and Forest Recreation Areas. McIntire-Stennis Forestry Research Program, 2005-2012.
This program of research is designed to develop and test new theoretical and methodological approaches to analyzing and managing the carrying capacity of parks and forest recreation areas. This program of research is being conducted in conjunction with the application of carrying capacity in the U.S. National Park system. Studies focus on application of normative theory, visual simulation of visitor-caused impacts, computer simulation modeling of visitor use, application of indifference curve analysis, and application of conjoint analysis and stated choice modeling.

Wilderness Day Use: Patterns, Impacts, Management. U.S. National Park Service and McIntire-Stennis Forestry Research Program, 2005-2007.
This study was designed to assess the status of recreational day use in wilderness managed by the U.S. National Park Service. The study consisted of a survey of NPS wilderness managers and addressed day use patterns, associated impacts, and NPS management practices applied to day users.

Research to Support Analysis and Management of Carrying Capacity at Acadia National Park. U. S. National Park Service, 2004-2012.
This study is designed to help analyze and manage carrying capacity at the Mount Desert Island section of Acadia National Park. Visitor surveys and observational counts are being conducted to 1) develop baseline information on visitor characteristics and use patterns, 2) identify potential indicators and standards of quality for the visitor experience and related resource conditions, and 3) develop a computer simulation model of visitor use on the Ocean Drive section of the Park Loop Road. This study is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Jeff Marion of the U. S. Geological Survey and Dr. Steve Lawson of Virginia Tech University.

Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Cod National Seashore. U.S. National Park Service, 2003-2006.
Off-road vehicles (ORVs) are a traditional use of Cape Cod National Seashore. However, relatively little is known about this use. This project was a two-phase study of ORV use and users designed to gather baseline information and help develop indicators and standards of quality for this activity. Phase 1 was comprised of a qualitative study of ORV users in the summer and fall of 2004. Structured interviews were conducted with 60 ORV users. Phase 2 was a quantitative survey of a representative sample of ORV users in the summer and fall of 2005. The focus of the survey was on developing indicators and standards of quality for ORV use.

Composite Levels of Service for Transportation Planning and Management in the National Park System. U.S. National Park Service, 2004-2005.
The project was designed to explore the concept of "levels of service" as used in transportation planning and management and apply this concept to national parks. A literature review and two workshops were conducted to explore these issues and to develop a study plan for a program of research designed to apply this work in the context of the National Park System. Specific topics of interest included standards of quality for vehicular and pedestrian traffic and for alternative modes of transportation. This project was conducted in conjunction with David Evans and Associates.

Development and Application of Computer Simulation Modeling of Visitor Use for Park and Wilderness Management. Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute and U.S. National Park Service, 2002-2005.
This project was designed to explore the development and application of computer simulation modeling of visitor use to park and wilderness management. Components of this project included a workshop in the spring of 2003, a comparative analysis of simulation approaches applied to Humphrey's Basin in the Sierra Nevada's, a U.S. Forest Service publication on computer simulation modeling of visitor use, and application of computer simulation modeling to National Park Service General Management Plans. This project was conducted collaboratively with Dr. Dave Cole of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, Dr. Randy Gimblett of the University of Arizona and Dr. Steve Lawson of Virginia Tech University.

Development of a Computer Simulation Model of Visitor Use at the Schoodic Peninsula, Acadia National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 2003-2004.
Previous research at this area developed data to help the National Park Service formulate crowding-related indicators and standards of quality for the Schoodic Peninsula section of the park. This study developed a computer simulation model of visitor use that can be used to estimate the maximum level of visitor use that can be accommodated without violating selected standards of quality. Data on visitor use patterns were collected by asking a representative sample of visitors to carry GPS units during their park visit and by counting the number and pattern of visitor arrivals.

Research to Support Carrying Capacity Analysis and Visitor Management at Haleakala National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 2003-2004.
This study was designed to help analyze and manage carrying capacity and related visitor management at Haleakala National Park. A new general management plan is being developed at this park, and the issue of carrying capacity is being addressed in this plan. A survey was administered to visitors at several attraction sites during the month of August, 2003. The survey questionnaires presented a series of photographs depicting alternative numbers of visitors at these sites and asked visitors to render judgements about the acceptability of these photographs. This study was part of a larger study of visitor use and transportation conducted in conjunction with David Evans and Associates.

Research to Support Application of the Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP) Framework at Muir Woods National Monument. U.S. National Park Service, 2003-2005.
The National Park Service is undertaking watershed and transportation planning at Muir Woods National Monument, including Muir Beach. The Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP) Framework was used to guide portions of this planning. This research was designed to support application of the VERP framework. A first phase of studies was conducted in the summer of 2003 to help identify potential indicators or quality and to develop a computer simulation model of visitor use of Muir Woods. A second phase of studies was conducted in the summers of 2004 and 2005 to help formulate standards of quality for selected indicator variables.

Research to Support Analysis and Management of Ecological and Social Carrying Capacity for Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 2003-2006.
This interdisciplinary study supported the application of carrying capacity to Yosemite Valley. The study was conducted in three phases. Phase 1 identified potential resource and social indicators of quality for Yosemite Valley. Phase 2 helped formulate standards of quality for selected indicator variables. Phase 3 incorporated study findings into a carrying capacity plan for Yosemite Valley. The study was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Peter Newman of Colorado State University and Dr. Jan van Wagtendonk of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Research to Support General Management Planning at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. U.S. National Park Service, 2002.
This study involved a survey of visitors to Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. Information from the survey was used to support development of a new general management plan for this park. The survey addressed socio-economic and demographic characteristics of visitors, use patterns, and attitudes toward management issues. The survey was administered on-site during the month of August, 2002.

Visitor and Vehicle Carrying Capacity of Blue Ridge Parkway. U.S. National Park Service, 2002-2003.
This study was designed to support analysis and management of visitor and vehicle carrying capacity at Blue Ridge Parkway. A new general management plan is being developed at this park, and the issue of carrying capacity is being addressed in this plan. A survey was administered to representative samples of visitors at eleven attractions along the Parkway in the months of July and August, 2002. The survey questionnaire presented photographs of alternative numbers and types of vehicle use along the Parkway and a range of visitors at scenic overlooks, and visitors were asked to render judgements of the acceptability of these photographs. This study was part of a larger study of visitor use conducted in collaboration with David Evans and Associates and ORCA Consulting.

Research to Support Carrying Capacity Analysis at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 2002-2003.
This study was designed to support analysis and management of carrying capacity at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. A new general management plan is being developed at this park, and the issue of carrying capacity is being addressed in this plan. A survey was administered to visitors at three attraction sites in the park during the month of October, 2002. The survey questionnaire presented a series of photographs depicting alternative numbers of people and vehicles at these sites and asked visitors to render judgments about the acceptability of these photos. Computer simulation models of visitor use at the three study sites were also developed. This study was part of a larger study of visitor use conducted in conjunction with David Evans and Associates and ORCA Consulting.

Application of Stated Choice Modeling at Isle Royal National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 2002-2003.
A computer simulation model of wilderness camping at Isle Royale National Park was developed by the Park Studies Lab in 2001 (see below). Results from this model were used to develop alternative camping management scenarios that are being considered as part of the Park’s new wilderness management plan. A survey of wilderness campers was conducted in August of 2002 to explore visitor preferences among these scenarios. A series of paired comparisons of wilderness management scenarios were incorporated into the survey questionnaire, and stated choice modeling was used to analyze study data.

Research to Support Application of Carrying Capacity to Zion National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 2002-2004.
This was a two-phase study designed to support application of carrying capacity to the wilderness portion of Zion National Park. The study included visitor surveys, development of computer simulation models of visitor use, and inventory and assessment of recreation-related impacts to park resources. Study data will help the National Park Service formulate indicators and standards of quality of the visitor experience and park resources. This study was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Wayne Freimund of the University of Montana and Dr. Jeff Marion of Virginia Tech University.

Visitor Use and Users of Saratoga National Historical Park. U.S. National Park Service, 2001-2002.
This study involved surveys of representative samples of visitors to the Saratoga Battlefield and Schuyler House sites of the park. The surveys were conducted in the summer of 2001 and were designed to support development of a new General Management Plan for the park. Topics included in the surveys were baseline information on visitors and visitor use patterns, attitudes toward selected park management issues, and transportation to and around the park.

Social and Ecological Carrying Capacity of Isle au Haut, Acadia National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 2001-2003.
This was a two-phase study designed to support application of carrying capacity to Isle au Haut, a remote portion of Acadia National Park. The study included surveys of park visitors and island residents, development of a computer simulation model of visitor use, and inventory and assessment of recreation-related environmental impacts on trails and at campsites. The study will help the National Park Service apply the Visitor Experience and Resource Protection framework through formulation of indicators and standards of quality of the recreation experience and resource conditions. The study was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Jeff Marion, Virginia Tech University.

Economic and Social Values of the Vermont State Parks. Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, 2001-2002.
This study was designed to estimate the economic and social values of the Vermont State Parks. The study involved surveys of representative samples of day and overnight visitors to all of the Vermont State Parks. The surveys were conducted in the summer of 2001. Questionnaires estimated economic values by asking respondents how much money was spent on their visit and their willingness to pay to support the Vermont State Parks. Respondents were also asked to rate the importance of a range of potential social values of parks. This study was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Al Gilbert of the University of Vermont.

Development and Application of a Computer Simulation Model of Wilderness Camping at Isle Royale National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 2001-2002.
This study developed computer simulation models of wilderness camping at Isle Royale National Park. The models were based on data from the park’s wilderness permits issued in the summer of 2001. The models estimate the number of camping parties at each wilderness campground in the park. The models were used to test the potential effectiveness of a variety of management practices designed to reduce crowding at wilderness campsites. This study was conducted to support development of a new wilderness management plan for the park.

Carrying Capacity of U.S. National Parks. Earthwatch Institute and the Center for Field Research, 2000-2005.
Earthwatch Institute and the Center for Field Research agreed to support the carrying capacity research of the Park Studies Laboratory. Earthwatch Institute provided groups of volunteers each summer to help collect data in selected national parks. In the summer of 2001, Earthwatch Institute provided volunteers in Yosemite National Park and Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, and volunteers worked at Isle au Haut, Acadia National Park in the summer of 2002.

Carrying Capacity at Kenai Fjords National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 2000-2002.
This study was designed to help analyze and manage carrying capacity at Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park. Surveys of representative samples of park visitors were conducted in the summer of 2001 to help formulate crowding-related standards of quality. Study data are being incorporated into a Visitor Experience and Resource Protection Plan for this area. This study was conducted in collaboration with Darryll Johnson and Mark Vande Kamp of the University of Washington.

Carrying Capacity of Park and Forest Recreation Areas. McIntire-Stennis Forestry Research Program, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2000-2003.
This program of research was designed to develop and test new theoretical and methodological approaches to analyzing and managing the carrying capacity of parks and forest recreation areas. This program of research was conducted in conjunction with the application of carrying capacity in the U.S. National Park system. Studies focused on application of normative theory, visual simulation of visitor-caused impacts, computer simulation modeling of visitor use, application of indifference curve analysis, and application of conjoint analysis and stated choice modeling.

Membership Survey of the Green Mountain Club. Green Mountain Club, 2000.
A survey was conducted of a representative sample of members of the Green Mountain Club, a non-profit organization that maintains the Long Trail. The survey collected information on member characteristics and their attitudes toward GMC and related issues. This information was used in administrative planning of the Club.

Research to Support Visitor Management at Mesa Verde National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 2000-2003.
This series of studies was designed to support new approaches to visitor management, including carrying capacity and public transportation. Studies included surveys of representative samples of visitors at seven sites within the park, an exit survey of park visitors, and development of computer simulation models of visitor use at four sites. The study provides data to assist the park in estimating the carrying capacity of key park attractions, and these data can be used to help design and manage a public transportation system within the park.

Reconstructing Conservation: History, Values and Practice. Woodstock Foundation, Conservation Study Institute, University of Vermont, and The Trust for Public Lands, 2000-2003.
This two-part program of research and scholarship focused on development of conservation principles for the twenty-first century. The first part of this initiative consisted of a 2001 symposium of invited conservation scholars and practitioners that met at the University of Vermont and in Woodstock, Vermont. The second part of the project consisted of an edited book from papers presented at the symposium. The book, Reconstructing Conservation, was published by Island Press. This program was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Ben Minteer, Arizona State Univeristy.

Developing Ecosystem Indicators and an Environmental Scorecard for Lake Champlain. Lake Champlain Basin Program, 2000-2002.
This study was designed to develop an environmental scorecard for Lake Champlain. The focus of the study was formulation of a series of indicators and standards of quality of the ecological and social environments of the Lake Champlain watershed. The study was conducted in collaboration with several faculty at the School of Natural Resources at the University of Vermont.

Carrying Capacity Assessment for the Wilderness of Yosemite National Park. The Yosemite Fund, 2000-2002.
This study was designed to support development of a new wilderness management plan for Yosemite National Park. The study involved surveys of representative samples of overnight visitors to the wilderness portion of the park. The surveys included a multiday diary and stated choice modeling. The study integrated resource, social and managerial indicators and standards of quality to guide wilderness management..

Carrying Capacity Assessment for Yosemite Valley. U.S. National Park Service, 1998-2001.
This two-phase study was designed to help the National Park Service formulate indicators and standards of quality for the visitor experience at several key attraction sites in and around Yosemite Valley. Visitor surveys were conducted to estimate crowding-related standards of quality, and computer simulation models were developed to estimate the maximum number of daily visitors that could be accommodated without violating standards of quality.

Use and Users of the Schoodic Peninsula Area of Acadia National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 2000-2002.
This two-phase study was conducted to support development a new General Management Plan for the Schoodic Peninsula portion of Acadia National Park. The first phase of research involved 1) a survey of a representative sample of park visitors to determine baseline information and potential indicators of quality and attitudes toward reuse of the decommissioned Navy Base, and 2) counts of the number of visitors and cars at key park attraction sites. The second phase of research involved a second visitor survey to estimate standards of quality for crowding-related variables and visitor-caused impacts to trails.

Indicators and Standards of Quality for Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. U.S. National Park Service, 2000-2003.
This was a multi-phase study designed to inform planning and management of Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. The study involved surveys of visitors to nine units of the park, development of a computer simulation model of visitor use, and inventory and assessment of visitor-caused impacts to park resources. Study findings will be used to help formulate indicators and standards of quality for the park experience and park resources. This study was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Yu-Fai Leung of North Carolina State University.

Wilderness Crowding Norms at Denali National Park: A Replication and Extension. U.S. National Park Service, 2000-2002.
This study was designed to support development of a new wilderness management plan for Denali National Park and Preserve. The study involved surveys of representative samples of overnight visitors to the wilderness portion of the park, and included multi-day diaries and stated choice modeling. The study replicates portions of a study conducted in 1978, and was designed to explore the temporal stability of crowding-related norms. This study was conducted in collaboration with Darryll Johnson and Mark Vande Kamp of the University of Washington.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail User Study. U.S. National Park Service, 1998-2001.
This study was the first survey of users of the entire Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The survey was wide-ranging covering topics such as visitor characteristics, use patterns, attitudes about trail management issues, place attachment to the AT, perceptions of security, and crowding-related issues. A “sourcebook” of information about AT use and users was developed from the study. This study was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Alan Graefe and Gerard Kyle of Penn State University.

Research to Support Wilderness Management Planning for Alaskan National Parks. U.S. National Park Service, 1999-2000.
This study was designed to help prepare the Alaska Region of the National Park Service for a new generation of wilderness management plans. Special focus was placed on Denali, Wrangell-St. Ellias, and Gates of the Arctic National Parks. A report was prepared exploring the application of the Visitor Experience and Resource Protection framework and other management-by-objectives processes to wilderness planning and management in Alaska. This project was conducted in collaboration with Darryll Johnson and Mark Vande Kamp of the University of Washington.

A Recreation Opportunity Spectrum for the Colorado River Ecosystem in Grand Canyon. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, 1998-2000.
This study was designed to assist the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Park Service in planning for recreation on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. The study involved a wide-ranging survey of river users with a special focus on the potential effects of varying river flow regimes. The study also applied indifference curve analysis to quantify the tradeoffs that respondents preferred between solitude and access to the river. The study was conducted in collaboration with Dr. William Stewart of the University of Illinois and Dr. David Cole of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute.

Social Values, Environmental Ethics, and the Evolution of Natural Resource Management. McIntire-Stennis Forestry Research Program, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1990-2000.
This program of research was designed to measure public social values and environmental ethics and determine their relationship with attitudes toward natural resource policy. Classification systems for environmental values and ethics were developed along with associated measurement scales. These measurement scales were applied in several surveys that focused primarily on the Green and White Mountain National Forests. This program of research was also supported by the North Central and Pacific Southwest Forest Experiment Stations of the U.S. Forest Service.

Research to Support Visitor Management at Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate National Recreation Area. U.S. National Park Service, 1997-1999.
This study was designed to support application of the Visitor Experience and Resource Protection framework to Alcatraz Island, a key visitor attraction within Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The study involved a survey of visitors to the island and development of a computer simulation model of visitor use. The visitor survey led to formulation of crowding-related standards of quality, and the computer simulation model was used to estimate the maximum number of visitors that could be accommodated on the island without violating standards of quality.

Research to Support Visitor Management at Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island National Monuments. U.S. National Park Service, 1997-2000.
This study was designed to help formulate a visitor management plan for Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island National Monuments. An initial visitor survey explored indicators of quality for the visitor experience and a second visitor survey measured standards of quality for crowding-related variables, including maximum acceptable waiting times.

Research to Support Visitor Management on the Green and Colorado Rivers in Canyonlands National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 1997-1999.
This study was designed to help the National Park Service formulate a new river management plan for the Green and Colorado Rivers. A survey of rivers users was conducted to help formulate indicators and standards of quality for crowding-related variables. The survey included a multi-day diary questionnaire. This study was conducted in collaboration with Dr. David Lime of the University of Minnesota and Dr. Wayne Freimund of the University of Montana.

Carrying Capacity of Yellowstone National Park for Winter Use. U.S. National Park Service and Pew Charitable Trust, 1996-1999.
This study was designed to help the National Park Service develop a new winter use management plan for Yellowstone National Park. The study included two surveys of winter users, one employing quantitative methods and the other employing qualitative methods. The surveys focused on potential indicators and standards of quality of the visitor experience and visitor attitudes toward alternative management practices. The study also developed a computer simulation model of snowmobile use. This study was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Wayne Freimund and Dr. William Borrie of the University of Montana.

A Coordinated, Multiphase Study of Day Use Hiking in Grand Canyon. U.S. National Park Service, Grand Canyon Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, 1996-1999.
This study focused on day use hiking at Grand Canyon National Park. Day use hiking is one the fastest growing segments of national park use, yet is not intensively studied or managed. The study involved personal interviews and mail-back questionnaires administered to representative samples of day use hikers on the rim, corridor and threshold trails in the park. Special focus was placed on day use hiker characteristics and use patterns, hiker preparedness, and crowding-related standards of quality. This study was conducted in collaboration with Dr. William Stewart of the University of Illinois, Dr. David Cole of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, Dr. Jonathan Taylor of the U.S. Geological Survey, and Dr. Martha Lee of Northern Arizona University.

Finishing the Agenda at Arches National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 1995-1999.
This program of research was designed to follow-up on research conducted at Arches National Park in the early 1990s. Previous research identified several potential theoretical and methodological issues that warranted further research attention. These issues included the potential usefulness of computer simulation modeling of visitor use, more efficient and effective monitoring procedures, design and application of a respondent self-assessment protocol to test the validity of crowding norm measurements, and application of indifference curve analysis to assess tradeoffs between solitude and public access. This series of studies was conducted in collaboration with Dr. David Lime of the University of Minnesota and Dr. Wayne Freimund of the University of Montana.

Design and Application of Survey Research. Trustees of Reservations, 1998-1999.
This project involved preparation of a handbook on design and application of survey research in the context of parks and outdoor recreation. The handbook was designed to provide a consistent set of procedures that could be used to monitor visitor use throughout the properties managed by the Trustees of Reservations.

Development of a Handbook for the Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP) Framework. U.S. National Park Service Denver Service Center, 1996-1998.
This project developed a handbook to guide planners and managers in the application of the Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP) framework, a process developed to analyze and apply carrying capacity in the U.S. National Park system. The handbook is available through the U.S. National Park Service Denver Service Center. This project was conducted in collaboration with several National Park Service planners at the Denver Service Center and Dr. David Lime of the University of Minnesota and Dr. Wayne Freimund of the University Montana.

U.S. National Park Service Fee Demonstration Project. U.S. National Park Service Social Science Program, 1996.
This project was designed to identify all units of the U.S. National Park system that participate in the Fee Demonstration Program and to develop baseline information on these areas. This database was used to help design a program of research to evaluate the effectiveness of this program.

Visitor Crowding and Conflict on the Carriage Roads of Acadia National Park. U.S. National Park Service, 1994-1997.
This program of research was designed to support application of the Visitor Experience and Resource Protection framework to the carriage roads of Acadia National Park. The carriage roads are an approximately 50-mile system of multiple use trails. Several studies were conducted, including two visitor surveys, a survey of residents in surrounding communities, and development of a computer simulation model of visitor use. This study facilitated development of a set of indicators and standards of quality for the visitor experience and development of a Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP) implementation plan.

Environmental Ethics and National Forest Management. U.S. Forest Service, 1993-1998.
This program of research was designed to measure the environmental values and ethics associated with the Green and White Mountain National Forests in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Two surveys were conducted, one with a representative sample of Vermont residents, and the other with a representative sample of New England residents. The studies focused on the plurality of public environmental values and ethics, their convergence on public environmental policy, and the contextual nature of environmental values and ethics.

Visitor and Resident Study at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. U.S. National Park Service, 1993-1995.
This study was designed to support development of a General Management Plan for this new unit of the National Park system. Surveys were conducted of visitors to the Billings Farm and Museum and residents of Woodstock, Vermont and surrounding communities. The surveys focused on visitor characteristics and use patterns and attitudes toward park management issues.

Green Mountain Club Membership and Organizational Study. Green Mountain Club, 1993-1994.
This study was designed to support reorganization of the Green Mountain Club. The study included a survey of a representative sample of club members and all members of the Board of Directors. The survey addressed member characteristics and attitudes toward a variety of issues related to the organization of the club and management of the Long Trail.

Valuing Non-market Resources of Vermont Rivers. U.S. Department of Interior and the Vermont Water Resources Research Center, 1992-1996.
This study was designed to develop and apply techniques to estimate the economic value of non-market resources associated with Vermont rivers. A survey was conducted of a representative sample of Vermont residents to estimate the value of Vermont rivers and to test the effectiveness of alternative contingent valuation techniques. This study was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Al Gilbert of the University of Vermont.

Recreation Use of the Battenkill River. Bennington County Regional Commission, 1992-1994.
This study was designed to develop baseline data on use and users of the Battenkill River in Vermont and to replicate elements of a previous study on user conflicts. A survey of river users was conducted focusing on the characteristics and use patterns of river users, conflict among river users, and attitudes toward alternative management practices. Study findings were used to develop a new river management plan.

Visitor Survey and Carrying Capacity at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site. U.S. National Park Service, 1992-1993.
This study was designed to support development of a new General Management Plan for Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site. A survey of visitors was conducted focusing on visitor characteristics and use patterns, crowding-related issues, and attitudes toward alternative management practices.

Visitor Survey and Carrying Capacity of Weir Farm National Historic Site. U.S. National Park Service, 1992-1993.
This study was designed to support development of a General Management Plan for this new unit of the National Park system. A survey of visitors was conducted focusing on visitor characteristics and use patterns, crowding related issues, and attitudes toward alternative management practices.

Development and Application of the Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP) Framework for the U.S. National Park Service. U.S. National Park Service, 1991-1998.
This program of research focused on development and application of the Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP) framework, an approach for analyzing and applying carrying capacity in the National Park system. Initial work involved development of the VERP framework, a nine-step planning and management process. Subsequent work involved application of the framework to Arches National Park. Two visitor surveys were conducted, the first to help identity indicators of quality for the recreation experience, and the second to help formulate standards of quality for selected indicator variables. Study findings were adopted into a VERP or carrying capacity implementation plan for the park.

Social Science Research at Cape Cod National Seashore. U.S. National Park Service, 1992-1994.
This study was designed to assist in the development of a new General Management Plan for this park. Two surveys were conducted, one of a representative sample of park visitors, and the other of a representative sample of residents of surrounding communities. Issues addressed included visitor characteristics and use patterns, attitudes toward alternative park management practices, and perceived crowding.

Last modified April 17 2012 12:51 PM

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