Toward an integrated model of topical, spatial, and temporal scales of research inquiry in park visitor use management

Elizabeth E. Perry, Jennifer M. Thomsen, Ashley L. D'Antonio, Wayde C. Morse, Nathan P. Reigner, Yu Fai Leung, Jeremy Wimpey, B. Derrick Taff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Parks and protected areas (PPAs) are facing complex, transboundary, social, and ecological pressures, including those related to visitor use. Effective visitor use management (VUM) in PPAs requires interdisciplinary thinking across multiple spatial and temporal scales. Yet, the majority of this VUM research is short-term and occurs at relatively discrete spatial scales. A few existing frameworks and conceptual models used in VUM encourage thinking across scales. No single, interdisciplinary conceptual model exists, however, despite longstanding recognition of the need for one. This need was highlighted as a research priority by PPA and VUM subject area experts from across the U.S. at a workshop at Clemson University in 2018. This manuscript draws from the discussions at that workshop and addresses this recognized need. We propose and describe a single multi-scalar conceptual model that integrates topical areas in PPA VUM. Thoughtful, multi-scalar research that transcends disciplines is essential to address contemporary issues across VUM topics. The proposed model and the subsequent discussion are meant to serve as a catalyst for VUM researchers to begin considering both spatial and temporal scales in their PPA-based inquiries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6183
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Conservation social science
  • Multi-scalar
  • Protected area
  • Recreation
  • Scaling up
  • Social-ecological systems
  • Spatiotemporal
  • Systems management
  • Tourism
  • Visitor use management


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