The outdoor recreation economy is among our nation’s largest and fastest growing economic sectors and provides livelihoods for millions of American workers. Nationally, outdoor recreation accounts for 7.6 million jobs and provides $887 billion in annual consumer spending. The state of Colorado represents a significant piece of the national outdoor economy, supporting 511,000 direct jobs and $28 billion in annual consumer spending.

The outdoor recreation industry sector remains, however, relatively new and holds great potential for the integration of sustainability concepts into all of its elements. For example, innovation is needed across outdoor recreation businesses industry in leadership and sustainable operations; new policies and regulations must be created to govern and promote access to public lands; and outdoor amenities must be leveraged to grow local, sustainable economies at the local scale.

The MENV Sustainability in the Outdoor Industry (SOI) specialization prepares its students to successfully engage with and be future leaders in the outdoor recreation economy. MENV views the outdoor recreation economy holistically. The SOI specialization looks at the intersection of outdoor recreation businesses, public lands policy, and resilient communities. Students will receive foundational understanding in each of these areas and will develop skills and knowledge to understand the challenges and opportunities presented by outdoor recreation.

Students graduating from the Sustainability in the Outdoor Industry track will be prepared to work in in the outdoor industry, economic development, and the public lands and natural resources policy sectors, as they relate to outdoor recreation.