New Degree Program Aims To Prep Students For The Business Of Outdoor Recreation

A new degree program in Colorado aims to train business leaders for the fast-growing outdoor recreation industry in the Mountain West.

Sarah Shrader, who works in the outdoor industry herself as the co-owner of Bonsai Design, is spearheading the outdoor recreation industry studies degree at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.

“That industry needs a skilled and talented workforce and we are hoping to provide that to them,” she said.

Students in the major will take classes in business, environmental policy, environmental science, biology, and marketing and sales. They’ll also take field courses to help foster outdoor leadership and risk management.

“It just cues up these kids to go into outdoor rec businesses, become product developers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and service providers within the industry,” Shrader said.

Outdoor recreation contributes between 3 and 5 percent to state GDPs across the Mountain West—higher than most other parts of the country.

The new degree program is set to begin this fall.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center For the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.