Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type

Professional Paper

Faculty Mentor

Deena Mansour


outoors, recreation, marginalized communities, outdoor access, social justice

Subject Categories

African American Studies | American Popular Culture | Community Health | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Environmental Public Health | Environmental Studies | Latina/o Studies | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Movement and Mind-Body Therapies | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Other Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Recreational Therapy | Social Justice | Women's Studies


Exclusion from outdoor recreation reflects legacies of oppression of marginalized communities and makes access to the outdoors not equally available. In the United States, approximately 38% of Black Americans and 48% of Hispanic Americans participated in outdoor recreation in 2020. This is compared to 55% participation among Caucasian Americans. Many other intersecting identities are actively excluded, including people with disabilities, fat populations, and members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community; furthermore, class-based hierarchies are shown through the restricted outdoor access of low-income populations.

While numerous studies show a lack of diversity in outdoor recreation, little to no research has been conducted on the experience of marginalized groups in higher education settings globally and at the University of Montana (UM). The first part of our project includes an event where we invited outdoor community groups within the Missoula and UM community to connect with students and share their resources. We also conducted an anonymous survey of students at the University of Montana to better understand their experiences with outdoor recreation and the barriers in place. Participants were asked a series of questions about their recreation experiences and participation with various outdoor groups within the Missoula community. They were also asked questions relating to the barriers they may face to outdoor participation, with responses including quantitative answers and open-space personal reflections. Respondents reported facing seven key barriers to outdoor recreation: financial, social, lack of information, accessibility, time and money, safety, and transportation. The main objective of our research is to better understand the experience of and identify the barriers to outdoor recreation for various marginalized groups at the University of Montana so that we can better promote community awareness.

Honors College Research Project


GLI Capstone Project




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