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Clemson to Study Human Use of Parks, Protected Areas

CLEMSON — Clemson University faculty have established the Park Solutions Lab to study the social aspects and human dimensions of issues related to parks and protected areas. The lab will allow faculty to benefit from a physical space that will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of capturing data related to visitor use and human-environment interactions.

Wayne Freimund, chair of Clemson’s parks, recreation and tourism management department, said its increased research productivity in this area made a physical lab space a natural next step. Freimund’s own research interests lie in monitoring park visitor use and experience, so he is excited to see what advantages the lab provides to department faculty.

“The faculty members in our department concerned with this area of research are highly sought after for their knowledge and expertise and they have accomplished a great deal operating independently,” Freimund said. “We want to give them even more tools to collaborate and make Clemson a destination for the type of work that informs policy and practice in parks.”

The lab, located in Barre Hall, combines a meeting and teleconferencing room with a dedicated space for the computing power tailored to applications used in faculty research, including geographic information system (GIS) tracking.

GIS allows researchers to track the movement of park visitors from the time they leave home to the time they return home and all activities in between. All travel data to and from parks and movement related to activities such as hiking or biking contribute to representative sampling that extends results to a park’s larger population of visitors.

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