Elizabeth S. Vidon | Environmental Studies | SUNY-ESF
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Elizabeth S. VidonResearch Associate

Elizabeth Vidon

221 Baker Lab
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210

315-470-6908 | 315-470-6636

Highest Education

  • Ph.D., Geography and Landscape Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Office Hours Spring 2021

Tuesdays 1:30-2:30. You may also contact me at esvidon@esf.edu for an online appointment.

Research Interests

  • My research interests include critical approaches to nature-based tourism and wilderness; alienation and authenticity in nature-based tourism and wilderness landscapes; perceptions of and values towards nature and wilderness; and motivation, expectation, and experiences of nature-based tourism and wilderness as well as nature, wilderness, and "environment" more broadly. While tourism is central to my work, my research engages Political Ecology, Landscape Studies, Indigenous Studies, and social and psychoanalytic theory, which combined help me better apprehend the inherent complexities unique to the understanding and management of wild landscapes and their resources, as well as challenges faced by proximate communities. 

Recent Publications

  • Rickly, J.M., Vidon, E.S., & Knudsen, D.C. (2021). Irreconcilable differences: Divorcing ethics from existential authenticity. Annals of Tourism Research, 88, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2021.103174.
  • Nagle*, D.S. & Vidon, E.S. (2020). Purchasing protection: Outdoor companies and the authentication of technology use in nature-based tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2020.1828432.   
  • Hill*, D.T., Vidon, E.S., Collins, M.B. (2020). Public money and private interests: United States government contract awardees’ contribution to industrial pollution production. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13412-020-00614-9.
  • VidonE.S. (2019). Why wilderness? Alienation, authenticity, and nature. Tourist Studies, 19(1), 3-22. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468797617723473.
  • Vidon, E.S., Rickly, J.M., & Knudsen, D.C. (2018). Wilderness state of mind: Expanding authenticity. Annals of Tourism Research, 73, 62-70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2018.09.006.
  • Hill*, D.T., Collins, M.B., & Vidon, E.S. (2018). The Environment and environmental justice: Linking the biophysical and the social using watershed designations. Applied Geography, 95, 54-60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2018.04.007.
  • Weatherby*, T.G. & Vidon, E.S. (2018). Delegitimizing wilderness as the man cave: The role of social media in female wilderness empowerment. Tourist Studies, 18(3), 332-352. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468797618771691.
  • Vidon, E.S. & Rickly, J.M. (2018). Alienation and anxiety in tourism motivation. Annals of Tourism Research, 69, 65-75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2018.02.001.
  • Sandrow*, C.A., Feldpausch-Parker, A.M., VidonE.S., and Parker, I.D. (2018). Anything but a walk in the park: Framing analysis of the Adirondack State Park land classification conflict. Frontiers - Science and Environmental Communication. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcomm.2018.00042.
  • Vidon, E.S.  (2018). Authenticating the wilderness: Power, politics, and performance. In J.M. Rickly & ES.. Vidon (Eds.), Authenticity and tourism: Materialities, perceptions, experiences. Tourism Social Science Series, Volume 24, 217-235. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing Limited.
  • Rickly, J.M. & Vidon, E.S. (2018). Introduction: From pseudo-events to authentic experiences. In J.M. Rickly and E.S. Vidon (Eds.), Authenticity and tourism: Materialities, perceptions, experiences. Tourism Social Science Series, Volume 24, 1-12. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing Limited.
  • Rickly, J.M. & Vidon, E.S. (2017). Contesting authentic practice and ethical authority in adventure tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 25(10), 1418-1433. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2017.1284856.
  • Feldpausch-Parker, A. M., Parker, I. D., & Vidon, E.S. (2017). Privileging consumptive use: a critique of ideology, power, and discourse in the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.  Conservation and Society15(1), 33-40. https://doi.org/10.4103/0972-4923.201395.
  • Knudsen, D.C., Rickly, J.M., & Vidon, E.S. (2016). The fantasy of authenticity: Touring with Lacan. The Annals of Tourism Research, 58, 33-45.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2016.02.003
  • Vidon, E.S.  (2016). The call of the wild: power and ideology in the Adirondack Park. In S. Nepal and J. Saarinen (Eds.), Political ecology and tourism (100-114). New York, NY: Routledge. 


  • Rickly, J.M. & Vidon, E.S. (Eds.) (2018). Authenticity and tourism: Materialities, perceptions, experiences. Tourism Social Science Series, Volume 24. Emerald Group Publishers. 

* Denotes Graduate Students


  • Graduate: EST 624 Nature, Recreation, and Society; EST 650 Environmental Perception and Human Behavior
  • Undergraduate: EST 366 Attitudes, Values, and the Environment; EST 140 Introduction to Native Peoples, Lands, and Cultures

Current and Recently Completed Projects


    Where Have All the Hunters Gone? Exploring the Place of Wildlife in Adirondack Park Wilderness Areas


“They’re hell-bent on making that state land, and when they do there’ll be a way of life that disappears” - George Canon, Gooley Club member and former Newcomb Supervisor (Earl, 2007).

Objective: The primary purpose of this project is to better understand the current place and perceptions of hunters in the Central Adirondack Park, particularly in relation and response to recent land acquisitions and reclassifications. As many lands in the Park (i.e., Boreas Ponds, Essex Chain Lakes) have recently changed from being private lands leased to hunting clubs to lands owned by the State and classified as officially designated Wilderness or Wild Forest areas, the place of hunters in the Park has become increasingly uncertain. 

Research questions driving this project include the following: Do hunters feel marginalized and as though they have lost agency as stakeholders while portions of the Adirondack Park undergo processes of acquisition and reclassification?; Do wilderness designations complicate wildlife management in the Park? If so, how?; How do hunters and wildlife managers adapt to new land designations in the Park from both recreation and management perspectives?. Thus, the primary purpose of this research is to explore hunter perceptions of wilderness designation within the Adirondack Park and the potential impact on hunting.

As Aldo Leopold (1933) so famously asserted, regulated hunting is an important tool in the wildlife manager’s toolbox, making hunters ever important to wildlife management within the boundaries of the Park. Wildlife abundance can impact the ecosystem in a variety of ways, making hunting an important consideration that may be increasingly overlooked in the Park's more tourist-driven areas.  Indeed, carefully monitored and scientifically-based hunting programs allow fine-grained control of wildlife populations and can form a basis for broader ecosystem management. Additionally, hunting programs (i.e., excise taxes, licenses, hunter donations) remain critical funding sources for conservation programs throughout the United States and Canada (Heffelfinger et al., 2013). Hunting directs over $2 billion to state or province conservation efforts throughout the United States and Canada, making hunters in the Adirondacks a factor in the region’s economic stability. While communities in the Central Adirondacks (Newcomb and Long Lake) look to nature tourism for economic stability, recent research shows that such tourism delivers lackluster results (Vidon, 2016; Vidon, et al., forthcoming; Sandrow, et al., forthcoming). Moreover, preliminary data indicate that hunters and the hunting community feel increasingly marginalized by recent land use, acquisition, and classification initiatives in the Park. This research seeks to uncover and better understand hunters' perceptions, their role in the Park (economically, ecologically/environmentally, and socially), and what role they may play in managing wilderness areas of the Park.

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture [McIntire Stennis project 1017108].


Urban Green Infrastructure and Civic Engagement: Understanding Influences on Ecosystem Services and Human-Ecological Health


Objective: The overarching aim of this research is to build community capacity for health promotion in an impoverished area of Syracuse, NY, through the provision of ecosystems services.  We seek also to empower community members as active environmental stewards with the knowledge, resources and environmental concern to serve as champions for the ecological protection of their neighborhoods and the surrounding areas. Approach: This effort leverages an existing partnership between early career academics in Syracuse and a local community organization that  is beginning a substantial green infrastructure (GI) construction effort on vacant lots in vulnerable communities where combined sewer overflows (CSOs) have been occurring. We employ a community-based participatory research (CBPR) methodology applied within a coupled social-ecological conceptual framework linking human and ecological outcomes. Methods will include both biophysical monitoring of green infrastructure effects and a social assessment of ecosystem services and human benefit. Results: Our efforts will produce actionable findings on how to implement community-based research on GI, ecosystem services, and the interrelationships between human and ecological well-being. It will also allow us to understand and measure the effectiveness of GI as a tool for stormwater management at ecologically vulnerable sites.  

Funding for this project was initially supplied by the EPA: Integrating Human Health and Well-Being with Ecosystem Services, EPA-G2016-STAR-A2: Early Career Projects


Sowing Synergy: A Graduate Program to Integrate Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge for Sustainability


A collaborative project between ESF's Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, Salish Kootenai College, and Hope Mountain Native Science Fellows in Montana

From ESF's Center for Native Peoples and the Environment (http://www.esf.edu/nativepeoples/):

The award will support an initial cohort of three new Native American graduate students with full tuition, stipend and research expenses, as well as undergraduate research apprenticeships. Biocultural restoration serves as the unifying theme for coursework and research. Biocultural restoration is the science and practice of restoring not only ecosystems, but human and cultural relationships to place, so that cultures are strengthened and revitalized along with the lands to which they are inextricably linked. Students are encouraged to build their research around the needs of indigenous communities, to serve the goals of biocultural restoration. The program includes new course development, publications, student enrichment and faculty workshops designed to link Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Scientific Ecological Knowledge in research, education and service to native lands and communities.

For More Information, please click here:  http://www.esf.edu/nativepeoples/sowingsynergy.htm

This work is currently supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Higher Education Challenge Award


Current Graduate Advisees

Current Graduate Advisees

Devon DunbarDevon Dunbar

  • Degree Sought: MPS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Vidon
  • Area of Study: Environmental Policy
  • Undergraduate Institution: Suny College Potsdam

Samuel GenoveseSamuel Genovese

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Vidon
  • Area of Study: Human Dimensions of the Environment

Liam HickmanLiam Hickman

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Vidon
  • Area of Study: Human Dimensions of the Environment

Katie StoreyKatie Storey

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Parker and Vidon
  • Area of Study: Environmental Policy

Lauren TarrLauren Tarr

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Vidon and Collins,m
  • Area of Study: Environmental and Natural Resources Policy

Professional Memberships

  • Association of American Geographers
  • Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences
  • International Society for Landscape, Place, and Material Culture

Journal Editorial Boards

Tourist Studies

Tourism Geographies