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SENR Well Represented at Pathways Conference

Oct. 28, 2014

SENR Well Represented at Pathways Conference

Faculty and graduate students from the SENR recently attended and presented talks at the Pathways 2014 Conference: Common Futures, which was held in Estes Park, Colorado, October 5 – 9.  The conference brings together researchers, managers, and practitioners from more than 23 countries to address issues that arise as people and wildlife struggle to coexist in a sustainable and healthy manner.  The conference held every other year seeks to increase professionalism and effectiveness in the human dimensions of fisheries and wildlife management field.

Representing SENR and presenting their research in a variety of thematic sessions at this year’s conference: 
  • Jeremy Bruskotter, associate professor, “Americans’ Attitudes toward Wildlife: 1978-2014” in Toward Socially Acceptable Carnivore management
  • Jeremy Bruskotter, associate professor (for Gabe Karns, postdoctoral researcher), “Explaining Hunting Participation: A Story of Changing Land Use and New Technology” in Hunting: Participation, Retention & Recruitment
  • Alia Dietsch, assistant professor, “Understanding Urban Audiences” in Partnerships and the City: Connecting Urban Residents to Wildlife and Nature
  • Alia Dietsch, assistant professor, “Applying an adaptive management framework to non-compliance with natural resource regulations: A case study of the U.S. National Park Service” in Non-Compliance Issues
  • Adam Pettis, graduate student “Alternative Food Attitudes and Support for Hunting” in Hunting: Public Support
  • Kristina Slagle, graduate student, “Attitudes toward predator control in the United States,” in Toward Socially Acceptable Carnivore Management

An elk in the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP)

Elk are highly valued for diverse recreation opportunities, such as wildlife-viewing and trophy or subsistence hunting. However, elk are not legally allowed to be hunted in RMNP. This lack of hunting pressure, in addition to the long-term absence of a top carnivore (the wolf) in RMNP, has led to an overabundance of elk and adverse impacts on vegetation—especially aspen. Many of the park’s aspen groves have had to be fenced off from elk browsing. Residents of the nearby “gateway community” of Estes Park have also been impacted by the high numbers of elk through damage to property, vegetation, and even cars in what are referred to as elk “traffic jams”. Interest in viewing elk tends to peak during the fall rutting season, when bull (male) elk fight over breeding rights and bugle of their battles. Estes Park holds an annual “Elk Fest” every fall in celebration of this highly-valued species. This year’s event took place the weekend (Oct. 3-4) before the 2014 Pathways conference.
Photograph by Jeremy Bruskotter.
Sources:  Jeremy Bruskotter and Alia Dietsch
October 2014