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Horticulture and Natural Resources

Dr. Ryan Sharp

Dr. Ryan Sharp

Associate Professor

Park Management & Conservation | Applied Park Science Lab

Kansas State University
1608 Throckmorton PSC
1712 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66506

Ph: +1-785-532-1665
Fx: +1-785-532-6949

Biography & Education


Dr. Sharp was born in Virginia, but raised in Syracuse, New York. He spent his youth exploring the countryside of rural upstate New York and developing a love of parks and protected areas. His father, an earth science teacher, would take him to National Parks and National Forest during the summer to hike and camp. These trips planted the seed for his ultimate choice of professions, to teach and conduct research related to parks and protected areas.

Dr. Sharp has held positions at Acadia National Park in Maine and as a visitor use specialist with the National Park Service Denver Planning Division. These experiences have informed his research and teaching and have allowed him to provide students with an inside look at park and protected area management.

Dr. Sharp strives to encourage students to expand their thought processes and help them develop critical thinking skills. Helping the student connect the importance of the material to their own lives and their own context is the ultimate goal.

He enjoys visiting parks with his wife and two children in his free time.

Follow Dr. Sharp's Research and Projects.

  • Ph.D. Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia (2010)
  • M.Ed. Outdoor Education Administration, Georgia College and State University (2005)
  • B.S. Physical Education, State University of New York at Cortland (1998)


  • An examination of extended day use on corridor trails at Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
  • Evaluating visitor preferences for the Shenandoah National Park Visitor mobile app
  • Research to inform visitor use management planning at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND
  • Understanding temporal and spatial distribution of visitors at Cumberland Island National Seashore, GA
  • Understanding visitor use and developing visitor use monitoring protocols for The Nature Conservancy properties in Kansas
  • Visitor use management research to inform desired social and natural conditions for visitor experiences at Katmai National Park & Preserve (KATM) and Lake Clark National Park & Preserve (LACL), AK


  • Clark, B.G., Maples, J.N., & Sharp, R.L. (in press). Awareness and application of minimum impact principles among rock climbers in the Red River Gorge, Kentucky. Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education.
  • Clark, M.*, Wilkins, E.*, Dagan, D.T.*, Powell, R., Sharp, R.L., & Hillis, V. (2019).  Bringing forecasting into the future: Using Google to predict visitation in the U.S. National Parks.  Environmental Management, 243, 88-94.
  • Cribbs, T.W.*, Sharp, R.L., & Brownlee, M.T.J. (2019).  Evaluating the influence of photo order on park visitors’ perceptions of crowding at Buffalo National River. 
  •  Sharp, R.L, Cable, T.T, & Burns, A.* (2019). The application of GPS visitor trackers: Implications for interpretation at heritage sites.  Journal of Interpretation Research, 24(1).
  • Loomis, J., Richardson, L., Huber, C., Skibins, J.C. & Sharp, R.L. (2018). A method to value nature-related webcam viewing: the value of virtual use with application to brown bear webcam viewing. Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy.
  • Liu, H. & Sharp, R.L. (2018). Wildlife attitudes influence on preference for management of black bears. Ursus.
  • Sharp, R.L., Bradley, M.J., Maples, J. (2017). A methodological evaluation of an environmental education survey: Is there a technological advantage? Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education and Leadership, 9(3).
  • Skibins, J.C. & Sharp, R.L. (2017). Evaluation of the brown bear viewing experience at Katmai National Park and Preserve: Implications for management. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 22(5).
  • Larson, L.R., Stayton, B., Sharp, R.L., Ahlers, A., & Downer, J.W. (2017). Colleges and universities: A prime target for R3 efforts. The Wildlife Professional, 11(4).
  • Sharp, R.L., Cleckner, L. & DiPillo, S.* (2016). The impact of on-site educational outreach on recreational users' perceptions of aquatic invasive species and their management. Environmental Education Research.
  • Sharp, R.L., Kurtz, J.* & Maples, J. (2016). Challenges and Opportunities Associated with a Long-Term Comparative Analysis of Campsites and Rockshelters in the Clifty Wilderness, KY, USA. International Journal of Wilderness, 22(1).
  • Summers, J., Bradley, M.J., Johnson, A.* & Sharp, R.L. (2016). Viability of hunting as a means of wild hog population management on federal property. Kentucky Journal of Undergraduate Scholarship.
  • Sharp, R.L. & Sharp, J.A. & Miller, C.A. (2015). An island in a sea of development: The interaction of place attachment, activity type, and crowding in an urban national park. Visitor Studies, 18(2), 196-213.
  • Lakes, R.M.* & Sharp, R.L. (2015). Visitor perceptions of black bear management options in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, U.S.A. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 20(2).
  • Bradley, M.J., Liu, H., Chalkidou, T.V., Sharp, R. L., & Wu, I. (2015). This land is our land: Identifying Oklahomans' support of a federal conservation effort. Oklahoma Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Journal, 52 (2).


Environmental stewardship, resource recreation management, parks and protected area management, human dimensions of natural resources, effectiveness of educational programs / interpretation.


Course #TitleSemesterDelivery Method
PMC 275Natural Resources ConservationFallOn Campus
PMC 495Undergraduate ResearchFall, Spring, SummerOn Campus
PMC 620Park Planning and DesignFallOn Campus
PMC 820Outdoor Recreation BehaviorFall, SpringOn Campus