Ben Lawhon

Ben Lawhon
Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

MS, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

About

36
Publications
6,665
Reads
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294
Citations

Publications

Publications (36)
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: While much research has examined the increase in outdoor recreation and those who began participating in outdoor recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic, to-date no published empirical research has examined perceived post-pandemic recreation participation among the latter group. Research Methods: Through a national panel survey of 902 res...
Article
This study describes a program developed with the coordination of four agencies to reconnect urban youth to nature by combining the best of each partner. Many urban youth are disconnected from nature. Recent studies show that youth only spend about 15-25 minutes daily outdoors recreating. Youth are now exposed to high-arousing stimuli from technolo...
Article
Improper food storage fuels human-bear conflicts in parks and protected areas around the globe. Bear-resistant food storage canisters provide an extremely effective solution for reducing food-related human-bear conflicts, especially for overnight visitors in backcountry settings. However, the success of this intervention depends on recreationists’...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has been proposed as a catalyst for many U.S. residents to reengage in outdoor recreation or engage in outdoor recreation for the first time. This manuscript describes the results of a representative U.S. national panel study aimed at better understanding the socio-demographic profile (gender, ethnicity, community type, income...
Article
Full-text available
The continued demand for outdoor recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic presents a challenge to park and protected area managers. Numerous strategies have been suggested to reduce the risk of transmission among outdoor recreationists; however, evaluations of acceptability of these strategies and their impacts on perceptions of visitor density have...
Preprint
Full-text available
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the United States, many residents began participating in outdoor recreation for the first time, or returned to outdoor recreation after a prolonged hiatus. During the first year of the pandemic, many parks in the U.S. experienced record visitation as overall park and protected area visitation increased across...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented disruption to daily life for large swaths of individuals and resulted in potentially widespread implications for individuals' health and wellbeing. This study utilized an online survey of avid outdoor recreationists to understand the psychosocial factors influencing recreationist behaviors during t...
Article
Full-text available
For nearly a century in the United States, visitor capacities have served as a means of preserving resources and the visitor experience on public lands. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in increased interest in implementing visitor capacities that could potentially limit use on public lands, suggesting a need to understand public support for their us...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered outdoor recreation behaviors in the United States for over one year. In an effort to continue gathering timely and relevant data on national outdoor recreation patterns, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and its academic partners, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Montana, conducted a f...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic presents not only a global health crisis but has also disrupted the daily lives of people around the world. From a leisure perspective, urban outdoor enthusiasts are one group particularly impacted by the pandemic and the subsequent institutional response. Stay-at-home orders and physical distancing recommendations serve as po...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter daily life and lead to changes in the way we spend time outside. In an effort to gather timely and relevant data on national recreation patterns, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and its academic partner, Pennsylvania State University, have been working to conduct a study that can offer guidance...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter daily life and lead to changes in the way we spend time outside. In an effort to gather timely and relevant data on national recreation patterns before, during, and after the pandemic, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and its academic partner, Pennsylvania State University, have been working to c...
Preprint
Full-text available
On March 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The pandemic is rapidly altering daily life and leading to changes in the way we spend time outside. In an effort to gather timely and relevant data on national recreation patterns, before, during, and after the pandemic, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoo...
Article
Full-text available
As protected land systems grow and develop in countries across the world, sustainability concerns arise alongside this growth. Specifically, increasing visitation to the US National Park System has resulted in new managerial concerns, one being the large amounts of waste produced by these visitors and how this waste is being disposed of. In respons...
Article
Full-text available
Policies mandate that managers at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument must balance recreational opportunities with a variety of resource management and utilization activities across a vast and diverse landscape containing numerous Wilderness Study Areas and other lands containing spectacular resources. This balancing act is stressed by incr...
Article
Policies mandate that managers at Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument must balance recreational opportunities with a variety of resource management and utilization activities across a vast and diverse landscape containing numerous Wilderness Study Areas and other lands containing spectacular resources. This balancing act is stressed by inc...
Article
This study examined variables hypothesized to influence behavioral intentions of visitors to frontcountry areas managed by the USDA Forest Service. Data were obtained over a stratified 12-month sampling period (n = 281). Analyses revealed that visitor attitudes toward perceived effectiveness of Leave No Trace practices and perceptions of difficulty...
Article
The diverse and omnipresent social media platforms in contemporary society have fundamentally changed the way people interact with their world. Parks and protected areas are no exception. Although outdoor recreation and tourism research has embraced social media from a utilitarian perspective, very few studies evaluate how social media influences v...
Article
Increasing visitor use in U.S. national parks leads to myriad challenges, one of which is the large amount of waste generated. In this research, visitors to three parks were surveyed to identify potential leverage points for communicating with visitors that may help increase desirable behaviors in visitors as part of the Zero Landfill Initiative (Z...
Article
Full-text available
The use and creation of undesignated recreational trails can lead to erosion, vegetation damage, unsafe trail conditions, and impacts to local wildlife. The mitigation of undesignated trail use is typically addressed indirectly through minimum-impact visitor education programs such as Leave No Trace, or directly through closures or sanctions. In th...
Preprint
Full-text available
There is rising concern that increases in visitor numbers could negatively affect natural resources within protected natural areas. This has raised questions regarding the effectiveness of indirect management strategies in reducing depreciative behaviors among visitors across different natural resource settings. Leave No Trace (LNT), which focuses...
Article
The use and creation of undesignated recreational trails can lead to erosion, vegetation damage, unsafe trail conditions, and impacts to local wildlife. The mitigation of undesignated trail use is typically addressed indirectly through minimum-impact visitor education programs such as Leave No Trace, or directly through closures or sanctions. In th...
Article
Full-text available
The authors explored the influences of a youth-focused Leave No Trace educational program on participants’ attitudes, behaviors, and nature connectedness. The study employed an experimental, equivalent control-group design and included survey and direct observation measures. Pretest and posttest surveys provided self-report measures of attitudes an...
Article
Full-text available
There is rising concern that increases in visitor numbers could negatively affect natural resources within protected natural areas. This has raised questions regarding the effectiveness of indirect management strategies in reducing depreciative behaviors among visitors across different natural resource settings. Leave No Trace (LNT), which focuses...
Article
Impact to protected area resources due to uninformed or depreciative visitor behavior continues to be a principal concern for managers. Leave No Trace (LNT) is a prevalent educational strategy for mitigating such impacts. Through on-site surveys, this study examined frontcountry visitor attitudes toward Leave No Trace (LNT) practices, and self-repo...
Article
Full-text available
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics developed the Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids (PEAK) program to teach children the seven Leave No Trace principles. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the PEAK program. A significant increase was found between the pre-test (M = 3.41, SD = .34) and the post-test (M = 3....
Article
Leave No Trace is the most prominent educational message used to influence behaviors of protected-areas visitors with the end-goal of sustaining or improving resource conditions. The vast majority of previous research regarding Leave No Trace has focused on backcountry-overnight visitors. However, by sheer numbers alone, day-users are by far the la...
Article
Full-text available
Resource degradation resulting from visitor behavior continues to be a significant concern for land managers, and effective educational messages such as those promoted through Leave No Trace, which target depreciative behaviors, are imperative. This study examined psychological and knowledge variables that were hypothesized to influence future Leav...
Article
As a result of the increased interest in nontraditional activities, such as mountain biking and backpacking, many public schools are incorporating outdoor education into their curriculum. However, little attention has been given to educating students about the impacts that outdoor activities can have on the environment. It is important that schools...

Projects

Project (1)
Project
Determine how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the behaviors, preferences, and attitudes of outdoor recreationists to improve public land management using national survey and activity data.