||In Canada, tension between the reaction to the declining number of visitors to protected areas and the potential for unmitigated impacts of the attendant attempts to increase visitation, highlights the need for an expansion of the role of recreation ecology from merely chronicling impacts to, what might hopefully be termed, “optimizing” them. Despite over four decades of significant growth and development internationally, recreation ecology remains a somewhat obscure discipline in Canada. At MMV-3 Marion (1) identified a small group of “active” recreation ecology researchers in Canada many of whose work was an extension of their primary research purpose. Indeed most researchers working in recreation ecology in Canada are unlikely to view themselves as recreational ecologists, but in terms of their source disciplines (Botany, Zoology, Ecology, Geography). As such, recreation ecology in Canada is often an avocation reflecting the intersection of the researchers’ primary interest with an opportunity presented or identified by park managers. One result of this has been an almost exclusive focus on impacts with all its attendant negative associations. Impacts associated with outdoor recreation have been recognized as inevitable (2). I would argue that they are also necessary and that much outdoor recreation cannot take place without impacts. Recent research on recreational habitats in remote areas of northern Canada highlighted the importance of impacted nodes and corridors to recreational activity (3). The rearguard action we have been engaged in with the focus on previously impacted sites has prevented the effective application of recreation ecology to as yet “undiscovered” recreation areas and the optimization of impacts for recreation. Doing so will require an investment in “big science” incorporating multi-disciplinary teams. This will be challenging given that recreation ecology has struggled to be funded even at “small science” levels, particularly so in Canada, where it falls between the cracks of the national granting councils.