Dave Lime

Dave Lime was hired by Bob Lucas and Forest Service Research, in 1967, to work as a geographer on recreation issues in the forests around the Great Lakes. Although Dave initially studied auto-accessed campgrounds, he quickly turned his attention to the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness, where he studied recreation issues for more than 30 years. Dave received a BS in education from Ohio University in 1963, a MA in geography from the University of Pittsburgh in 1965, and a PhD in geography from the University of Pittsburgh in 1969. Shortly after Dave joined Forest Service Research in St. Paul, Bob Lucas moved to Missoula to lead the Wilderness Management Research Unit. From 1967 to 1987, Dave served as Project Leader and Research Social Scientist of the Forest Service's North Central Station Research Work Unit focused on river recreation management research. Dave left the Forest Service in 1987 for the University of Minnesota. He was a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Forest Resources and has been an Adjunct Professor in the departments of Landscape Architecture, Geography, and Recreation Park and Leisure Studies at the University of Minnesota. From 1989 until his retirement in 2000, Dave was Unit Leader of the University of Minnesota’s Cooperative Park Studies Unit (CPSU) of the National Park Service/USGS Biological Resources Division. He also was a staff member for the Tourism Center housed in the Minnesota Extension Service at the University.

A young Dave Lime carrying a canoe on his back through the forest. He has on a loose blue shirt, jean shorts, and red socks, as well as floppy hat.


A young Dave Lime rowing a canoe in 70s sunglasses and a floppy hat


Dave authored or co-authored more than 250 scientific publications. His research included a variety of issues focusing on human dimensions of natural resource management and planning including: visitor perception studies addressing scenic beauty, crowding/congestion, fee programs, and resource impacts; development of visitor use monitoring systems to describe use patterns and user characteristics; implementation and evaluation of continuing education programs for resource managers with outdoor recreation and tourism responsibilities; identification of leisure trend indicators and factors influencing trends; models to address recreational carrying capacity as well as developing monitoring strategies to assess critical resource and social indicators; and, development of strategies using GIS to aid social science monitoring efforts. He was a member of an interdisciplinary team that developed and tested the National Park Service planning framework, Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP). His research and work with land management agencies has covered a diversity of resource settings and administration types, including parks, forests, wilderness areas, wildlife refuges, rivers, lakes and reservoirs, coastal areas, research natural areas, and urban/suburban open space.

Throughout his career Dave was committed to challenging himself, other scientists, and practitioners to seek out and explore the practical application of findings from leisure research and other data gathering activities–-that research be relevant to solving real world problems and that scientists strive to communicate research findings to managers and policy makers in practical terms.
Dave’s premier contribution to wilderness science is probably his multi-decadal devotion to visitor research and management in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. He followed up on Bob Lucas’ seminal work on Boundary Waters visitors, studying their travel patterns and behaviors multiple times over the years—identifying trends, asking and addressing new questions. He worked closely with Boundary Waters managers, helping them successfully establish a limited-entry permit system, party-size limits, campsite selection criteria, and mandatory visitor education programs for visitors before entering the wilderness. Early on, he collaborated with George Stankey in better understanding and applying the concepts of recreation carrying capacity in wilderness and elsewhere. He worked to identify a wide array of effective visitor management techniques, suggesting with George Peterson the value of differentiating between direct and indirect management techniques and, with Dorothy Anderson and Theresa Wang, developing a handbook of management techniques. And, in working with the National Park Service on VERP, Dave collaborated with Bob Manning, Wayne Freimund, Dave Pitt and others on research that focused on a visual approach to studying respondents' acceptability to a range of conditions (e.g., crowding) that help measure standards of quality related to desired outdoor experiences. 

Dave received numerous awards, including the 1998 George B. Hartzog, Jr. Environmental Award for Research and Resource Management (at Clemson University), the 2000 National Park Service Citizen’s Star Award for Exceptional Service, the 2000 U.S. Geological Survey Citizen’s Award for Exceptional Service, and the 2002 National Recreation and Park Association Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Award for Excellence in Recreation and Park Research.
Dave Lime, now old, sitting in a camp chair in a red puffy coat in the forest.