Latest Park Break Perspectives paper: a social science needs assessment

We have just published the thirteenth paper in our Park Break Perspectives Series.  The series is a set of web-based research papers and essays produced by graduate students who have taken part on the GWS's Park Break program.  The papers were developed in consultation with faculty members, park scientists, and other park professionals.  Park Break Perspectives offers fresh looks at perennial and emerging issues through the eyes of up-and-coming scholars — the next generation of park leaders.

The newest addition to the series is "Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve: A Social Science Needs Assessment," co-authored by Kaitlin Burroughs, North Carolina State University; Janae Davis, University of South Carolina; Tian Guo, North Carolina State University; Peter J. Mkumbo, Clemson University; Ojetunde Ojewola, University of Missouri; Aleksandra N. Pitt, Colorado State University; Robert Powell, Clemson University; Ryan Sharp, Kansas State University; Geoffrey Riungu, Clemson University; and Rose I. Verbos, University of Utah. 

The paper originated in a Park Break session held in October 2015 hosted by the National Park Service Social Science Program and Great Sand Dunes.  This session, the first-ever Park Break to focus on social science, filled a gap in the park's knowledge base by identifying management topics to which social science research could contribute.  Through analysis of interviews with park staff and focus groups with community stakeholders, the Park Break team identified research needs in three areas: park visitors and experiences; relevance, diversity, and inclusion; and natural resources.