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About the Institute
Located at Utah’s land-grant institution – Utah State University – the mission of the Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism is to conduct a program of research, extension, and teaching that is focused on outdoor recreation and tourism management.
The Institute’s research and extension programs concentrate on
- tourism and outdoor recreation use within Utah;
- the social and economic trade-offs faced by communities who manage outdoor recreation resources and tourism destinations; and
- the relationship between outdoor recreation and tourism and public land management practices and policies.
The Institute’s academic program offers both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Recreation Resources Management. This academic program also contributes to Environment and Society, a doctoral program offered within the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources at Utah State. Since the Institute was founded in 1998, it has been awarded several millions of dollars in externally funded research grants, maintained an active extension program with communities and outdoor recreation managers, and trained some of the nation’s leading outdoor recreation and resource managers.
Natural areas need to be conserved for future generations while ensuring they provide the enjoyment and benefits desired by current users. To make this possible, the decisions made by natural resource managers are informed by rigorously collected data and credible scientific models. The research programs managed by the Institute’s faculty are forging new ground in bringing together data and methods from the natural and social sciences to inform the decisions made by natural resource managers.
Outdoor recreationist and tourist activities result in a variety of social and economic consequences for nearby communities and state and national economies. A primary mission of the Institute is to provide data, information, and knowledge to resource management personnel, elected officials, private industries, and the general public that will lead to a better understanding of the trade-offs and consequences associated with providing and managing outdoor recreation opportunities, resources, and tourism destinations.
The Institute is home to one of the few academic programs in the world that offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees focused exclusively on outdoor recreation resource management. The Institute, along with the Department of Environment and Society within the S. J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources at Utah State, offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Recreation Resources Management. The Institute’s academic program also contributes to a doctoral program in Environment and Society.