ITRR Director Norma Nickerson Retires

The W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation celebrates Dr. Norma Nickerson as she retires from her position as research professor and director of the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana. The ITRR is responsible for Montana’s travel and recreation research including the economic impact of tourism, geotourism studies, visitor characteristics, public lands and tourism research, market segmentations and other niche studies related to tourism and recreation in Montana and surrounding areas.

Norma Nickerson

Norma earned a B.S. from the University of North Dakota and a M.S. and PhD in recreation and leisure from the University of Utah. During her career, she has authored three books: Snapshots: An Introduction to Tourism 6th Ed. (2014); Quality Tourism Experiences (2006); and Foundations of Tourism (1995). She has written hundreds of research reports and journal articles and has spoken throughout Montana as well as nationally and internationally about tourism.

Norma has served on the international board of the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) and is past president of the Greater Western Chapter of TTRA. She served on the editorial board of the Journal of Travel Research for over a decade and served on the Missoula Parks and Recreation Board from 2010-2015. She also served as chair of the Helena Branch Board of Directors of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank Board, Helena Branch in 2019-20.

While she has too many favorite FCFC memories to share them all, many center on connections with coworkers and students. One includes going to Lubrecht Experimental Forest for the annual holiday party in the '90s and cutting down Christmas trees together as a faculty with families in tow.

Norma says she now plans to enjoy the outdoors and to spend as much time as possible with her grandchildren.

“I will take a gap year before jumping into anything else,” Norma says. “This will consist of hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, camping and simply enjoying all that nature has to offer. That is what completes me and fills my soul with happiness. Doing this with my husband who also loves the outdoors is especially exciting.”

She also plans to build bluebird house for her property in the Paradise Valley, learn about the geology of the Yellowstone ecosystem, start rock hounding, and ever so slowly become a birder. She also would like to volunteer with a number of organizations and give back to society.

From all of us at the FCFC, congratulations on an outstanding career, Norma! We count ourselves lucky to have you as part of our community.