Igniting the Science of Outdoor Recreation

Bridging management and research to understand outdoor experiences and human connections with natural and cultural heritage

An integrated team of managers, practitioners, and researchers has formed to find ways to bolster our collective research capacity and improve alignment around priority research needs for outdoor recreation and nature-based experiences. We work across many agencies, universities, and community-based organizations to identify the most important areas for future investment to enhance the quality and opportunity for people to connect with nature on our public lands.

Latest news

Research strategy: Our group recently published a research strategy: A Research Strategy for Enhancing Sustainable Recreation and Tourism on Public Lands

Working papers: Our group recently published a compendium of 17 brief working papers in a general technical report: Igniting Research for Outdoor Recreation: Linking Science, Policy, and Action

Special issues: We are currently editing two special journal issues on recreation and tourism research. Read more here.

Community of Practice: Become part of our growing community of practice related to research, science discovery, applications, and information exchange for outdoor recreation, nature-based experiences, human health and well-being, and human ecology. Learn how to join our effort here!

Future Needs

Identify High Impact R&D Projects – An integrated team of managers and researchers will investigate information needs and identify short-term, priority projects that can be addressed through targeted funding across deputy areas (R&D-NFS-S&PF). Projects selected would be high-impact and implementable on the ground, with a strong extension focus (generating tools and frameworks). We seek 2 to 3 recreation leaders to help us prioritize agency needs.

Re-imagining ROS: Framework for Managing Outdoor Experiences – An integrated team of managers and researchers will explore the need for a new management and planning framework to enhance our ability to provide a diversity of outdoor experiences on public lands while benefiting natural resources, local economies, and socio-cultural connections. This may involve a remodel of the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum or construction of a novel tool or framework.

We need your help! If you are interested in assisting with either of the above future needs, please contact:

USFS R&D: Lee Cerveny at lee.cerveny@usda.gov

Relevant events such as meetings and conferences where community members can reconnect and broaden our effort are posted on the calendar below.

Please click here to add another event.

Recreation on public lands is a vast topic addressed by many agencies, organizations, and individuals. Peruse the websites listed below for further resources.

Reclink - A platform hosting discussion for public land recreation professionals.

HDgov Human Dimensions - HDgov is a multi-agency website for all things human dimensions of natural resources.

Interagency Visitor Use Management Coucil - A collaboration of six federal agencies on visitor use management in public lands.

Bureau of Land Management Recreation and Visitor Services - Get to know the recreation opportunities available on BLM lands.

Contact for additions, updates, comments or suggestions: lee.cerveny@usda.gov