Douglas Rideout, a professor in Colorado State University’s Forest Economics Department, found his passion in his love for the outdoors. This has developed into 35 years of working in the field — and at CSU.
Rideout grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where you can now find the Glacier Peak Wilderness. As a child he was constantly outside, whether it was hiking, climbing, or mountaineering. He was always making sure to take care of the world around him.
Rideout ultimately found his way to the University of Washington’s forestry school, and after taking an economics course, he felt driven to become a forest economist. He found academia fascinating, so becoming a professor in forest economics seemed like the perfect fit.
Celebrate! CSU Milestones
Colorado State University employees achieving a decade of service or more this year and retirees will be honored at the annual Celebrate! CSU Milestones event Tuesday, May 2, at 4 p.m. in the LSC Grand Ballroom.
Every day is an adventure
Growing up, the summers were one of Rideout’s favorite memories: His home was six miles from the nearest road. He would spend time out in the wilderness involved in ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation. Part of this included creating a healthy and diverse environment to rejuvenate growth.
“It was a pretty obvious for me to go to forestry school; it was a natural fit,” he said. He also worked summer jobs during college in the Cascade Mountains of Washington and on the Olympic peninsula where he spent a lot of time restoring the forest.
Rideout continued his schooling and received his Ph.D. in Forest Management and Economics from UW in 1983. His goal was to stay in academia after completing his education, so he was ecstatic to receive an offer from CSU. “It kind of all lined up,” he said.
Rideout packed up all of his belongings and made his way from Washington to Colorado. During his drive, he recalled how when he drove into Fort Collins the culture began to change. He expressed how he is glad he didn’t turn around and go back home; everything turned out to be just fine.
As a professor in forestry he loves that every day is different and he is grateful to be on the cutting edge of research and education. He loves that students are constantly changing and hopes that his lively lectures make an impact. “The students are always keeping you on your toes, exciting to be with, and I enjoy interacting with the students. it’s important for students to be part of the learning experience of the classroom,” said Rideout.
At the forefront of research
Rideout teaches two classes at CSU: Forest Economics and Fire Policy and Economics. “It’s a lot of fun to be directly involved with a topic like land fire,” he said. “We are on a forefront of teaching, and research is really exciting.”
Rideout is involved in a lot of research. He works with the Department of Interior where he helps build the software and analytics for budgeting. He enjoys the new material and hopes that it will help with better planning and budgeting in his field.
The most challenging part of being a researcher is that it is constantly changing. He explained how it’s difficult to find new material and be able to represent it in a positive way. “This challenge is every day, but it’s also part of the excitement,” Rideout said.
Along with the constant changes in research, Rideout recalled how the field has changed over the years. Forestry programs have begun to emphasize more on environmental values and ecosystem management. “There was a real pivotal change that occurred that has changed how we view everything in forestry,” he said. “We take a much more holistic view now than we used to.”
Rideout loves having a career on a college campus because of the wonderful atmosphere and culture of the CSU community, and enjoys that every day is new and exciting. Since his childhood he has enjoyed taking care of the world around him and he has been able to continue to do that throughout his career.