Regional Visitor Use Management—Park Break

Joshua Tree National Park & Death Valley National Park February 25 – March 3, 2018


What is the Regional Visitor Use Management — Park Break 2018?

Park Break (Park Break) is an all-expenses paid, field-based service learning opportunity for graduate students (Ph.D. or Master’s level) who are studying in fields related to parks, protected areas, and cultural sites. We are also interested in students with an interest and/or understanding in protected area policy, ecology, communications (including social media), and marketing.


The George Wright Society, National Park Service and Kansas State university are now accepting applications for participation in the 2018 visitor use management focused Park Break Program at Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park (JOTR/DEVA).


Key objectives of this program:

  • Learn, prioritize and apply a variety of applied visitor use management methods that facilitate appropriate visitor
  • Investigate attitudes and travel patterns in JOTR/DEVA, and how these results integrate into planning across a diverse regional
    • Regional planning focus to understand how actions in one park may or may not impact visitation patterns other parks or adjacent
      • Students will likely have the opportunity to collect data that will be integrated in JOTR/

DEVA planning efforts.

  • Several Park Break alums have been hired by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. Other Park Break alums have embarked on Ph.D. programs. Park Break makes you and your skills visible!

What are the details of Park Break 2018?

Responding to dramatic changes in visitation throughout the Mojave Desert, the park units are in various stages of visitor use management planning, and have initiated collections of visitor use and social science information. As part of this program, students will be introduced to protected area management issues and questions that exist in relation to resource protection and visitor experience, and how visitor use information can inform coordinated visitor use management planning in the future across the landscape. Additionally, the role of communication and social media strategies for protected area management will be explored.


Where: Joshua Tree National Park & Death Vally National Park

When: February 25 to March 3, 2018

Who: Eight to 10 high performing and diverse graduate students will be selected. These students will have a demonstrated interest and experience in the role of parks and public lands.

How to apply: Please submit your online application and statement detailing your enthusiasm, skills,

and career goals. Visit to learn more about the opportunity.

Application link:

Deadline to apply: December 4, 2017


What’s expected of me?

Park Break is not just about a week in a park — it’s intended to create an ongoing community of motivated early-career professionals. Aside from activities outlined above, Park Break students are expected to review a collection of background material prior to their arrival. Once onsite students will attend and participate in a variety of seminars and outdoor activities to inform and inspire the development of a tool for parks and their staff.


What is included?

Park Break is an all-expenses-paid, park-based field seminar for graduate students who are thinking about a career in park management or park-related research and education. Park Break participants stay in a national park unit(s) for five to seven days of field and classroom activities in close collaboration with park scientists and scholars, managers and administrators, and partner



For more information, please contact:

Ryan L. Sharp, Ph.D.

Park Management and Conservation

Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources Kansas State University