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Leadership Training

El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico


Gary E. Everhardt Park Break Program

Sustainable and Resilient Community-based Tourism

El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

Dates: May 14-22, 2022

The opportunity:

The Institute for Parks at Clemson University, the George Wright Society, and US National Forest Service announce an exciting opportunity for graduate students. Applications are being accepted for participation in a sustainable community-based tourism planning program in El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico. The objective of this program is for students to identify community assets that would provide opportunities for sustainable and resilient community-based tourism that will effectively distribute visitation and the economic benefits of tourism.  The results of this effort will integrate into planning across a diverse regional landscape as well as for El Yunque National Forest. 


El Yunqe National Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the US National Forest system, has an array of historical, cultural, and natural assets including a range of tourism facilities in the surrounding gateway communities. However due to recent storms and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the tourism economy of Puerto Rico, it is unclear what assets are currently viable and what the market will support post-Covid-19. This Everhardt Park Break program will conduct a feasibility study identifying potential tourism assets in the immediate region of El Yunque National Forest and build off prior work focused on market analysis and visitation. This assessment will be grounded in sound business planning practices, while also incorporating the values of the local communities, and will include identifying potential implementation projects with an eye toward a sustainable revenue model.


What is included?

Park Break is an all-expenses-paid, park-based service-learning program for graduate students who are thinking about a career in park management or park-related research and education. Park Break participants immerse themselves for five to seven days of field activities in close collaboration with scientists and scholars, managers and administrators, and partner organizations to produce a meaningful product for the host-park/protected area.


Qualifications and Eligibility

Because complex issues require an interdisciplinary approach, we are seeking a diverse group of s graduate students (Ph.D. or Master’s level) with diverse perspectives and skills including those studying in fields related to tourism, ecotourism, planning, economic development, stakeholder involvement, business management, marketing, social media, environmental management, natural resource management, and parks and protected areas management.

Clemson University Institute for Parks
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