Michael Ferguson

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

Dr. Michael D. Ferguson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Recreation Management and Policy at the University of New Hampshire and the founder of the Applied Recreation Research Collaborative (ARRC) lab. His expertise in social science research focuses on visitor use management in parks and protected areas (PPAs). He collaborates with land managers, elected officials, and the outdoor industry to simultaneously provide: 1) high-quality visitor experiences, 2) protect natural and cultural resources, and 3) enhance economic opportunities in and around PPA settings.

Dr. Ferguson and his team conduct scientifically grounded and legally defensible research on various topics, 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. They collaborate with organizations such as the USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sea Grant, State Parks and Forests, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and other federal, state, local, and private PPA organizations.

For more information, please visit the Applied Recreation Research Collaborative (ARRC) lab website at www.unharrc.org.


  • 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

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

Selected Publications

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., McIntosh, K., English, D. B. K., Ferguson, L. A., Barcelona, R., Giles, G., . . . Leberman, M. (2022). The Outdoor Renaissance: Assessing the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic upon Outdoor Recreation Visitation, Behaviors, and Decision-Making in New England's National Forests. SOCIETY & NATURAL RESOURCES, 35(10), 1063-1082. doi:10.1080/08941920.2022.2055247

Bidwell, D., Firestone, J., & Ferguson, M. D. (2022). Love thy neighbor (or not): Regionalism and support for the use of offshore wind energy by others. Energy Research & Social Science, 90, 102599. doi:10.1016/j.erss.2022.102599

Ferguson, M. D., Caraynoff, A. R., Ferguson, L. A., Barcelona, R. J., Evensen, D., Knox, H., . . . Grosz, D. (2022). Whether They Return: Modeling Outdoor Recreation Behaviors, Decision Making, and Intention-to-Return in Congressionally Designated Wilderness. FORESTS, 13(7). doi:10.3390/f13071018

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