One of the benefits of being a researcher is occasionally getting to work in amazing locations as part of your job. Recently, Xiao Xiao, of the Park Studies Lab, and Nathan Reigner who is the Associate Director of the Park Studies Lab worked in one of the most spectacular National Parks in the country.
The purpose of their trip was to install and calibrate instruments that would record the density of recreation use in the Tuweep area of the Grand Canyon. The instruments are designed to capture how many vehicles travel through the area. There were four separate counters spread around the Tuweep area. This area is one of the most remote access points to the Grand Canyon and a limit of just 30 vehicles and 85 pedestrians are allowed within the Tuweep area per day.
The researchers are conducting this project with the support of the National Park Service and the Federal Highway Administration. The research is part of a bigger program call the Transportation Recreation Opportunity Spectrum, or T-ROS. This program helps parks to better plan for transportation in parks and public lands. Funding for the program is provided through the Federal Lands Highway, an organization that is part of the Federal Highway Administration.
The instruments will remain in the park for several months collecting data and there are plans for future research including a visitor survey in the fall.