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Faculty and Staff Profile

Matthew Brownlee

Assistant Professor of Parks and Conservation Area Management
Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Office: 298 Lehotsky Hall
Phone: 864-656-3744

 Educational Background

Ph.D. Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management
Clemson University 2012

M.S. Recreation Administration
Aurora University 2004

B.S. Outdoor Education
Northland College 1999

 Courses Taught

PRTM 3220 Recreation Policy
PRTM 4310 Methods of Environmental Interpretation


Dr. Brownlee is an Assistant Professor of Parks and Conservation Area Management in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management. Dr. Brownlee’s inter-disciplinary research links outdoor recreation, park planning, and resource management. His applied research provides information to help park and protected area professionals manage visitor experiences while evaluating the reciprocal linkages in complex social-ecological systems (SES). Within parks and the SES context, Matt examines numerous phenomena and issues, including a) park visitor behavior and park capacity, b) people’s interactions with and attachments to climate-sensitive and climate-impacted environments, and c) the dynamics of complex social-ecological systems. Dr. Brownlee specializes in mixed-methods research design and advanced analytical tools, specifically related to applied social science research in parks and protected areas. He often uses methods that transcend traditional concentration areas and degrees, including advanced quantitative modeling, experience sampling, social network analysis, cognitive mapping, GPS tracking, GIS applications, and participant employed photography. Dr. Brownlee maintains particular expertise in methods related to the Interagency Visitor Use Management Framework (2016), Structural Equation Modeling, and advanced quantitative methods used in applied research. Matt has current or past projects with several federal and state agencies, including the U.S. National Park Service, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Utah State Parks. These projects involve addressing complex management issues across diverse protected areas, including but not limited to Katmai National Park & Preserve (AK), Lake Clark National Park & Preserve (AK), Kenai Fjords National Park (AK), Denali National Park & Preserve (AK), Buffalo National River (AR), Cumberland Island National Seashore (GA), the Bonneville Salt Flats (UT), and Theodore Roosevelt National Park (ND). Internationally, Matt has conducted research with Parques Nacionales Naturales in Colombia on the island of Providencia. Dr. Brownlee’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, federal and state land management agencies, and private foundations. One of Matt's greatest joys is working closely with graduate and undergraduate students through applied research. During this process, Matt and his students work collaboratively to address a critical management need in addition to unanswered academic questions. When not conducting research or teaching in beautiful Clemson, South Carolina, Matt loves spending time with his wife Mindy and his two children, Caroline and Lexington. Matt enjoys hunting, fishing, traveling, and community events, including, of course, Clemson University Football.

 Research Interests

Visitor use management in parks and protected areas; human dimensions of natural resource management; social-ecological systems; methods and measurement in applied social research

 Research Publications

Gatti, E., Brownlee, M., & Bricker, K. (in press). Human dimensions of winter use in Yellowstone National Park: A research gap analysis. Park Science.

Verbos, R., Altschuler, B., & Brownlee, M. (2017). Weather studies in outdoor recreation and nature-based tourism: A research synthesis and gap analysis. Leisure Sciences.

Verbos, R., & Brownlee, M. (2017). A weather-dependency framework for outdoor recreation activities. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, 18, 88-99.

Brownlee, M., Rose, J., & Bricker, K. (2016). Illegal marijuana production on U.S. federal lands: Managers’ perceptions of a common pool resource issue. Society and Natural Resources, 29(2), 185-202.

Zajchowski, C., & Brownlee, M. (2016). Decreasing degrees of freedom: Ethical recreation in a changing climate. River Management Society Journal, 28 (4), 10-11.

Zajchowski, C., Brownlee, M., & Furman, N. (2016). Rx: Heuristic processing in outdoor adventure education. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership, 8(2), 118-134.

Dustin, D., Bricker, K., Brownlee, M., & Schwab, K. (2016). Lessons from the Legends: A content analysis of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration’s Legends videos. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 34(2), 106-115.

Sgalitzer, H., Brownlee, M., Zajchowski, C., Bricker, K., & Powell, R. (2016). Modeling travelers’ philanthropy: Understanding tourists’ motivations to donate at Sweetwater Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Journal of Ecotourism, 15(1), 1-20.

Dustin, D., Bricker, K., Negley, S., Brownlee, M., Schwab, K., & Lundberg, N. (Eds.) (2015). This Land is Your Land: Toward a Better Understanding Nature’s Resiliency-Building and Restorative Power for Armed Forces Personnel, Veterans, and their Families. Urbana, IL: Sagamore Publishing.

Dustin, D., Bricker, K., Negley, S., Brownlee, M., Schwab, K., & Lundberg, N. (2015). Chapter 21: Where do we go from here? In This Land is Your Land: Toward a Better Understanding Nature’s Resiliency-Building and Restorative Power for Armed Forces Personnel, Veterans, and their Families. Dustin, D., K. Bricker, S. Negley, M. Brownlee, K. Schwab, & N. Lundberg. Urbana, IL: Sagamore Publishing.

Brownlee, M. (2015). Parks and protected areas: A platform for adventure activities. Pages 53-68: Chapter 3. In Adventure Programming and Travel for the 21st Century, Bricker, K. & R. Black (Eds.). State College, PA: Venture Publishing.

Brownlee, M. & Verbos, R. (2015). Measuring outdoor recreationists' beliefs in climate change: Testing the Occurrence and Anthropogenic Causation scales. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, 11, 1-12.

Altschuler, B., & Brownlee, M. (2015). Local stakeholders’ perceptions of climate change on the Island of Providencia, Colombia. Local Environment, 21(5), 615-635.

Verbos, R., Brownlee, M., & Skibins, J. (2015). Understanding visitors’ commitment to grizzly bear conservation at Denali National Park and Preserve. Alaska Park Science, 14(1), 60-69.

Brownlee, M., Hallo, J., Jodice, L., Moore, D., Powell, R., & Wright (2015). Place attachment and marine recreationists’ attitudes towards offshore wind energy development. Journal of Leisure Research, 47(2), 263-284.

Beeco, J.A., Hallo, J., & Brownlee, M. (2014). GPS visitor tracking and recreation suitability mapping: Tools for understanding and management visitor use. Landscape and Urban Planning, 127, 136-145.

Brownlee, M., Hallo, J., Moore, D., Powell, R., & Wright, B. (2014). Lake recreationists’ attitudes towards water conservation: The influence of place attachment, awareness of drought impacts, and beliefs in climate change. Society and Natural Resources, 27 (9), 964-982.

Brownlee, M., Hallo, J., Wright, B., Moore, D., & Powell, R. (2013). Visiting a climate influenced National Park: The stability of climate change perceptions. Environmental Management, 52(5), 1132-1148.

Brownlee, M., & Hallo, J. (2013). Motivations to visit designated wilderness at Cumberland Island National Seashore. The International Journal of Wilderness, 19(1), 34-40.

Brownlee, M., Hallo, J., & Krohn, B. (2013). Botanical garden visitors’ perceptions of local climate impacts: Awareness, concern, and behavioral responses. Managing Leisure, 18(2), 97-117.

Brownlee, M., Powell, B., & Hallo, J. (2013). Understanding foundational processes that influence beliefs in climate change: Opportunities for environmental education research. Environmental Education Research, 19(1), 1-22.

McKay, A., Brownlee, M., & Hallo, J. (2012). Changes in visitors’ focus on the environment at Congaree National Park. Journal of Leisure Research, 44(2), 179-200.

Powell, R., Brownlee, M., Kellert, S., & Ham, S. (2012). From awe to satisfaction: Immediate affective responses to the Antarctic tourism experience. Polar Record, 48(2), 145-156.

Brownlee, M., & Hallo, J. (2012). Climate change segmentation groups at Kenai Fjords National Park: Insight into visitors’ perceptions. Alaska Park Science, 10(2), 18-21.

Brownlee, M., & Leong, K. (2011). Climate change, management decisions, and the visitor experience: The role of social science research. Park Science, 28(2), 21-25.

 Honors and Awards

Funded current or completed projects since 2015:

Evaluation of the relationship between current conditions, travel patterns, visitor thresholds, and ferry services at Cumberland Island National Seashore. U.S. National Park Service. (Co-PI)

Analysis of visitor estimation procedures at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation sites. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. (PI)

Research to evaluate visitor use distributions, impacts, crowding, and conflicting use at multi-use sites in Katmai National Park & Preserve and Lake Clark National Park & Preserve. U.S. National Park Service. (Co-PI)

Research to inform park planning and visitor use management at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. U.S. National Park Service. (Co-PI)

NSF-CNH: Adaptation, Mitigation, and Biophysical Feedbacks in the Changing Bonneville Salt Flats. National Science Foundation. (Co-PI)

Towards a better understanding of nature’s resiliency-building and restorative power for Armed Forces personnel, veterans, and their families. The Kendeda Fund. (Co-PI)

Temporal and spatial distributions of visitor use and associated impacts on natural and social conditions at Buffalo National River. U.S. National Park Service. (Co-PI)

Research to support urban outreach strategies: Timpanogos Cave National Monument. U.S. National Park Service. (PI)

Wasatch Front Wilderness Stewardship: Assessing and monitoring opportunities for solitude. U.S.D.A. Forest Service. (Co-PI)

A Comprehensive Survey of OHV Riders in Utah: Benefits Based Analysis and Economic Impact. Utah Department of Natural Resources. (PI)


Clemson University Institute for Parks