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.


Our Outdoor Recreation Management program is the nation’s only program found within a school of business. It is also one of a handful of programs at an institution emphasizing a liberal arts education.

Hiking, mountain biking as well as camping sites are all just steps from your residence hall.

A short drive throughout the surrounding area will give you the chance to experience and explore canoeing, kayaking, fishing, skiing and snowboarding.

What You'll Study

Creating a solid foundation is key to overall success, no matter what program you are in. From the program’s start, 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 round-off your skill-sets. 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 all classes, no matter where your specific path may take you, 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 experiential, hands-on and engaging experiences unlike any other.

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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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. Field experiences are in integral part of the Outdoor Recreation Management program and include local field trips, outdoor certifications, and domestic and international extended expeditions.

Outdoor 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. 

Meet the Faculty

Katie Wall, EdD
Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation Management,
Director of the BB&T Leadership Initiative

Deana Acklin
Adjunct ORM Instructor

Talia Freeman
Adjunct ORM Instructor

Carter Smith
Adjunct ORM Instructor

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

Ready to take the next step?

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