Defensible research to inform decisions...

Outdoor recreation and tourism resources contribute significantly to local and regional economies, and residents’ and visitors’ quality of life.  Consequently, important stakeholders and constituencies closely follow, debate, and sometimes scrutinize managers’ and policy officials’ decisions regarding outdoor recreation, education, and tourism. Those charged with managing outdoor recreation, education, and tourism activities and resources often need defensible, timely, and cost-effective evidence to inform and ultimately defend their decisions.  Using applied research results to inform outdoor recreation, education, and tourism decisions has become standard practice and integral to ensuring that high quality experiences and outcomes are responsibly developed and maintained.  The Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Tourism Lab (ORET) at the University of Utah assists decision-makers in this process.


The mission of the Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Tourism Lab (ORET) is to provide defensible evidence that informs decisions and enhances outcomes.  Specifically, ORET exists to conduct applied research, locally and internationally, that addresses issues faced by managers, educators, and policy officials. 


  1. Provide decision-makers with timely, cost-effective, and defensible evidence to inform their most important decisions.
  2. Develop, disseminate, and catalogue knowledge, publications, and applied solutions to issues regarding outdoor recreation, education, and tourism.

Current and Previous Research Partners

  • The U.S. National Park Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Utah State Parks
  • The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), the American Camp Association, and the Natural History Museum of Utah
  • The International Ecotourism Society, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, the World Travel and Tourism Council

Contact The ORET Lab

The Outdoor Recreation, Education, & Tourism Lab
Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism
270 South 1400 East
Room 201, William A. Stewart Building
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Phone: 801-585-7239