TRC Alum at Work: Dr. Peter Pettengill

In March 2013, TRC faculty member Dr. Lisa Aultman-Hall visited TRC and RSENR alumni Dr. Peter Pettengill at Grand Canyon National Park, where he is now serving as an Outdoor Recreation Planner in Science & Resource Management for the National Park Service.  Pete received his PhD in Natural Resources under the direction of Dr. Robert Manning in 2013.  His dissertation was entitled: “Managing Transportation in Parks and Outdoor Recreation.”

Lisa was on a Utah and Arizona vacation during her research leave at the University of California Davis.  She was very interested to learn how Pete was putting skills honed at the RSENR Park Studies Lab and the TRC into his strategic planning work for the National Park Service.  In particular, Pete is striving for data-driven outdoor recreation planning and has been using infrared counters to measure pedestrian activity on trails in the park. Pete’s research will help inform Grand Canyon’s backcountry management plan which includes over 400 miles of trails as well as primitive road networks and remote car-camping destinations.  Pete maintains research interests in measuring and managing the quality of transportation and has recently been appointed an adjunct faculty member at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

 Lisa’s tour included numerous National Parks giving her even more appreciation for Dr. Manning and the Park Studies Lab and their efforts to measure carrying capacity and levels of experiential quality in recreation.  She observed several examples of NPS transit, biking and walking systems.  Grand Canyon Village and other National Park gateway communities shared common landscapes and transportation challenges with rural America including Vermont.


Pete and his wife Anna, a utility regulatory consultant, live in the remote Grand Canyon Village within the park.

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