The outdoor recreation industry is among our nation’s largest 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.

Recognizing the increasing importance of the outdoor recreation industry to our state and nation's economy, CU Boulder is launching the Outdoor Recreation Economy (ORE) program, comprised of six online certificates and a Master's of Science in Outdoor Recreation Economy (MORE). The MORE degree and certificates, which will reside within the Environmental Studies Program and will be administered by the Graduate School, are part of a suite of planned educational offerings in Outdoor Recreation Economy including non-credit and for-credit professional education opportunities, executive education and training, and professional development workshops. 

ORE will launch in August of 2021 as the nation’s premier outdoor recreation economy program, leveraging CU Boulder’s academic excellence and experience in professional education, as well as the State of Colorado’s deep connection with the outdoor recreation economy. Students can choose from one of six (10-hour) online certificates:

  1. Introduction to the Outdoor Recreation Economy
  2. Public Lands and Natural Resources Policy
  3. Outdoor Recreation Economy
  4. Sustainability and the Outdoor Recreation Industry
  5. Inclusivity and Leadership in the Outdoor Industry
  6. Resiliency Management

Students can also choose to pursue a Master's of Science in Outdoor Recreation Economy (MORE) which will consist of 30 credit hours, made up of three of the stackable certificates listed above (each worth 10 credits). 

We conceive of the outdoor recreation economy holistically: where innovation is needed across the industry in leadership and sustainable business operations; where appropriate policies and regulations must be created to govern and promote access to public lands and waterways; and where outdoor amenities must be leveraged to grow local, sustainable economies. The ORE program will provide skills and knowledge to students and learners from a variety of backgrounds who are interested in the outdoor industry, economic development, and the public lands and natural resources policy sectors. The online ORE certificates and MORE graduate degree respond to a national, regional, and local economic growth in the sector and therefore anticipates growing outdoor recreation economy employment demands. ORE also responds to an increased demand for remote learning opportunities, the needs of working professionals, and increased access to higher education.

Fore more information, please contact Ben Webster at