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About Eppley


The Eppley Institute was founded in 1993 by Indiana University. Jim Ridenour, just leaving his position as National Park Service Director, and former director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, became the first director of the Eppley Institute.

The Institute was named in honor of Dr. Garrett G. Eppley, coincidently Jim Ridenour’s uncle, and a pioneer in park and recreation education; a former chair, faculty member, interpreter, trainer and National Park Service recreation planner. The Eppley Institute traces its mission, approach, and goals to Garrett Eppley’s belief that a university should serve communities and lead the development of professionals who in turn serve the public.


The Eppley Institute prides itself on its mission, vision, values, and goals. The mission of the Institute is to partner with recreation, park, and public land organizations in order to enhance access, choice, and quality of natural, cultural, and recreational experiences for all people. In accomplishing, the Institute advances knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the increasingly complex and interconnected nature of parks, health, recreation, public lands and protected areas.

Our goals are to:

  • advance knowledge by seeking emergent trends and concepts for understanding and application
  • actively enhance Eppley Institute resources and capacity
  • expand and diversify the ways in which we share our knowledge
  • expand and diversify our partnerships
  • create awareness and demand for our intellectual property

We, at the Eppley Institute, are dedicated to meeting the needs of park, recreation, public health, and public land organizations. Our strategic foundation enables us to successfully provide high quality, practical services that meet each partner’s individual needs.