Recreation Resource Planning and Management: What Defines the Profession?


  • Kent B. Downing
  • James F. Burke
  • Richard Schreyer


outdoor recreation, recreation resource management, professional education, curriculum development, manager perceptions, recreation educators


This paper reports on the perceptions of public agency outdoor recreation practitioners and educators concerning skills and knowledge needed to effectively manage recreation opportunities on the nation's natural resource lands.Self-administered questionnaires were sent to personnel with the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and eight state park systems in the West, as well as the U.S. Forest Service nationwide. A modified version was sent to professors at 51 universities across the country that offer natural-resource-based outdoor recreation programs.Recreation practitioners attached varying degrees of importance to a wide range of individual skill and knowledge areas. Educators' ratings closely agreed with those of practitioners, though educators placed greater emphasis on need for quantitative analytical skills. Differences in ratings among agencies and levels of organiza~ional responsibility were statistically significant and are of theoretical research interest. However, the differences are interpreted by the authors as offering little support for the idea of designing specialized curricula for specific agencies or occupational categories. The important finding is that outdoor recreation practitioners need a diverse range of skills and knowledge in their work regardless of their organization or specific job responsibility.?





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