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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 8, 2011

U.S. Forest Service Researcher honored with National Outdoor Leadership School's Stewardship Award

David Cole
David Cole

MISSOULA, Mont. - U.S. Forest Service Research Geographer David Cole was recently presented with the National Outdoor Leadership School's (NOLS) Stewardship Award, presented annually to "an individual who has exhibited exceptional stewardship of public lands and the environment." The citation noted David's pioneering work in recreation ecology, which forms the foundation for much of the "Leave No Trace" education program, and his co-authorship of Soft Paths; Using the Wilderness without Harming It, the first book on Leave No Trace practices, just published in its fourth edition. Using these tools, many thousands of people every year are informed about wildland ethics and appropriate use by NOLS, other educational groups and land management agencies around the world.

"This is really an impressive award, well deserved, and a tribute to David's dedicated career to wilderness research," said Mike Schwartz, acting director for the Rocky Mountain Research Station's Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute.

Cole received his Ph.D. in geography at the University of Oregon in 1977. He has a long history in wilderness management research that began in 1978 as a research ecologist and project leader. He has been with the Institute in Missoula as a research geographer since 1993.

Cole has conducted extensive research over the years looking at recreation impacts on the environment, wilderness visitors, related particularly to visitor education and factors that influence the quality of visitors' experiences, and threats to wilderness ecosystems, other than recreation use. His has written about the stewardship of park and wilderness ecosystems including, the multi-faceted concept of naturalness that often means different things to different people, rapid environmental changes, and ecological integrity and resilience. Cole is credited with over 200 publications since 1979.

You can read more about Cole and the Institute at www.leopold.wilderness.net.

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