George Mason University
Graduate School of Education - George Mason University

Our Graduate School of Education is the alma mater for one third of teachers and administrators in Northern Virginia’s world-class school systems. Each year, more than 3,000 graduate students enroll in our innovative academic programs, which include advanced study for teachers and school leaders, instructional design and technology, and a renowned PhD in Education program that is among the largest in the country.


School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism - George Mason University

The School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism (SRHT) offers exciting, career-ready majors in dynamic fields such as athletic training, tourism and events management, health and physical education, kinesiology, sport management, and recreation management. SRHT features renowned faculty, cutting-edge research, six laboratories and centers, and a diverse student body of more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year. Each major requires one or more internship or clinical experiences, ensuring that students graduate not just with a transcript but with a resume that demonstrates their professional aptitude and skills.

Groundbreaking Study Reveals Huge Economic Impact of Local Parks

December 7, 2015

A study by NOVA Parks and the Center for Regional Analysis found that the nation's local and regional parks contribute $140 billion in economic activity and 1 million jobs each year.


For Paul Gilbert, executive director of NOVA Parks, there are “two big, giant numbers” to take away from the just-released study that details the impact of the nation’s local and regional parks: $140 billion in economic activity and 1 million jobs.

That is what local and regional parks generated in 2013, the latest year in which data was available, according to a first-of-its-kind study by George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis and the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

“It’s a groundbreaking report,” Gilbert said. “We have factually, solidly researched data to support that parks are not only a great place to visit, but also impactful from an economic standpoint.”

(Gilbert is also Executive-in-Residence for the Recreation Management academic program within the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism, part of the College of Education and Human Development at Mason.)

Using NRPA’s database of 1,200 parks as a starting point, income streams were reviewed along with employment numbers and operational and capital spending. The data was correlated with the help of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Regional Input-Output Modeling System.

The study also examined the economic impact of local and regional parks in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.


Mason students have several undergraduate and graduate options for studying recreation management, which covers the management of events, facilities, and natural resources as well as professional practices and policies in the field.


“There have been studies that have been done about the national parks system, but this, to the best of our knowledge, was the first to look at local and regional parks on a national level,” said Terry Clower, deputy director of the Center for Regional Analysis and a professor of public policy at George Mason’s School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs.

“It was an important study for NRPA to better communicate the different types of value that local and regional parks have on national and regional economies,” Clower added. “They are an essential employer and contributor to regional and state economic activity.”

Interested in a degree in recreation management?

For students interested in studying recreation management, there are several options at Mason. You can: declare a major in Parks and Outdoor Recreation (BS in Health, Fitness, and Recreation Resources); earn a minor in Recreation Management; and/or pursue a graduate degree in Recreation Administration (MS in Sport and Recreation Studies).

Find out more at or make an appointment to speak with an academic advisor.

The original version of this article was written by Damian Cristodero for Mason News.


About CEHD

George Mason University's College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) includes two schools: the Graduate School of Education, one of the most comprehensive education schools in Virginia, and the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism. CEHD offers a full range of courses, certificates, and degree programs on campus, online, and on site to more than 4,000 students each year. CEHD is fully accredited by NCATE, and all licensure programs are approved by the Virginia Department of Education. George Mason University, located just outside of Washington, DC, is Virginia's largest public research university.

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