Wilderness Management Research Unit in Missoula, Montana. David received a B.A. degree from the University of California at Berkeley (in 1972) and a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon (in 1977)—both in geography. David joined the Wilderness Management Research Unit in the summer of 1978, where he began work focused particularly on the ecological impacts of recreation use in wilderness. He worked there for 35 years. David was on temporary assignment to the Forest Service from 1978 to 1982. From 1982 to 1987, he worked as a private wilderness researcher with Systems for Environmental Management but maintained an office with the Wilderness Management Research Unit in Missoula. He was hired permanently by the Forest Service in 1987. David was project leader, succeeding Bob Lucas, from 1987 until 1993, when the unit morphed into the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute. He retired at the end of 2012. David’s most significant contribution may have been his organization of the field of recreation ecology into a coherent discipline. In the late 1970's, the field was still characterized by numerous disparate studies that did not build on each other. David’s first assignment was to compile existing research and synthesize the results. Products of this effort included an annotated bibliography, numerous review articles, a chapter on managing ecological impacts in Wilderness Management and the first textbook on recreation ecology.
from the Forest Service, the Natural Resource Achievement Award from the George Wright Society, the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Award for Excellence in Recreation and Park Research from the National Recreation and Park Association and the Annual Stewardship Award from the National Outdoor Leadership School.