Tourism, Outdoor Recreation & Nature Economy

  • New Hampshire bridge

Leveraging Natural, Cultural and Historical Assets

From forests to farms to historic downtowns, New Hampshire has a wide variety of natural and cultural resources that can enhance quality of life for residents and generate economic benefits to communities. Oftentimes, these assets require proactivity, intentionality, and strategy for communities to leverage them. UNH Cooperative Extension provides communities with support to bring these assets to their full potential.


New Hampshire’s iconic natural beauty, local culture and recreational offerings draw more than 10 million visitors annually. These strengths also have the power to revitalize communities, incentivize investment, and attract new residents and workforce talent. Extension is committed to supporting tourism development that sustains and improves the quality of life for residents and protects our cultural and natural resources.

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Portsmouth NH waterfront

Outdoor Recreation

We work with communities to leverage their natural and cultural resources to create resilient and sustainable economies that highlight the state's diverse natural resources and unique quality of life.

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hikers feet on a dirt trail

Nature Economy

We aim to help communities connect the environment and natural resources with community goals to create vibrant economies and high quality of life for all. This can be in the form of assisting communities in identifying and utilizing their natural capital, such as connecting their downtowns with trails and leveraging green infrastructure to reduce or maintain costs of community services.

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scenic New Hampshire mountain view

Each community and project is unique. We are happy to consult with you about how our team may be helpful to your community's specific needs.

In general, below is a sample of services we have provided or helped to facilitate with our partners:

  • Long-term community-based programming
  • Educational workshops 
  • Project technical assistance
  • Technical reports
  • Community or regional assessments
  • Asset inventories
  • Economic impact analyses
  • Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods research
  • Strategic planning and visioning
  • Group facilitation work
  • Funding and grant writing guidance (note: we do not provide direct grant writing services)

Please click the topic area link above for more information about our programs or contact us.



Every year in New Hampshire, a wide variety of trail and recreation groups across the state are working hard to build, maintain, and improve recreatio... Learn More
OPD has the Answer.
Wading through the regulatory framework of what communities can and cannot do, and staying on top of recent trends and growth pressures can seem daunt... Learn More
Community and Economic Development staff presented the Hopkinton-Contoocook Downtowns and Trail program report and findings at a community showcase he... Learn More
Pros and Cons of Assessement Methods
A community needs assessment is an essential process for understanding the opinions, assumptions, needs, key issues, and assets within a defined commu... Learn More
During a weekend in mid-March, over 2,000 people flowed into the Thomas F. Sullivan Ice Arena at St. Anselm College in Goffstown. This wasn’t a hockey... Learn More
Mountain biking economic analysis supports community decision making and engages students
Mountain biking is an increasingly popular outdoor recreation activity in New Hampshire and beyond. Communities recognize mountain biking's economic o... Learn More



This report provides an in-depth look a the program's journey, the valuable assets each community discovered, the opportunities that emerged, and... Learn More
A vibrant community relies on several key components, including economic vitality, community health, natural resources and recreation, community engag... Learn More
Many communities have trails in close proximity to their downtowns/village centers/business districts. We share the opportunities and challenges of wo... Learn More
Over a series of months, we worked with the Hopkinton, New Hampshire community on how to better connect its trails with its business center, the Villa... Learn More
Cultivating Farm Experiences is a four-part Zoom webinar series that examines agritourism. Each session focuses on the different aspects of incorporat... Learn More
An increasing number of farms in NH and beyond are incorporating agritourism activities and/or event hosting into their business models. While these c... Learn More