Tourism & PA Seminar

“Look deep inside nature and you will understand everything”

Planning and Managing Tourism in Protected Areas Mobile Seminar

September 7-23, 2017
download seminar flyer here
download seminar brochure here
download ideas about potential funding here

The mobile seminar on Planning and Managing Tourism in Protected Areas is an intensive, 2.5 week seminar (in English) for individuals involved in efforts to use tourism and outdoor recreation in protected areas. The seminar will review how tourism in protected areas can help create public support for conservation, contribute to public health, fund protected area management, and provide economic benefits to local communities and national economies. Ideal participants will be mid-level professional and technical personnel who work for governmental or nongovernmental conservation and tourism organizations, in academia, in the private sector, and in community-based and indigenous tourism and conservation initiatives in or near protected areas.

The seminar will begin on the campus of Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, Colorado, next to the majestic Rocky Mountains, one hour north of Denver, Colorado’s capital city. Most of the seminar will be spent in the field visiting protected areas offering a wide range of tourism programs.  These parks and reserves include a wide variety of habitat types and cultural resources and are managed by federal, state, and local governments; NGOs; and private landowners. Highlights will include trips to Rocky Mountain, Jewell Cave, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and several national forests, monuments, and wildlife refuges plus visits to a western Dude Ranch (agro-tourism) and a variety of other local and regional tourism attractions. A variety of protected area management categories, governance types, and types and levels of tourism activities discussed will provide participants with unparalleled opportunities to learn about tourism planning and management approaches in protected areas and adjacent gateway communities.

  • Planning for tourism and public use in protected areas: zoning, management plans, indicator and standards-base planning frameworks, stakeholder involvement and destination planning
  • Legal and policy frameworks: best practices in legal and policy frameworks to support sustainable tourism and conservation
  • Typology of tourism activities in protected areas: recreational opportunity spectrum; common activities (hiking, sport fishing, sport hunting, water sports, winter sports, bird watching, camping, picnicking, guided tours, etc.)
  • Tourism and climate change: resilience, mitigation, adaptation and education
  • Institutional arrangements: role of different government actors and levels of government; local communities, landowners, academia, businesses, NGOs, indigenous people, universities, industry associations, user groups, volunteers, and concessionaires and other public-private partnerships
  • Monitoring and evaluation: visitor expectations, behavior, and impacts; environment impact assessment; long term monitoring of environmental, economic and social impacts of tourism on natural areas, cultural heritage, communities and wildlife; risk assessment
  • Infrastructure; transportation networks; hotels; campsites; souvenir shops; restrooms; food and fuel; emergency services; signage; staff housing and facilities; public services (water, sewerage, electricity, trash disposal; communications, etc.)
  • Interpretation and environmental education; guided and self guided walks and trails; visitor centers; night programs; wayside exhibits; publications; the role of guides and outfitters
The course fee of $5,000 includes course registration and tuition, course materials, lodging, most meals and ground transportation costs during the workshop, insurance (health and accident), and basic outdoor equipment. Air travel costs and visa and passport fees are not included in the course fee. It is recommended that participants bring an additional $300 to purchase appropriate personal equipment for field trips. This cost does not include airfare from participants’ countries to Denver, Colorado (DEN) or from Jackson Hole, Wyoming (JAC) to their home countries; these are the beginning and ending airports we will use. Colorado State University (CSU) does not offer scholarships to the course. Participants and their organizations are expected to cover their travel and tuition costs directly or with the help of sponsors. CSU can help accepted participants to process short-term visas for their travel to the USA once tuition has been deposited into our course account.Click here for tips on how to find potential funding.
You can expect to participate with a group of around 18 to 24 participants, and with many different backgrounds. English language competency is a prerequisite for participation.
Participants will travel to a number of destinations over a 2.5 week period. The workshop will combine a series of modules and activities on cross-cutting issues that involve intensive and active engagement of the participants. Teaching methods will include lectures, discussion sessions, small group exercises, participant presentations, and informal exchanges among participants, faculty and invited speakers. The workshop will also include a variety of activities to build camaraderie and help participants understand the challenges to sustainable tourism in natural areas and the importance of highly trained personnel. These include a challenge “ropes” course, interpreter-guided hikes, and spending time with concessionaires and outfitters to experience firsthand protected area tourism programs. Throughout the course, there will be numerous times where participants will present on selected topics to the rest of the group, thereby sharing their expertise and providing examples from around the world.ABOUT ABOUT COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY
For more than fifty years, Colorado State University’s College of Natural Resources has played a leadership role in research, teaching, training, and technical assistance related to the world’s parks and protected natural areas and associated tourism and recreation activities.  The Center for Protected Area Management and (CPAM) at CSU was formed to assist protected area professionals in strengthening the management of the world’s protected areas and adjacent lands. CPAM has conducted training for tourism and conservation practitioners for over 20 years in the US, Latin America, and throughout globe.
2017 Seminar Dates: 7-23 September 2017. Participants must arrive in Denver, Colorado (DEN) on September 6, and must plan to depart from Jackson Hole, Wyoming (JAC) on September 24 or from Denver, Colorado (DEN) on September 25.


In order to apply for the seminar, you must fill out the online tourism application form. The online form is 10 pages long, and combines the previous application with the letter of interest. This is a two-part application process:

1. Fill out the full 10 pages of the application, saving as you go, and submit.
2. Separately, email the following documents to

  • CV or resume,
  • a copy of your passport photo and information page,
  • a copy of your US visa (if you have one),
  • a letter of institutional support (or letter of recommendation if self employed or a student).
NOTE: For slower connections, please make sure you are periodically saving your progress in the application. This can be accomplished by selecting “Save” in the bottom right of the application. You will be prompted to input your email, and a link to your saved application will be sent by email. This way you can pick up where you left off in the application process, and not lose any of the data you have already entered.

In order to complete the application, you should plan on having the following information on hand:

  • Be able to answer the question “Why are you interested in attending this training opportunity”
  • Passport information
  • Visa information, if available
  • Information about your occupation, including job title and responsibilities, supervisor name and contact information, and physical address
  • Your contact information, including email, phone, Skype (if applicable), WhatsApp phone number (if applicable), home address
  • Emergency contact information
  • Health insurance information and details on any relevant medical issues (including medications taken, allergies, dietary restrictions, and medical conditions). Note: This information is for our personal use so that, in the event of your participation in the training seminar, we are prepared to aid you with any medical assistance necessary.
  • Funding status, including funding organization name and contact information
  • 8-10 line personal profile (this will be used for us to better get to know applicants, and compiled in a profile document for those chosen to attend the training seminar).

For additional information you can email the course coordinators at:

Applications will be accepted until May 22, 2017. Successful applicants will be notified in June. Tuition funds must be deposited by June 25, 2017 to guarantee your space in the course.

Jim Barborak ( and Ryan Finchum ( are the course coordinators. Dr. Steve McCool of the University of Montana will serve as senior course adviser. Additionally, the course draws on expertise from University faculty and our agency partners.