Outdoor Recreation Management

The outdoors will become your classroom with the Outdoor Recreation Management program. Make a career in outdoor, environmental, and experiential education yours with specific training in leadership and program management with an emphasis on environmental stewardship. The program focuses on providing you with the experience and certifications you need to immediately move into a fulfilling career after graduation. 

What You'll Study

Creating a solid foundation is key to overall success, no matter your major. From your first year in the Outdoor Recreation Management program, you will be immersed in courses such as Outdoor Leadership and Living Skills, Teaching and Facilitation, and Business Administration. These courses will develop your knowledge in business fundamentals and outdoor recreation, and prepare you for upper level classes and subsequent careers.

The upper-level courses are designed to hone and sharpen your abilities as well as provide you with a well-rounded skill set. Some of those courses will include Risk Management, Organizational Behavior, and Contemporary Issues in Outdoor Recreation.

As part of your liberal arts education, you’ll also have the ability to further customize your learning experience with classes that spark your personal interest. You can take courses in Environmental Ethics, Wilderness Literature, or even History of Wilderness and the American Mind.

Almost every class, regardless of what you choose to study, will offer a wide range of experiential, hands-on opportunities that will take you outside the traditional classroom. You can perfect your riding skills in your Mountain Biking class, traverse miles of wilderness in your Hiking and Backpacking course, or glide down one of hundreds of rivers in the Kayaking and Canoeing class. 

Whether rock climbing at the Hidden Boulders on campus, obtaining your Leave No Trace Trainer certification, or spending your summer as an intern at a national park, you will have hands-on and engaging experiences that you will remember forever.

Beyond the Classroom

For Outdoor Recreation Management students, the “classroom” is often what is beyond the walls of Lees-McRae. The majority of courses have a field component, with skills courses such a rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, hiking and backpacking exclusively taking place in the field. Off-campus experiences are an integral part of the Outdoor Recreation Management program and include local field trips, outdoor certifications, and domestic and international extended expeditions.

Brigham Classroom at Beech Mountain Resort

Located in the Beech Mountain Resort Lodge, the classroom is the onsite home for academic programs in Outdoor Recreation Management and Ski Industry Business and Instruction as well as a training base for the college’s ski and snowboard teamThe classroom is named for the late Dr. Thomas Brigham, in honor of his legacy within the ski industry. Known as “The Father of Southern Skiing,” Brigham played a significant role in the development of Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain Resorts in North Carolina and Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia. 

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Mountain Legends is an annual event hosted by the Outdoor Recreation Management program. Students have the opportunity to network and learn from industry leaders of the High Country in a professional setting. 

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After Graduation

Career information is provided through Vault and O'Net. Current Lees-McRae students can see the full results on Vault using their student email and password. 

Alumni Spotlight: Chrissy Turk ’20

Musher at Northern Tier High Adventure

Major: Outdoor Recreation Management 
Minors: Ski Industry Business and Instruction, Wilderness Medicine and Rescue, and Business Administration

"My four years at Lees-McRae were full of unexpected opportunities for leadership and learning. Spending a few hours in the morning at Beech Mountain Resort learning how to instruct snowboarding, then studying outdoor risk management and discussing case studies in the afternoon was just a typical day of class for me. The blend of experiential education and traditional classroom learning perfectly suited my learning style. I found that the professional certifications I earned and the technical skills I developed while in school made it very easy for me to find exactly the kind of work I was looking for after graduating."

Meet the Faculty

Katie Wall, EdD
Program Coordinator of Outdoor Recreation Management
Associate Professor
Director of the Truist Leadership Initiative

Richard Campbell
Instructor of Outdoor Recreation Management

AJ Czarnecki-Atwell
Outdoor Recreation Management Coordinator

ORM PledgeOutdoor Recreation Management has pledged to advocate and advance representation for people of color and other marginalized identities across the outdoor industry.


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