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History & Mission

November 16, 2009


The Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands was founded in 1993 by the Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies Department at 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 owes many of its attitudes, missions, and goals regarding parks and recreation to Garrett Eppley.


The Eppley Institute prides itself on its core values and goals. The mission of the Institute is to partner with recreation, park, and public land organizations to enhance access, choice, and quality of natural, cultural, and recreational experiences.

Our goals are to:

  • advance knowledge—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, and public land organizations. Our strategic foundation enables us to successfully provide high quality, practical services that meet each partner’s individual needs.

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