SORP 2020 Webinars:

Webinar: How the pandemic is changing outdoor recreation patterns

Wednesday, May 13, 2020
11am PDT, 2pm EDT


Over 1000 outdoor recreationists from the Leave No Trace community were surveyed in a 48-hour window from April 9-11, 2020. The results of this assessment are intended to provide valuable information for managing the changing recreational use of public lands, predicting spikes in recreation, and offering insight for land managers as they work to protect the natural world. Join a panel from Leave No Trace and Penn State University for a discussion on what this means for outdoor recreation management this summer and beyond.


Dr. Derrick Taff is an Assistant Professor in the Recreation, Park and Tourism Management Department at Penn State University. He has been working in, and conducting research in parks and protected areas for the past twenty years. His research strives to improve understanding of communication strategies aimed at influencing human and environmental health regarding parks and protected areas. 

Will Rice is a PhD candidate in the Recreation, Park and Tourism Management Department at Penn State University. His research focuses broadly on the provisioning of recreational ecosystem services in parks and protected areas. More specifically, he's interested in the personal and social outcomes demanded by wildland recreationists and developing tools to help measure and manage visitor demand for natural amenities. He has previously served as a ranger with National Park Service and a Directorate Fellow with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Dr. Peter Newman is Professor and Head of the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management in the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State University. He formerly served as the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University where he served on the faculty for 11 years. He co-leads a group of graduate students who make up the Protected Areas Research Collaborative (PARC). PARC trains MS/PhD students who focus on informing visitor management (soundscapes, visitor education, application and efficacy of Leave No Trace,  visitor flow, integrated transportation and visitor use management) in the context of protected areas management. Dr. Newman served as a National Park Service Ranger in Yosemite National Park from 1997-1999.

Ben Lawhon MS, joined the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics staff in 2001 where he serves as the Education Director. His current responsibilities include research, curriculum development, management of national education and training programs, agency relations, and oversight of national outreach efforts. Previously he worked as the Associate Regional Representative for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Asheville, North Carolina. While with ATC he was responsible for trail management, volunteer training, oversight of numerous regional programs and trail crews, and federal agency relationships.