Friday, 02 December 2016
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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why does NOLS conduct research?

  1. To establish for NOLS the credibility and reputation associated with the lead mission role in wilderness education.
  2. To make more visible to wilderness researchers, wilderness managers, and the general public our commitment to the wilderness and to excellence and innovation in wilderness education.
  3. To extend our contribution to the art and science of wilderness education through active, creative, and vigorous presentation of our research findings. In addition, the department is involved in the practical application of these findings through cooperative applied research projects with wilderness management agencies.

Q. What is the history of research at NOLS?

A. As an outgrowth of its educational wilderness expeditions, NOLS became involved in wilderness research in the 1980s. During this time, the school hosted several forums that brought users, researchers and educators together in the backcountry to discuss impacts and use. In 1990, NOLS formed a research department guided by a scientist and overseen by an advisory board of leading authorities in wilderness research. Research at NOLS has grown from pioneering studies in recreation ecology to include examinations of the benefits of wilderness education and studies of risk management, human health and nutrition.

Q. What are some of the ongoing research projects at NOLS?

A. The Wilderness Education and Health and Risk pages of this website include recent NOLS research publications.

Q. What are the research goals for NOLS in the future?

A. We are working on defining goals based on the NOLS 2020 Strategic Plan including building and testing curricula that will enable NOLS students to reach the goals outlined in the NOLS Learning Goals and Objectives document.

Q. Does NOLS Research collaborate with other agencies?

A. Yes. Here is a list of some of our research partners:

Alaska Pacific University
Brigham Young University 
Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Chugach National Forest
California Polytechnic State University 
Colorado State University
Ferris State University
Grand Teton National Park
Griffith University, Center for Ecotourism Research
Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center
Gwaii Haanas National Park
Indiana University
Loreto Bay National Park, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Missoula Technology and Development Center, US Forest Service
Mount Rainier National Park
National Park Service, AK Region 
National Weather Service Lightning Safety Team
Shoshone/Bridger-Teton National Forest
Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research
The Nature Conservancy Colorado
The Nature Conservancy Wyoming
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Universidad Autonoma de Baja CA Sur, Mexico
University of Utah
USGS in Alaska
US Naval Academy
Washington University, Saint Louis
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality
Wyoming Game & Fish Dept. (Large Carnivore Mgmt)

Q. How can I get more information about NOLS Research?

A. Contact us at: or call 307-332-8800

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