Dr. Stevenson is a native Kansan, growing up in the small town of Olpe. Annual family camping vacations and the many athletic and outdoor opportunities available in a small community influenced his selection of a career in recreation and park management.
Prior to his arrival at Kansas State, Dr. Stevenson had accumulated several related professional experiences, including: Assistant Director of the Emporia Recreation Commission, 6 years as an Instructor and Coordinator of the Recreation Curriculum at Emporia State University, and 6 summers as the owner operator of the marina at Steamboat Lake, Colorado. He also spent a season as a professional big-game hunting guide in Colorado and commercial salmon fisherman in Alaska.
At KSU he teaches 5 core RRES courses and supervises the student fieldwork experiences. When asked about his focus for students, he adds, “My approach has been to prepare students as skilled decision makers, capable of utilizing all available resources and then implementing the best choice under the circumstances. I stay highly involved with practicing professionals and strive to bring state of the art practices to the classroom.”
His research and service contributions are focused on comprehensive planning. His current project, the KS RecFinder, is an interactive database of recreation and park amenities, including trails. The general public can use the service free of charge to find parks and recreation experiences statewide. Dr. Stevenson adds, “It grew out of a need highlighted in the State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), and serves well as a planning tool – allowing agencies to benchmark their levels of service…..the public interactive use has become an important spin-off benefit.
Dr. Stevenson offers some suggestions that work for him, for others to better enjoy their outdoor recreation experiences. He notes, “I continue to be an active and varied recreation participant but have tended over time to enjoy the simple experiences the most. I prefer tent camping away from the crowd and fishing small ponds using a belly boat (float tube) over lakes. I tie/build my own flies and lures and reload my own shells. To me these simpler methods highlight the sensory benefits from an outdoor experience. Right now I am restoring a 12’ wood and canvas boat from the 40’s and look forward to putting it on the water this fall.”