Balancing Outdoor Recreation with Wildlife Conservation in Protected Lands

Outdoor recreation has provided a major impetus for land protection in the western U.S., and key conservation policies and funding initiatives are aimed at ensuring public access to protected areas. Yet, a growing body of research shows that rapidly increasing recreation activity may undermine the conservation goals of public lands, negatively affecting species, habitats, and ecosystem processes. What makes this paradox even more complicated is that most recreationists care deeply about the natural environment and the places where they recreate, but are often unaware of the impacts of their own activities. This talk will present key findings from a global systematic review of the effects of recreation on wildlife, discuss challenges that outdoor recreation poses to land managers, and propose strategies to balance public access with wildlife conservation in protected lands.

Dr. Sarah Reed is an Associate Conservation Scientist with the North America Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society and an Affiliate Faculty member in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University. Sarah’s research investigates how land development and human activities affect wildlife and biodiversity, and she works with communities and government agencies to apply ecological science to inform conservation planning and land-use policy. She currently serves as Vice President for Programs of the Society for Conservation Biology and co-leads the Conservation Development Working Group at the School of Global Environmental Sustainability.

Dr. Sarah Thomas is a research affiliate at the University of Colorado, Boulder and principal of Sarah Thomas Consulting, LLC. Her work over the past fifteen years has focused on the social, political, and policy drivers of land use change, particularly in the U.S. West, and on strategies to ensure healthy local communities and environments. She has taught undergraduate courses on environmental policy at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Colorado, Boulder. She currently is a Board Member for the Wildlands Restoration Volunteers.  
(Photo by S. Bombaci) 

Sarah and Sarah will also be presenting on Wednesday, February 8 at 5:30 at Carbondale's Third Street Center.

Tea, donated by Two Leaves and A Bud and Paradise Bakery cookies will be offered at both events.

Naturalist Nights are brought to you through a partnership between Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Wilderness Workshop, and Roaring Fork Audubon.


Thanks to our 2017 community sponsors for making it possible to film the Naturalist Nights series. Watch past presentations on our YouTube channel, here.







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