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UW Student Jonathan Bowler Receives First Kemmerer Graduate Fellowship

October 1, 2014
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Jonathan Bowler’s research will lead to recommendations that could help agencies coordinate recreational management to improve the public’s recreational experiences along a stretch of the Green River from Flaming Gorge Dam to Lake Powell.

University of Wyoming student Jonathan Bowler of Pittsburgh, Pa., is the recipient of the first John L. Kemmerer Jr. Graduate Fellowship, a new endowed award to recognize and support outstanding students in the UW Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources.

The Kemmerer family, whose origins in the state date back to coal mining in the city of Kemmerer in the 1890s, endowed the fellowship, with matching funds from the state of Wyoming, to support interdisciplinary graduate studies in environment and natural resources fields.

Bowler is pursuing triple Master of Science degrees in planning, water resources, and environment and natural resources. His research will analyze the administrative policies along a 456-mile-long uninterrupted stretch of the Green River from Flaming Gorge Dam to Lake Powell.

Nicknamed the Powell Trip, in honor of John Wesley Powell’s 1869 expedition, this stretch is legendary among boaters. It winds through red desert sandstone, linking up one of the longest continuous river trips in the United States. Despite the allure it has for river runners, few people experience the full journey. The river permits are difficult for boaters to piece together due to inconsistent policies from the five different agencies managing the river. Bowler’s research will lead to recommendations that could help these agencies coordinate recreational management to improve the public’s recreational experience.

The Kemmerer Fellowship supports Bowler’s interdisciplinary research. The Kemmerers created the fellowship to help particularly ambitious students pursue meaningful graduate research. The family hopes the fellowship will lead to improved understanding and management of natural resources, including recreation and tourism, in the West.

“We’re interested in the ways the Haub School trains students to work on environment and natural resources issues, by bringing together students from different academic backgrounds and exposing them to actual challenges and the professionals who are working on those challenges,” says Jay Kemmerer, trustee of the Kemmerer Family Foundation. “We look forward to seeing some of the trail-blazing work from UW students this fellowship will underwrite.”

Bowler’s thesis project is titled “Place Dependence and the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum: Moving Towards Collaborative Interagency River Recreation Management on the Green River in Utah.” His research integrates a review of administrative policies for recreation permits and an analysis of resource management plans along the river. He will gather information by conducting a GIS map analysis of land ownership and management infrastructure; surveying recreational boaters about current use of the river and interest in future use; and calculating carrying capacity for the Uintah Basin stretch of the river following the U.S. Forest Service’s Recreation Opportunity Spectrum.

The project is timely, Bowler says, because of the increasing public interest in floating the river and because upcoming Resource Management Plan revision processes along the river will open the door for updating recreation management policies.

“The Kemmerer Fellowship has made a world of resources available, allowing me to take my research to new heights,” Bowler says. “The Haub School’s focus on interdisciplinary approaches to environmental problem solving introduced me to a broader base of understanding in my field of river recreation management and expanded my academic community. The Kemmerer Fellowship made this possible, and I am excited for the opportunity to extend my research in ways that were not previously possible.”

“The Kemmerer Fellowship provides critical support for innovative research that can have a real, on-the-ground influence on environmental and natural resource management decisions in the West,” says Courtney Carlson, associate director of the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources academic programs. “Jon’s work exemplifies the kind of applied, interdisciplinary problem solving approaches the Haub School likes to foster.”

Through interdisciplinary problem solving, the UW Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources gives students the skills and tools to build sound, innovative, lasting solutions to complex environmental and natural resource challenges.

For more information, contact Emilene Ostlind, Haub School communications coordinator, at or (307) 766-2604.

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