5200 N Lake Rd, Merced, CA 95343

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Abstract

 Movement throughout the greater Yosemite National Park region is regularly disturbed by climate change-exacerbated events, from rockslides to wildfires. Regional transportation corridors navigate static and dynamic thresholds influenced by politico-legal, social, ecological, and economic factors across multiple spatial and temporal scales. This dissertation addresses three components influencing connectivity in this region, whose economic viability heavily depends on access to and from the park through just four main corridors. Madeline's mixed-methods research identifies factors leading to reduced resilience within regional transportation policy, including loss of valuable local knowledge when agencies outsource plan development. Her research highlights how parks of varying sizes and popularity experience consistent visitation during poor air quality, causing adverse impacts and reduced resilience. Her recently published work on displacement reveals that visitors choose to displace to other gates rather than disperse into gateway communities when some, but not all, of Yosemite's gates close- thereby condensing increasing numbers of vehicles and visitors into constrained, high wildfire risk corridors. Visitors maintain certain habits reflected in spending in gateway communities- with routine expenditures remaining stable and dynamic spending increasing. These findings significantly affect park management, gateway community engagement and economies, and emergency response. 

Biography

Madeline Brown graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Geography in 2011. She spent several years in the LiDAR industry, leading teams mapping high-voltage transmission lines in the US, Canada, and Australia. Madeline earned her Master's Certificate in Geographic Information Science and Technology at the University of Southern California in 2015. Madeline then worked as an Electric Utilities GIS Specialist at a local utility until joining the Jenkins Lab here at UC Merced in 2018. While at UC Merced, Madeline received fellowships from the National Forest Foundation, Save the Redwoods, and the National Science Foundation's Internet of Things for Precision Agriculture (IoT4Ag).

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