Will is Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation and Wildland Management in the Parks, Tourism, and Recreation Program and Department of Society and Conservation at the University of Montana. His research provides wildland recreation managers with social science to improve the experiences of all visitors while preserving the ecosystems that support those experiences. This agenda focuses broadly on improving measurement and management of demand for wildland recreation in parks and protected areas. Will’s research has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, National Geographic, NPR’s Science Friday and Planet Money, USA Today, and other international outlets. He has served as an invited lecturer of the National Academy of Sciences and represented the outdoor recreation research community as an invited witness providing testimony in a 2022 congressional hearing on visitor use management in U.S. national parks. Will previously served as a Directorate Fellow with the Alaska region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and as a trail crew member and ranger with the National Park Service in Wind Cave, Yellowstone, Cape Cod, the Missouri River, and Grand Canyon. He earned a PhD and M.S. from the Pennsylvania State University and a B.S. from Clemson University. In 2015, he became Clemson University’s first recipient of the Udall Scholarship.
“My research concerning Leave No Trace has ranged across understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted who visited parks and protected areas, how graphic design can influence visitors’ behavior, and how recreationists’ identities influence their practice of Leave No Trace behaviors”