Outdoor Recreation - Planning and Management

Course content

The Outdoor Recreation course is a problem and knowledge based course, which offer you a unique insight in the linkages between peoples’ recreational use of nature and the management and planning of nature areas. The course deals with practical and theoretical aspects of planning, management and governance of outdoor recreation (or ‘friluftsliv’ in Danish). In this course, you will learn from a management point of view how to deal with visitors and users of nature areas based on both theoretical and practical management related knowledge.

In a sustainable development perspective, outdoor recreation connects people and nature, and thereby offers insight into social-ecological interactions and dynamics that are central to sustainability thinking. The course relates to Sustainable Development Goals 3 (good health and well-being), 10 (reduced inequalities), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 14 (life below water), and 15 (life on land).     

Outdoor recreation are an integrated part of multiple policies, e.g. forest and afforestation policy, public health policy, municipal landscape planning, urban green space planning, agricultural policy, rural development, nature policy, and protected area management. These different policy, planning and management fields will form the problem base of the course.  Hence, a multitude of recreation environments is in focus, including urban green space recreation, forest recreation, countryside recreation, protected area visitation, wilderness recreation, and coastal and marine recreation.

The following themes are included: visitors’ values, attitudes, perception, experiences and behaviors; conflicts between user groups; public accessibility; public participation; collaboration between stakeholders; volunteering; and nature-based integration.  Planning and management focus includes balanced use and protection of nature; zoning and multifunctional approaches; and management of recreation facilities. Further, the course has focus on documenting, monitoring and mapping of visitors by interviews, surveys, visitor counting, public participatory GIS, GPS, and App’s (user-generated content) in order to support planning and management of outdoor recreation.

The course has an international set-up and include examples and cases from Denmark and other countries.


MSc Programme in Landscape Architecture
MSc Programme in Nature Management

Learning outcome


  • Analyze outdoor recreation as a product of a human-nature relationship (the interrelationships of outdoor recreation activities, motivations, expectations, facilities, and natural settings).
  • Identify benefits of outdoor recreation and areas of conflict which planning and management must address.
  • Explain and describe outdoor recreation planning frameworks.
  • Describe and reflect on key actors, user groups and stakeholders in relation to creating opportunities and regulating outdoor recreation.
  • Discuss strengths and weaknesses of methods for visitor monitoring and mapping



  • Apply a variety of planning frameworks for management of outdoor recreation, including approaches for monitoring and assessing outdoor recreation.
  • Identify key stakeholders and potential issues related to the formulation of policy and planning documents with relevance for outdoor recreation planning and management.



  • Apply the main points of theory and evidence-based knowledge about outdoor recreation to planning practice and areas of conflict.
  • Apply and justify the choice of specific methods and adapt them to current planning practice and management situations, including consideration of the actors that are relevant to involve and when in the process.
  • Fill out various operational roles within the outdoor recreation sector such as a manager or consultant, including lead and advice on the initiation, development and implementation of professional or interdisciplinary networks and partnerships.

As a rule, the lectures will be based on a dialogue between teachers and students. The course includes theoretical exercises and active student participation, e.g. discussions and oral student presentations in line with the final exam setup. Furthermore, excursions and interactions with Danish key outdoor recreation organizations such as the Nature Agency (Naturstyrelsen), The Danish Forest Association (Dansk Skovforening) The Danish Outdoor Council (Friluftsrådet), and The Danish Society for Nature Conservation (Danmarks Naturfredningsforening) are integrated in the course.

Please see Absalon.

Bachelor degree in Natural Resource Management, Landscape Architecture, Geography, Biology, Exercise and Sports (idræt), Environmental Science, or similar, is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 25 min
The students have 24 hours to prepare a presentation (15 min), followed by a discussion (10 min) of the presentation in relation to the syllabus and the core areas of competence of the course.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 134
  • Exercises
  • 18
  • Excursions
  • 12
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 3
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Geosciences and Management
Contracting department
  • Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Anton Stahl Olafsson   (4-65777370446d6b72326f7932686f)

Sandra Gentin; Søren Præstholm; Berit Charlotte Kaae; Hans Skov-Petersen; Natalie Gulsrud

Saved on the 09-12-2021

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