Values, Obstacles, and Needs of Campus Outdoor Programs to Serve Local Underserved Communities


  • Geneviève Marchand Humboldt State University
  • Paul Sanford The Wilderness Society



underserved communities, college outdoor programs, outdoor recreation, barriers


Although participation in outdoor recreation activities is a right and is essential for the health of individuals and their communities, not all communities have access to outdoor recreation opportunities. Fortunately, many successful outdoor programs at colleges and universities are already in place around the country. These programs have the potential to extend services outside the campus and reach underserved communities. In this research note, we report the findings of focus groups held at the 2015 Association for Outdoor Recreation and Education Annual Conference with administrators of outdoor programs. Challenges, benefits, and needs were identified in extending services, including administrative limitations, human resources issues, and logistical constraints. Potential solutions include reprioritization if programs are to reach out to local underserved communities.

Author Biographies

Geneviève Marchand, Humboldt State University

Assistant Professor

Kinesiology and Recreation Administration

Paul Sanford, The Wilderness Society

National Director of Recreation Policy


Brown, D. A. (1998). Does an outdoor orientation program really work? College and University, 73(4), 17–23.

Bustam, T. D., Thapa, B., & Buta, N. (2011). Demographic differences within Race/Ethnicity group constraints to outdoor recreation participation. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 29(4), 53-71.

Cortese, A. D. (2003). The critical role of higher education in creating a sustainable future. Planning for higher education, 31(3), 15-22.

Flood, J. P., Gardner, E., Cooper, N. (2009). One-Day Challenge Course Impact on Student Life Effectiveness Skills. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership, 1(1), 55-75.

Forrester, S., Arterberry, C., and Barcelona, B. (2006). Student Attitudes Toward Sports and Fitness Activities After Graduation. Recreational Sports Journal 30(87 - 99).

Frauman, E., & Waryold, D. (2009). Impact of Wilderness Orientation Program on College Student's Life Effectiveness. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership, 1 (2), 191-209.

Gass, M. A. (1987). The effects of a wilderness orientation program on college students. Journal of Experiential Education, 10(2), 30–33.

Ghimire, R., Green, G. T., Poudyal, N. C., & Cordell, H. K. (2014). An analysis of perceived constraints to outdoor recreation. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 32(4).

Godbey, G. (2009). Outdoor recreation, health, and wellness: Understanding and enhancing the relationship.

Hogner, R. H., & Kenworthy, A. L. (2010). Moving forward together in sustainable, effective, and partnership-oriented ways: Connecting universities and communities through global leadership service projects. International journal of organizational analysis, 18(2), 245-266.

Jackson, E. L. (1986). Outdoor recreation participation and attitudes to the environment. Leisure Studies, 5, 1-23.

Kanters, M. A., Bristol, D. G., & Attariam, A. (2002). The Effects of Outdoor Experiential Training on Perceptions of College Stress. Journal of Experiential Education, 25(2), 257-367.

Kellett, C. E., & Goldstein, A. E. (1999). Transformation in the university and the community: The benefits and barriers of collaboration. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 91(2), 31.

Marchand, G. (2014). Environmental attitudes of students enrolled in adventure programming classes. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Educational and Leadership, 6(2), 180-182.

Mowen, A. J., Payne, L. L., & Scott, D. (2005). Change and stability in park visitation constraints revisited. Leisure Sciences, 27, 191–204.

Overholt, J. R. (2012). The Role of the Outdoor Recreation Discipline in Public Health: Nature as Preventative Medicine. Illuminare: A Student Journal in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Studies, 10.

Phillip, S. F. (2000). Race and the pursuit of happiness. Journal of Leisure Research, 32(1), 121–124.

Shores, K. A., Scott, D., & Floyd, M. F. (2007). Constraints to outdoor recreation: A multiple hierarchy stratification perspective. Leisure Sciences, 29, 227–246.

Schwartz, A., & Corkery, M. R. (2011). Barriers to participation among underrepresented populations in outdoor programs. RSJ, 35(2).

Tarrant, M. A. & Green, G. T. (1999). Outdoor recreation and the predictive validity of environmental attitudes. Leisure Sciences, 21(1), 17-30.

Vlamis, E., Bell, B. J., & Gass, M. (2011). Effects of a College Adventure Orientation Program on Student Development Behaviors. Journal Of Experiential Education, 34(2), 127-148.






Special Issue: Campus Outdoor Recreation Programs