Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism | USU Extension


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    Defining Recreation and Climate Interactions

    About the Institute

    The Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism was founded in 1998 by the Utah State Legislature through the Recreation and Tourism Research and Extension Program Act (S.B. 35). The Institute is mandated to focus on: tourism and outdoor recreation use; the social and economic tradeoffs of tourism and outdoor recreation for local communities; and the relationship between outdoor recreation and tourism and public land management practices and policies.


    The purpose of the Institute is to provide: better data for the Legislature and state agencies in their decision-making processes on issues relating to tourism and outdoor recreation; a base of information and expertise to assist community officials as they attempt to balance the economic, social, and environmental tradeoffs in tourism development; and an interdisciplinary approach of research and study on outdoor recreation and tourism, a complex sector of the state's economy.


    The Institute’s academic program offers both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Recreation Resource Management. Our 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 University.

    Bikers at Monument Valley

    Academic Programs

    The Institute’s globally-unique degree programs focus on outdoor recreation management. We offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the USU College of Natural Resources. Teamed with the Department of Environment and Society, the Institute offers a focused doctorate.

    Delicate Arch at NightOutreach Programs

    At the Institute, we work to understand the social and economic impacts of recreation and tourism. Our researchers measure the trade-offs and consequences of these activities and share that knowledge with others. We provide data, information, and practical advice to managers and the general public. 

    CanyoneeringResearch Programs

    Recreation managers are asked to benefit users and preserve natural areas. At the Institute, we assist in this task by combining rigorously collected data with credible and scientific models. We are forging new ground by blending the natural and social sciences.


    IORT in the News

    'Triple whammy from COVID': How pandemic put vacation spots through the grinder

    12/24/2020 12:02 PM

    The COVID-19 pandemic has forced governments worldwide to embrace a delicate balancing act — with an open economy on one side of the scale, public health on the...

    Fees drive away low-income families from outdoor places like Bridal Veil Falls, researchers say

    12/07/2020 07:50 AM

    Fees drive away low-income families from outdoor places like Bridal Veil Falls, researchers say

    'Zoom town' trend finding a home in Grand Marais

    10/26/2020 03:02 PM

    We like vacationing in this place. I am working from home now. Let’s forget the conveniences of living in a metro area and live in the place we like the most.

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