Outdoor Recreation Program at SUU

Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism Bachelor's Degree Program

Prepare for an exciting career working in and protecting nature

The Bachelor of Science Degree in Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism (ORPT) is an interdisciplinary degree program offered by the Department of Kinesiology and Outdoor Recreation within the College of Education. The interdisciplinary nature of the program includes coursework from Agriculture Science, Biology, Communications, Geology, and Hotel and Hospitality Management.

Emphases include:

  • Natural Resource Management
  • Outdoor Education
  • Outdoor Recreation Tourism

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Why Choose SUU for Outdoor Recreation?

At Southern Utah University you are within half a day’s drive of 11 national parks, national monuments, and recreation areas, and within 100 miles of Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Grand Canyon National Park and the Pine View Mountains. This means you are never far from incredible wilderness experiences where you can practice the skills that are at the core of your Outdoor Recreation bachelor’s degree program.

11 Essentials of an Outdoor Recreation Major

Jobs in Outdoor Recreation: Public Lands, Outdoor Education, Hospitality & Tourism, Municipal Recreation, Commercial Recreation, Resource Management

Outdoor Recreation Students

Outdoor Recreation Student Phenix Johnson

Phenix of the Forest: A Student’s Experience in Parks Interpretation

Originally from Las Vegas, Phenix Johnson discovered her passion for the outdoors when she came to Southern Utah University in beautiful Cedar City. Growing up in a desert city, Johnson quickly fell in love with the mountains and forests just minutes from Cedar. She embraced the outdoors and learned about explorers of all kinds. “I wanted to be Indiana Jones, Steve Erwin, and Jane Goodall,” said Johnson. When Johnson discovered she could actually fulfill her adventuring dreams and turn those passions into a career, she declared her major in Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism and never looked back.

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Outdoor Recreation Student Kali Mckenzie

Kali McKenzie: Wilderness Ranger

Wherever her career takes her, Kali McKenzie simply has to spend time in the outdoors. As a Wilderness Ranger for Zion National Park, she gets plenty of opportunities to do just that. McKenzie fell in love with the outdoors after spending a summer at a scout camp in California while she was in high school. Seeing potential for a career spent in the wilderness, she decided to dive into the Outdoor Recreation program at Southern Utah University with an emphasis in natural resources management.

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Outdoor Recreation Faculty

Outdoor Recreation Faculty Kelly Goonan

Professor Kelly Goonan

Dr. Kelly Goonan developed a passion for the outdoors while working at summer camp in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. She is now a Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism. A self-described “hybrid recreation ecologist/recreation social scientist,” her expertise is in management of outdoor recreation in parks and protected areas.

Meet Kelly

Outdoor Recreation Faculty Jacob Manning

Professor Jacob Manning

At SUU, Professor Jacob Manning strives to impart knowledge and passion for the outdoors into every student he interacts with. He works hard to learn and improve his abilities as a professor and is currently working on becoming a wilderness medicine instructor as well as an American Mountain Guide Single Pitch Instructor Provider. Manning’s primary goal is to be an advocate for his students and inform them of the many career options in the outdoors.

Meet Jacob

Outdoor Recreation Faculty Briget Eastep

Professor Briget Eastep

Dr. Briget Eastep, Southern Utah University’s Director of Outdoor Engagement, began her career as an outdoor educator in 1991 as a Ranger at Philmont Boy Scout Ranch in New Mexico. She is now an associate professor for outdoor recreation who works with campus and community partners to broaden opportunities in service learning and experiential education. Under her tutelage students gain involvement and leadership skills while giving back to their local public lands.

Meet Briget

Success Stories SUU to Everywhere

Outdoor Recreation Alumni - Megan Taylor

SUU to Mountain Peaks

When Megan Taylor first arrived at Southern Utah University she wanted to be an adventurous mountain guide and declared her major in outdoor recreation. However, during one-on-one time with Dr. Briget T. Eastep in the Outdoor Engagement Center (OEC) at SUU, Megan discovered that higher education was her true calling. Working with Dr. Eastep and the OEC helped Megan realize her life’s purpose; teaching with the mountains and outdoor surroundings serving as her foundation.

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Outdoor Recreation Alumni - Tayson Whittaker

SUU to Business Owner

As a student, Tayson Whittaker decided that he wanted to create more opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs at SUU and in the community. Taking matters into his own hands, he founded the Entrepreneurship Club, which provides a place for students to make their business ideas a reality. Putting the skills he learned in the Entrepreneurship Club into practice, Tayson is now the founder and president of Outdoor Vitals, a company based online that sells outdoor equipment.

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IIC Partnership

Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative

The Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative (IIC) is a partnership between Southern Utah University and the Land Management Agencies and native American Tribes of Southern Utah, Northern Arizona and Eastern Nevada. Together, we develop challenging Internship opportunities for Students from most SUU degree programs and in a diversity of exciting professional fields. IIC Partners mentor their Interns providing "real world" work experience that can complement their academic pursuits and help prepare them for a successful career.

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Semester in the Parks

Study in a National Park

SUU offers Semester in the Parks, a new type of study abroad opportunity. Semester in the Parks creates a once-in-a-lifetime experience for students that they will not find anywhere else. Students take 16 credits from experienced faculty on-site in Bryce Canyon with classes that include outdoor recreation, geology, communication, biology and library science. The Semester in the Parks program falls in line with SUU’s Mission Statement. Southern Utah University is inspired by its unique natural surroundings and has opportunities to harness and integrate its geographic location in the educational experience.

Learn More About Semester in the Parks