Michael Ferguson

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

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Recreation Management and Policy at the University of New Hampshire. I design, manage, and analyze natural resource research in national parks, national forests, and state and private recreation areas. I apply social science research methods to explore the impacts of social, situational, and ecological factors upon outdoor recreation visitation within parks and protected areas. Specifically, my research models visitor behaviors and decision-making within a social-ecological systems context. My research provides resource managers with empirical data-driven solutions to inform public-policy. Research collaborators include the USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sea Grant, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and other various federal, state, and local agencies.

A second aspect of my career involves educating and mentoring undergraduate and graduate level university students. I teach courses such as recreation resource management, human dimension of natural environments, recreation facility design and management, marketing the recreation experience, and the history of outdoor recreation. I model my teaching philosophy on a constructivist approach where I include applied, experiential, and group-based learning techniques which emphasize the development of applicable problem-solving skills. Throughout all of my courses I include elements of my own research to provide students with real-world situation and resulting trade-offs to better prepare them as they emerge as recreation professionals.

I am also the co-founder of the Applied Recreation Research Collaborative (ARRC) laboratory at the University of New Hampshire. For more information, please visit: https://www.unharrc.com/


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

Research Interests

  • Climate Change
  • Ecological Zones
  • Energy Environmental Sciences
  • Energy Planning/Policy
  • Natural Resources Management
  • Parks & Recreation Management
  • Recreation and Leisure Studies
  • Social Science Education
  • Tourism

Courses Taught

  • RMP 515: Hist Outdoor Pursuits North Am
  • RMP 559: Program and Event Marketing
  • RMP 670: Venue Mgmt Design & Operations
  • RMP 711/811: Recreation Resource Management
  • RMP 770: Mgt & Design Recreation & Park
  • RMP 770/870: Mgt & Design Recreation & Park
  • RMP 806: Rec Admin & Organization Behav
  • RMP 970: Teaching Practicum
  • RMP 980: Independent Study

Selected Publications

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, 102029. 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., Lynch, M. L., Powers, S. L., Barrett, A. B., Evensen, D., Graefe, A. R., & Mowen, A. J. (2019). The Impacts of Shale Natural Gas Energy Development on Outdoor Recreation: A Statewide Assessment of Pennsylvanians. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, 27(1), 1-10. doi:10.1016/j.jort.2019.100230

Kim, J. H., Ferguson, M. D., Hickerson, B. D., & Mowen, A. J. (2019). The Association of Constraints, Negotiations, and Social Influences with Recreation Specialization among Recreational Baseball Participants. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 37(1), 40-58. doi:10.18666/JPRA-2019-8794

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., Burns, R. C., & Smaldone, D. (2018). Innovations in Outdoor Recreation Visitor Use Management: Applying Market Segmentation at the Timberline Lodge Recreation Complex. International Leisure Review, 7(1), 108-131. doi:10.6298/ILR.201806_7(01).0006

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