Adventure Recreation ManagementBachelor of Science (B.S.) Program website
WVU Tech Catalog
Winner of the 2021 Blue Ridge Outdoors "Top Adventure College Bracket Challenge."
Winner of the 2020 Blue Ridge Outdoors "Best of the Blue Ridge" for Outdoor Recreation Programs.
WVU Tech's Adventure Recreation Management program prepares students for managing programs and enterprises that offer outdoor adventure activities.
The curriculum provides hands-on experience, and our classroom is often the outdoors. Students will explore the ins and outs of the adventure industry and discover the management skills and techniques required in the field.
As part of the degree, students earn a certification as a guide or instructor in one of our fields of focus. Students also complete a practicum in the industry alongside the experts in the field.
Program Director & Teaching Assistant Professor
After working for almost two decades in the outdoor recreation industry, Joshua left the private sector of guiding and outdoor retail to complete his Ph.D. in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism at the University of Florida. His research centers on the human emotional connections to recreation areas and providing tools for practical application in outdoor recreation planning.
He has guided mountaineering expeditions to Mexico and Ecuador, worked as a guide in southeast Alaska, spent a season guiding in the deserts of Arizona, taught Spanish and English in Korea, and took students to New Zealand for a month-long experiential education program.
Before coming to WVU Tech, he was a lecturer with the Hainan University-Arizona State University International Tourism College (HAITC). Prior to ASU, he taught outdoor recreation and leisure courses at the University of Florida both in class and online.
He is a certified National Registry Emergency Medical Technician, Wilderness First Responder (WFR), and swift-water rescue technician. Josh previously volunteered as a certified wildland fire fighter with the USFS in the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska.
He has two wonderful kids and an amazing spouse that love to go hiking, biking, and exploring with him.
Teaching Assistant Professor
Dave has worked in the outdoor adventure recreation field for more
than 20 years. Originally from the mountains of New Hampshire and
Maine, he is proud to call West Virginia home. Dave has an undergraduate
degree in Outdoor Recreation and a master’s degree from WVU. He is an
AMGA-certified SPI rock climbing instructor and has completed the AMGA
Rock Guide Course. He is also an ACA L4 swift water rescue and
whitewater kayak instructor and has been commercially guiding rafts on
Class V sections of rivers for twenty years. Dave is also a current
wilderness first responder.
He has worked in the college outdoor recreation field for a dozen
years sharing amazing experiences with students. Before that, Dave ran a
commercial adventure recreation business, worked with adjudicated youth
programs and was a National Park Service whitewater rescue ranger. Dave
has traveled extensively for recreation and adventure but says that
some of the most fun that can be had outdoors is watching students pick
up a new life long skill in adventure recreation.
Alumna and Executive Director, Active Southern West
Melanie was raised in Fayetteville, West Virginia - the heart of what is now the New River Gorge National Park and Reserve. She worked in the whitewater rafting industry and has guided river trips since she was 18 years old.
She graduated from the ARM program in May 2021 and has used her industry knowledge, love of the outdoors and her ARM degree in her work as the founding executive director of Active Southern West Virginia.
“I would recommend the program to anyone wanting to advance their career in recreation. It’s also a great program for someone that wants to run their own business in recreation by learning skills to manage services from top to bottom,” she says.
“I’m applying what I’ve learned to my work, including risk management, legal and ethical issues, and uncovering bias in our culture that contribute to health inequities. This helps provide better programming to our community, like an indoor aerobics class, organized sports or outdoor recreation,” she notes.
Freshman, Adventure Recreation Management
Shannon Fray is a freshman originally from Mississippi, where he grew up kayaking and adventuring in rivers near his hometown. Tech became the perfect fit for him so he could major in Adventure Recreation Management and wrestle.
“I always wanted to be a tour guide, but since joining the program I realize there’s so much more to the industry than that,” he says. Fray says he’s enjoying his new surroundings in West Virginia and all the hiking that is available in the area.
Before he began his studies in ARM, Fray said he just wanted to go back to Mississippi and guide on the rivers he grew up on. Now, he wants to help create access to places where there are not as many opportunities for recreation and go into a management position.
“There are some places in Mississippi I used to go to all the time that are completely shut down. You can’t even get to the road or go on certain parts of the river. I want to go back there and learn how to manage and turn those places into a park or have access to recreation again,” he said.
Fray says to not worry what people think when you’re considering a major in adventure recreation management, because the opportunities that exist in the industry aren’t always well known to people.
“Do what you believe in and find what you find fun. At the end of the day, what you find fun is going to bring you happiness. I love adventuring, especially here and experiencing West Virginia.”
Though Fray is new to West Virginia and the ARM program, he’s been enjoying visiting all of what southern West Virginia has to offer, visiting Grandview and hiking.
Career ProfileGraduates of the program will leave with well-developed field skills, a solid background in management and the kind of real-world experience that makes them attractive to employers.
- County/City adventure programmer
- Challenge course manager
- Commercial outfitter operation manager
- Therapeutic adventure counselor
- Rafting river manager
- Climbing guide service manager
- Non-profit recreation program/camp director
- National Park Service, Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers recreation planner
Learn by doingStudents in the program will achieve an instructor or guide certification during the course of earning their degree. They'll also complete a hands-on professional field experience with a working adventure recreation organization or company to learn how to put their skills and management knowledge to work in the real world.
Things You'll Learn
Skills to navigate the wild and the working world.
Adventure Recreation Program Management
Build your knowledge and competency in the management of an adventure recreation enterprise. You'll learn about program design, risk management, budgeting, staffing and support operations.
Technical Skills Coursework
In advanced skills-based courses, you'll learn the techniques and skills needed to lead various outdoor programs in, but not limited to, whitewater paddling, rock climbing, mountain biking and more. You'll engage in hands-on activities that focus on site selection, equipment, logistics, permits, risk management, on-site trip management and group safety.
Wilderness First Responder
Learn how to save lives. This course provides the training necessary to become certified in dealing with various aspects and levels of outdoor or wilderness crises in forestry, recreation or any outdoor professionals.