Current projects

Human-wildlife interactions in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from 2001-2020
Secondary datasets are used to determine human-wildlife conflict in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, as well as the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Visitor monitoring in Craters of the Moon National Monument
Observations, monitoring (TrafX trail and road counters), and analysis of secondary datasets are used to understand and plan for visitor use.

Transboundary visitor use monitoring in southern Utah
Using mobile positioning data secured from Streetlight© to identify travel patterns, displacement, origin-destination, and traffic volume. Also comparing these “big data” approaches with traditional monitoring to assess accuracy of both traffic pattern and demographic data.

National assessment of public night sky and natural darkness values
Identifying public values and perceived importance of night sky, natural darkness, and their conservation.

State of Utah 5-year Applied Angler Study
This research outlines an approach for informing the management of fisheries and angler in the state of Utah using survey-based research repeated every five years.

Passive visitor use data collection using flyers to inform management during COVID-19 pandemic
QR-Code based signs are used to collect demographic and risk perception information across Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, Shenandoah, and Acadia National Parks in during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Increased trail use and social distancing in a re-opening national park: A case study from Arches National Park
Using observational data to assess social distancing behaviors of visitors in relation to increased trail use.

Gateway and Natural Amenity Regions COVID-19 Community Response Network
Assisting GNAR communities in identifying unique challenges and opportunities related to the COVID-19 crisis.

Non-lead Ammunition Use in the Utah range of the California Condor
Surveys of hunters in the Utah range of the California Condor are used to inform a strategic communication framework to increase the use of non-lead ammunition.

Leave No Trace Outside the Park Boundaries: The role of Leave No Trace in environmentally responsible behaviors
Survey-based data is used to examine if increased engagement with the Leave No Trace program relates to increased environmentally responsible behaviors in everyday life.

Astrotourism to Utah’s dark sky parks
Survey research is used to estimate economic impacts and visitor experiences in national and state parks throughout Utah. Collaborators include Utah State Parks and the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division of the NPS.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Escalante District visitor recreation studies
This project integrates visitor use monitoring (e.g. GPS and trailcounter data), biophysical and cultural resource impacts from visitor use, and social science survey data to provide information that helps managers providing a range of recreation opportunities while preserving critical resources.

Exploring Distance-related Wildlife Behaviors in parks and protected areas
Lab-based virtual reality is used to explore distance-related wildlife behaviors among multiple wildlife species in diverse ecological settings.

Past projects

Coupling visitors and wildlife through experimental lighting in Grand Teton National Park
This collaborative project uses field-based experimental methods to alter light hue and intensity and examines the effects on both wildlife and visitor experiences of the night sky in Grand Teton National Park.

Communicating with ATV users about anadromous fish habitat in the Cook Inlet
This is a collaborative project with the US Fish and Wildlife Service through the Directorate Fellows Program (DFP). Working with the Alaska regional office in Anchorage, this project explores ATV user perceptions about stream crossings in sensitive habitat to improve communication strategies and conservation outcomes. This project includes the mentorship of a DFP participant.

Death Valley National Park Quiet Pavement Study
Visitor experiences related to the installation of quiet pavement technologies at Death Valley National Park are evaluated in this study through survey-based dose-response measures and stated choice modeling.

Visitor Use Management and Sustainable Tourism in the national parks of Panama
This project is a collaboration with Caminando and Colorado State University’s Center for Protected Area Management to inform public use plans designed to increase and sustainably manage domestic and international tourism in Panamá’s protected area system. Research is conducting in Camino de Cruces, Soberanía, Coiba, and Volcán Barú National Parks. This project also includes a capacity-building workshop for managers of protected areas in Panamá.

Exploring the relevancy of health parks, healthy people in US and Australian National Parks
This international collaboration focuses on exploring how the relevancy of health and well-being ecosystem services found in national parks differs among diverse groups of park visitors.

Denali National Park and Preserve Paleontological Resource Management Study
This study explores human dimensions and visitor use concepts related to paleontological resources (fossils) in wilderness settings on public lands using multi-method approaches (qualitative and quantitative).

Chinese Visitors to Grand Teton National Park: A Qualitative Study
This research uses interviews of both Chinese visitors and tour guides to understand the experiences, motivations, and decision making related to visiting Grand Teton National Park.

Denali National Park and Preserve: Developing acoustical overflight thresholds for frontcountry visitors
Visitor intercept surveys are used to develop quantitative thresholds related to overflights. We combined the survey results with acoustical monitoring to develop a model that shows the spatial distribution of social conditions in the frontcountry.

The Zero Landfill Initiative: Exploring attitudes, values, and behaviors regarding waste in Grand Teton, Yosemite, and Denali National Parks
This project is a partnership through Subaru of America, Leave No Trace, & the National Park Service that uses observation and survey-based methods to better understand how park managers can achieve waste management goals through effective educational and management strategies.

Grand Teton National Park: String and Leigh Lake Visitor Use and Experience
Multi-method approaches are used to explore the social and ecological impacts of visitor use in a congested region of the park.

Development of Visitor-based Acoustical and Night Sky Indicators and Standards
This research with the National Park Service’s Division of Natural Sounds and Night Skies includes lab and field-based research to develop peer-reviewed science that informs park management decision making on soundscape and night sky conservation.

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: Natural Gas Compressors on Public Lands
The social-ecological effects of sounds related to natural gas compressors on public lands are detailed in this state-sponsored research. Areas of inquiry include acoustical monitoring, spatially mapping noise distribution and levels on the landscape, documenting the ecological effects of noise, and relating noise to human health outcomes and experiences.

National Science Foundation: Sound as an Element in Coupled Human-Natural Systems
This interdisciplinary research project studies the interactions between natural and human systems as they are influenced by human-generated sound through analyses of the role of acoustics in affecting the number and diversity of birds and related human activity.

National Park Service Sounding Board Website
This joint project with the National Park Service, Penn State, and the Hiker Company focuses on educating and inspiring park managers and other interested groups about soundscapes.

Joint Fire Science Program Project: Firescapes in the Mid-Atlantic: Mismatches Between Social Perceptions and Prescribed Fire Use
Interdisciplinary project seeking to understanding public perceptions of prescribed fires and the ecological conditions resulting from them.

Jimmy Carter National Historic Site Visitor Use Study
Transportation planning, evaluation of visitor experiences, and motivations for visiting the site are the focus of this study.

Cross-cultural Park Benefits in Shenzhen, China
Collaborative project with partners from Jinan University in China exploring cross-culture perspectives of soundscape perceptions and management through both lab and field studies.

Glacier National Park Visitor Use Monitoring Project
Monitoring of visitor use related to trails, roads, and rivers is used to inform an adaptive management plan and provide basic social science data for an upcoming wilderness planning process. Also wrote the Environmental Impact Statement section on impacts to visitor experience.

Social Science Applications to Human-Bear Conflicts in the Wildland-Urban Interface
This project with Swan Valley Connections was designed to help undergraduate students in the Wildlife in the Westcourse understand what social science is and how it integrates into natural resource management. The focus of the research was on bear-safe food storage in the wildland-urban interface.

Yellowstone National Park Wildlife-Visitor Interactions
Evaluating and improving safety communications related to human-wildlife interactions (bison and grizzly bears) was the focus of this project.

Yellowstone National Park Social Media Exploratory Research
Investigating “virtual visitor” experiences through social media like Facebook helped inform and evaluate the social media strategies of park managers in this project.

Glacier National Park Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor Management Plan
A systems-thinking approach was applied to manage the most heavily used area of the park (Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor). Data collection related to recreation use/impacts, alternative transportation systems, adaptive management, and visitor experience.

Thinking Globally – Acting Locally: Enhancing Environmental Sustainability Through an Interactive Mobile Exhibit from Kenya to South Carolina
This research explored cross-cultural perspectives of sustainability and the environment in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya. Collaborators included several departments at Clemson University, as well as multiple universities in Kenya.

NOAA Sea Grant Aquaculture Program:Perceptions of Marine Aquaculture in Coastal Tourist Destinations in US Southeastern Region.
Coastal tourists’ perceptions regarding sustainable fishing practices in South Carolina were examined in this project.

Visitor Study at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary at the Francis Beidler Forest
The focus of this project was on soundscape qualities, recreational specialization, and birdwatchers.

Lighting Experiment Night Survey
This visitor use study in Acadia National Park detailed the effects of different lighting techniques on the visitor experience of night skies.

South Carolina Botanical Gardens Visitor Survey
Visitors’ recreation activities and knowledge regarding an affiliated non-profit organization were the focus of this study.