Michigan State University College of Agriculture & Natural Resources

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Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism

Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism

Department of Community Sustainability


Susan DeRosa
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: 517-432-0269

Frances Kaneene
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: 517-353-0798

Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism graduates help people make the most of their leisure time in the outdoors. Students in the Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism major acquire an understanding of natural resource recreation and tourism that integrates theory with practice. This includes the concepts of recreation, tourism, sustainability and leisure, as well as the administration, planning, management and operation of outdoor recreation in the public, commercial and non-profit sectors.

Two concentrations target different interests in natural resource-based recreation and commercial recreation and tourism. Students may also specialize in Natural Resource Recreation Management.

Natural resource-based recreation managers focus on public lands and non-profit organizations. They team with fish and wildlife biologists, landscape architects, foresters, historians and others. They manage parks, forests and wild lands for camping, trail activities, fish and wildlife recreation, boating and other outdoor pursuits. They minimize environmental impacts, optimize recreational experiences and practice efficiency.

Commercial Recreation and Tourism graduates focus on for-profit business operations across the outdoor recreation spectrum. Graduates manage or own businesses such as marinas and resorts focused on skiing, golf or other natural resources or serve as outfitters/guides for a wide range of outdoor activities. They also hold professional positions in tourism agencies, convention and visitor bureaus, theme parks and the cruise industry.

To see courses required by this major, visit the Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism major listing in the MSU course catalog.

Career Opportunities
Park Superintendent/Manager
Park and Recreation Planner
Marina Manager
Trail Manager
Resort Manager
Travel Coordinator
Convention and Visitor Bureau Director
Camp Director
Park Interpreter
Park Law Enforcement Ranger/Officer

A sampling of companies hiring MSU grads:
National Park Service
State departments of Natural Resources
Regional, County, City and Township Park Systems
Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance
YMCA/YWCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, Scouting
US Forest Service
Walt Disney World
Convention and Visitor Bureau