Ken Cordell retired after a phenomenally productive 50+ year career. His planning assessments and research cover trends and futures of outdoor recreation, demographic and societal shifts, natural amenity migration and natural amenity values, and land planning and values, especially for protected parklands. He has produced five books, the latest entitled The Multiple Values of Wilderness. Up until his retirement he has served as the lead scientist for the U. S. National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, a survey begun by the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission in 1960. Ken has authored almost 360 scientific and other technical papers dealing with Americans’ relationship with their natural lands, for both national and international audiences. He is an international authority in his field.

Ken earned his PhD in Economics and Natural Resources Policy at N.C. State University. He has been recipient of the U. S. Forest Service national award as Distinguished Scientist of the Year and he has received 60 other awards over the course of his career. He is an elected fellow with the Academy of Leisure Sciences and has served on a variety of national and international committees and boards. For many years he was member of an elite, national team of scientists responsible for assessing the status and trends in the country’s forest and rangeland resources nationwide. He was also the lead scientist for the recreation, tourism, and nature values indicators for producing the 2010 and now the 2015 Nation’s Report as the U.S. contribution to the international Montreal Process.

He was selected to work with the President’s Council on Physical Health and Sports and with the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Group. He works actively as a citizen scientist on issues such as protection of Jekyll Island and conservation of rural forests and farmlands. In his previous professional affiliation he was a faculty member at North Carolina State University and currently holds adjunct professor status with Western Carolina University, Clemson University and the University of Georgia. He serves as a consultant to federal, state and local government agencies, to other countries, and to non-governmental organizations in public and other land planning nationwide.

Ken has been given Emeritus Scientist status and will continue his important work on protecting America’s wild lands with the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute. Ken can be reached via email at