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Research Center for River Recreation and Tourism







The Research Center for River Recreation and Tourism at Texas State University-San Marcos is an interdisciplinary center that draws a variety of perspectives to help foster river stewardship through appropriate recreation and tourism. The Center's purposes and vision emphasize the commitment to stewardship of river systems, including springs, wetlands, and estuaries, as well as the main river courses.

The Center's activities focus on research and technical assistance, plus education. The Center is located in the Department of Geography and works closely with The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, the Center for the Study of the Southwest, and the program in outdoor recreation at Texas State University-San Marcos.

For more information contact Dr. Jim Kimmel at jk02@txstate.edu.


  1. To conduct theoretical and applied research on topics related to the recreational and tourism use of Earth's river systems, including springs, wetlands, and estuaries, as well as the main river courses, and to disseminate the results of this research via academic presentations and journals; seminars, courses, and workshops; books; the Internet and other media; and technical assistance.
  2. To help define the ethics of environmentally responsible recreation and tourism and to promote forms of recreation and tourism that facilitate conservation.
  3. To help give voice to environmentally responsible recreation and tourism regarding resource allocation, protection, management, and the means of implementation.
  4. To continue to oversee and refine the undergraduate minor in Nature and Heritage Tourism at Texas State University-San Marcos.


Rivers are a major part of Earth's circulatory system, supplying nutrients to support the oceans' biological productivity, plus other important natural and cultural functions. But rivers are also used for consumptive uses and waste disposal in ways that reduce their essential flows and otherwise hinder their crucial functions. Recreation and tourism are increasingly important uses of rivers. These are essential human activities that can be instrumental in helping people understand and support proper river stewardship.

The Research Center for River Recreation and Tourism will encourage and facilitate research from all relevant disciplines and will foster a holistic perspective on river systems. The Center will particularly focus on developing and disseminating an understanding of the processes and methods by which recreation and tourism can lead to better stewardship.

Research, Publications, and Technical Assistance Projects

Interdisciplinary Minor in Nature and Heritage Tourism

What is Nature and Heritage Tourism?
When people travel to enjoy natural beauty, to see animals and plants, to visit historical sites, to experience cultures different from their own, to relive their own heritage - that is nature and heritage tourism. Nature and heritage tourism combines travel, enjoyment, and learning.

How is the minor organized?
The minor consists of twenty-four semester hours, including six hours of required core courses and eighteen hours selected from a menu of courses from fourteen departments at Texas State. Your Nature and Heritage Tourism advisor will help you tailor a curriculum that coordinates with your major and prepares you to enter the nature and heritage tourism profession with a solid foundation of skills and fundamental concepts.

What are the career opportunities?

You may work as a tour guide or in planning, development, administration, or marketing. You may work for state or federal agencies such as the National Park Service. The greatest opportunity now is with tour outfitters and cruise lines.

Nature Heritage & Tourism Curriculum for Geography Minor (PDF)

Geography Department Undergraduate Degree Program