Research Groups


Nature, Culture, and Parks Research Group (ISU)

The History of Adventure Outdoor Recreation in Grand Teton National Park, WY

This multiple year, grant funded, collaborative, and trans-disciplinary project seeks to document and interpret the social, cultural, and environmental history of outdoor recreation in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.  Specifically we are tracing the history of commercial Upper Snake River guides, NPS river rangers, and NPS Jenny Lake Climbing and Mountaineering Rangers from the 1950s to today.  This work involves an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students at Idaho State University working in partnership with cultural resources and museum departments at Grand Teton National Park and with the community of river runners and mountaineers in Jackson, Wyoming.  This work is made possible through a partnership with the U.S. National Park Service, Idaho State University,  and the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU) national network. The project provides real world and applied research experience for undergraduate and graduate students at ISU.  We are gathering and transcribing oral histories of pioneer river runners, river rangers, and mountaineering rangers to document this important history as well as digitizing photographs and documents related to this history.  Additional research is based in archival photographs and documents, repeat photography of historic park landscapes, and field work.  

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NSF EPSCOR Managing Idaho’s Landscapes for Ecosystem Services (MILES) project

Cultural and Recreational Ecosystem Services of the Portneuf River, Idaho

As part of a university and state-wide group of faculty, students, city and state personnel and environmental researchers, this research group seeks to better understand and interpret the social and cultural values of recreation, tourism, and parks for ecosystem services along the Portneuf River in Pocatello, Idaho.  Project results include GIS based Story Maps that pull on social science methods to visualize community input and the cultural geography of recreation on and along the Portneuf River, repeat photography photo sets, social surveys of visitor use and perception of the river, and K-12 teacher training modules. 

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