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Recreation Resource Management: BS

Recreation Resource Management

Utah State University was the first to offer an academic course on managing outdoor recreation. Since the first class offered in the 1930s, USU continues to offer a strong degree program that prepares students for careers in public land recreation management.

Recreation resource management involves managing lands to accommodate recreational uses as well as interpreting the natural values of these lands to recreation visitors. Recreation resources play a vital role in maintaining the multiple uses of public lands. USU is located within half a day’s drive of six national parks, putting students in close proximity with field study opportunities at some of the most beautiful and most commonly visited recreation sites in the world.

Students wishing to pursue recreation resource management must have good people skills as well as a solid understanding of natural resources. Undergraduates receive a background in biological sciences, including courses in wildlife and fish diversity, plants, and ecology. The curriculum also places a strong focus on the human dimensions of natural resources, including planning and management; environmental interpretation; sociology and psychology of recreation; and environmental economics, history, and law.

With a degree in recreation resource management, students may be qualified for the following careers:

  • Recreation planner with state or federal agencies
  • Park ranger in national forests, national rangelands, state parks, national parks, or wilderness areas
  • Recreation professionals for organizations that promote or manage recreational use of land
  • Environmental interpretation and education
  • Environmental consultant
  • Wildlife researcher
  • Land use planner
  • Public policy maker

Career Services provides counseling and information on hundreds of job and internship opportunities and even helps students apply and interview.

Admission Requirements

In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the recreation resource management program has additional requirements:

  • Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to this major.
  • Transfer Students: Transfer students from other institutions or from other USU majors need a 2.5 total GPA for admission. Special attention will be given to the amount of, and performance in, prerequisite math and science courses.

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Program Requirements

All students complete a special project in order to graduate which might entail undergraduate research, a mentored internship, or a service-learning project.

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

International Association for Society and Natural Resources: IASNR is an interdisciplinary professional association open to individuals who bring a variety of social science and natural science backgrounds to bear on research pertaining to the environment and natural resource issues.

National Association of Recreation Resource Planners: The NARRP is an organization comprised of outdoor recreation professionals and others interested in recreation resource planning. It is a nationwide organization with members in nearly every state, representing state, federal, regional, and local agencies, consultants, nonprofits, and academic institutions. The mission of the association is to advance the recreation resource planning profession.

National Recreation and Park Association: NRPA is the leading advocacy organization dedicated to the advancement of public parks and recreation opportunities.

Xi Sigma Pi National Forest Management Honors Society: Although Xi Sigma Pi is a forest management national honors society, it has expanded its view of forest management to recognize fields such as fisheries, wildlife management, and outdoor recreation. In keeping with the stated national goals of the society, the USU chapter seeks to recognize and encourage academic excellence among students.

Student Organization for Society and Natural Resources: SOSNR was established in 2003 to promote opportunities for service in the community, provide forums for individuals to present research, and give students opportunities to participate in conferences to help further their academic careers.

Student Sustainability Council: The Student Sustainability Council is an organization devoted to promoting sustainability on campus, educating the student body and the local community, and giving students the opportunity to serve in areas related to sustainability.

Labs, Centers, Research

With the second oldest undergraduate research program in the nation, USU offers students a wide range of opportunities to gain hands-on research experience. USU’s Honors Program prepares students for excellent graduate programs by helping them build relationships with professors, participate in research projects, take smaller, more intensive classes, and develop leadership skills.

Institute for Outdoor Recreation and Tourism: The IORT conducts a program of research to improve understanding of the relationships between outdoor recreation and tourism, natural resources management, community economic vitality, and quality of life.

Remote Sensing/Geographic Information Systems Laboratory: The RS/GIS advances knowledge in the application of geospatial technologies in ecosystem science and natural resource management. The lab conducts research to meet the requirements of contracting agencies, which include the USDI Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Guard Bureau, the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, and various state and international agencies and organizations.

S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Natural Resources Research Library: The Quinney Library maintains collections of materials pertaining to natural resources and the environment in a number of formats that support the programs of study and research in the College of Natural Resources and several partnering centers. The library has more than 60,000 items, both print and electronic, as well as videos, images, and more.

Utah Climate Center: The UCC facilitates access to climate data and information and uses expertise in atmospheric science to interpret climate information in an accurate and innovative fashion for the public. The mission includes the design of new products to meet present and future needs of agriculture, natural resources, government, industry, tourism, and educational organizations in Utah and the Intermountain region.