Michael D. Ferguson, Assistant Professor, Recreation Management and Policy

Michael Ferguson

Associate Professor
Phone: (603) 862-1644
Office: Recreation Management & Policy, Hewitt Hall Rm 193, Durham, NH 03824

I am a social scientist and an expert in recreation management and policy, specializing in visitor use management within parks and protected areas (PPAs). My work aims to enhance visitor experiences, protect natural and cultural resources, and promote economic opportunities in and around PPA settings. In collaboration with land managers, elected officials, and the outdoor industry, I conduct scientifically rigorous research to support informed decision-making and policy development in and around PPAs.

My expertise encompasses a wide range of areas including visitor use management, carrying capacity, managed access, visitor education, needs assessments, program and facility evaluations, economic impact, workforce development, ecological impacts, energy development, and climate change.

For additional information, please refer to the Applied Recreation Research Collaborative (ARRC) lab's website at <a href="http://www.unharrc.org">www.unharrc.org</a&gt;.

Courses Taught

  • RMP 515: Hist Outdoor Pursuits North Am
  • RMP 559: Mktg Recreation
  • RMP 670: Venue Mgmt Design & Operations
  • RMP 711/811: Recreation Resource Management
  • RMP 806: Rec Admin & Organization Behav
  • RMP 970: Teaching Practicum
  • RMP 980: Independent Study


  • Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
  • M.S., West Virginia University
  • B.S., West Virginia University

Research Interests

  • Social/Behavioral Science Planning/Policy
  • Parks & Recreation Management
  • Natural Resources Management
  • Recreation and Leisure Studies
  • Tourism
  • Social & Economic Environment

Selected Publications

  • Ferguson, M. D., Robinson, T., Ferguson, L. A., Evensen, D., Schwartz, F., Gonyo, S., & Freitag, A. (2024). Cultivating commitment: how cultural ecosystem services affect visitor loyalty attitudes and intention-to-return in parks and protected areas. Ecosystems and People, 20(1). doi:10.1080/26395916.2023.2297560

  • Ferguson, L. A., Ferguson, M. D., Rodrigues, K., Evensen, D., Caraynoff, A. R., Persson, K., . . . Eisenhaure, S. (2024). The role of health and wellbeing in shaping local park experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, 46, 100739. doi:10.1016/j.jort.2024.100739

  • Smith, M., Ferguson, M., Ferguson, L., Contosta, A., Burakowski, E., Levine, D., & Rogers, S. (2024). From a Shorter Winter Season to More Storm Damage: New Hampshire Outdoor Recreation Providers Feel Climate Impacts Far More than Visitors. https://scholars.unh.edu/carsey/484/: Carsey School of Public Polic. Retrieved from https://scholars.unh.edu/carsey/484/

  • Ferguson, M. D., Lynch, M. L., Evensen, D., Ferguson, L. A., Barcelona, R., Giles, G., & Leberman, M. (2023). The nature of the pandemic: Exploring the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic upon recreation visitor behaviors and experiences in parks and protected areas.. J Outdoor Recreat Tour, 41, 100498. doi:10.1016/j.jort.2022.100498

  • Ferguson, M. D., Perry, E. E., Lynch, M., Ferguson, L. A., Kiewra, L. A., Leberman, M., . . . Manning, R. E. (2022). Expanding the viewshed: Insights and implications for examining visitor use management across scales and modalities in an Iconic National Forest. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, 40, 100570. doi:10.1016/j.jort.2022.100570

  • Ferguson, M. D., Evensen, D., Ferguson, L. A., Bidwell, D., Firestone, J., Dooley, T. L., & Mitchell, C. R. (2021). Uncharted waters: Exploring coastal recreation impacts, coping behaviors, and attitudes towards offshore wind energy development in the United States. ENERGY RESEARCH & SOCIAL SCIENCE, 75. doi:10.1016/j.erss.2021.102029

  • Ferguson, M. D., Lynch, M. L., Miller, Z. D., Ferguson, L. A., & Newman, P. (2020). What do outdoor recreationists think of fracking? Politics, ideology, and perceptions of shale gas energy development in Pennsylvania State Forests. ENERGY RESEARCH & SOCIAL SCIENCE, 62. doi:10.1016/j.erss.2019.101384

  • Miller, Z. D., Ferguson, L. A., Newman, P., Ferguson, M., Tipton, N., Sparrow, V., & Taff, B. D. (2020). Developing visitor thresholds of sound from shale natural gas compressors for motorized and non-motorized recreation users in Pennsylvania State Forests. APPLIED ACOUSTICS, 157. doi:10.1016/j.apacoust.2019.107012

  • Ferguson, M. D., Powers, S. L., Trauntvein, N., Jacquet, J. B., Graefe, A. R., & Mowen, A. J. (2019). Winds of change - Predicting water-based recreationists' support and opposition for offshore wind energy development in the Great Lakes. JOURNAL OF GREAT LAKES RESEARCH, 45(1), 187-195. doi:10.1016/j.jglr.2018.10.006

  • Ferguson, M. D., Mueller, J. T., Graefe, A. R., & Mowen, A. J. (2018). Coping with Climate Change: A Study of Great Lakes Water-Based Recreationists. JOURNAL OF PARK AND RECREATION ADMINISTRATION, 36(2), 52-74. doi:10.18666/JPRA-2018-V36-I2-8296

  • Most Cited Publications