Steve McCool

Photo of McCool, Steve

Steve McCool

Professor Emeritus of Wildland Recreation Management


Personal Summary

Steve McCool is Professor, Wildland Recreation Management, Department of Society and Conservation. He joined the faculty of the School of Forestry in 1977, after serving on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin—River Falls and Utah State University. He has held special assignment positions with the USDA Forest Service Northern Region office, the Supervisor’s Office of the Flathead National Forest, and the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. From 1987 to 1993 he served as the first Director of the University of Montana Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research. From 1995 to 1999 he also served as the Coordinator of the Recreation Management Program at the University of Montana.

In 2001, he completed an edited volume (with Neil Moisey of the University of Montana) titled “Tourism, Recreation and Sustainability: Linking Culture and the Environment” published by CAB International. This 18 chapter book explores analytical frameworks, issues of sustainability and provides examples of sustainable tourism projects around the globe. With Paul Eagles of the University of Waterloo, he wrote the textbook “Tourism in National Parks: Planning and Management”, published by CAB International in 2004. Also, he is co-author of the IUCN Guidelines “Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas: Planning and Management”. This popular book was originally published in 2002, and has been translated into Spanish, Japanese and Korean.

In 2004, Steve served as a visiting scholar at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the Republic of South Africa teaching a special course in integrated protected area management.

In 2005, Dr. McCool was recognized by the USDA Forest Service with the “Excellence in Wilderness Stewardship Research” award. The Wild Foundation and editors of the International Journal of Wilderness also recognized him in 2005 for lifetime achievements in wilderness research.

Dr. McCool is an active wilderness and backcountry user, and accepts assignments dealing with protected area management in various areas of the world.


B.S. in Forestry from the University of Idaho in 1965
M.S. in Outdoor Recreation from the University of Minnesota in 1967
Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1970

Research Interests

Visitor management in protected areas
Natural Resource Planning