GORP – Guide and Outfitter Recognized Professional
Welcome Guides, Outfitters and Tour Operators!
What is GORP?
GORP is a recognition and training program for guides and outfitters offered by Oregon State University Extension/Oregon Sea Grant. This program consists of 4 online courses organized by content (Local, State, National, Global) which can be completed at your own pace, with potential to complete in a few days.
The program also includes live workshops on various topics that will be offered on a continuous basis to address current topics as identified by faculty and by professional guides. Content has been developed by faculty with input from professional guides. Qualified participants may test-out of each module.
GORP Professional Guide Participant Testimonials Fall 2018:
- “I would recommend [the GORP Program] because it is not time consuming, but highlights a lot of valuable information.”
- “This course is a step in the right direction in raising the level of professionalism…It made me think about elements of my profession I could further learn about.”
- “I would recommend this course to others, for their own development and for strengthening the [guiding] industry.”
- “It’s an excellent overview of questions often asked by clients…The tidbits were worth remembering. Give me something to talk about.”
How will GORP recognition benefit your business?
You will receive marketing services with cooperating trade organizations. This includes use of printed and electronic logos for your website, marketing materials, equipment and branded shirts.
The content is aligned with the international voluntary best practice standards compiled by guide businesses with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA). You will be recognized locally and internationally as a distinguished professional by travelers and the tourism industry.
Guides who have completed the GORP Program provided strong testimonials, “I would recommend this course to others, for their own development and for strengthening the [guiding] industry.”
GORP guides will be able to:
- Identify 101 Species of local animals and plants.
- Tell guests interesting facts about your state and country, including history, events and natural features.
- Understand the economics of tourism, major tourism industry organizations, and how to work with them.
- Be knowledgeable about the public natural resource management agency roles and how to work with them.
- Know how to provide quality customer service for various types of clients.
- Use interpretive communication skills to enhance your clients’ experience and your value.
- Adapt your services and marketing to changing client interests.
- Participate in marketing campaigns available only to GORP Guides.
- Be knowledgeable about internationally recognized best practices and how to implement them in order to better access new clients.
- Increase your ability to help clients increase appreciation and care for wildlife management and the environment.
The GORP program helps guides and their businesses thrive!
Adventure travel is an extremely diverse and expanding industry; and guiding and outfitting is competitive. Extension’s GORP program is designed for all guides from experienced to those just getting started in the field to set themselves apart.
Here’s what the GORP Pro Guides said after completing the Fall 2018 session of the program, “This course is a step in the right direction in raising the level of professionalism…It made me think about elements of my profession I could further learn about.”
The GORP program is intended to promote guide services and provide a mechanism for guides to be recognized and promoted as professionals. The GORP program also provides a means for guides to stay current with industry trends through continuing education opportunities.
GORP – Guide and Outfitter Recognized Professional
The GORP platform is designed to elevate overall skills and help improve business operations. The GORP program is not designed to produce an expert in a specific activity. For example: the GORP online curriculum does not teach someone wanting to be a fishing guide how to fish or operate a boat. Instead it provides knowledge to enhance the ability of a fishing guide to enrich client experience and achieve higher profits. In-person workshops can be offered on specialized fishing or boating skills.
“It’s an excellent overview of questions often asked by clients…The tidbits were worth remembering. Give me something to talk about.” says Fall 2018 GORP Pro Guides about the content presented in the GORP courses.
Recognition in the GORP program differentiates professional guides from less-skilled, less trained, non-professionals.
The GORP content and testing system has been designed with input from professional guides, professional educators, and tourism marketing organizations. GORP program is aligned with industry identified best practices per Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).
The GORP program does not replace existing specialized certification such as First Aid, or Boating Skills. There are many different skills and other training and certification programs that address specialized activities. The GORP program’s focus is to provide a broad platform to help guides and their businesses thrive.
Within the GORP program, Extension will offer specialized training and business development services. These additional in-person workshops are developed in response to your input about important topics and industry trends.
Extension is working with the Oregon Coast Visitor Association and Travel Oregon towards a specialized marketing campaign for guides that complete the GORP program that will result in higher pricing, more bookings, and greater sustainability for your business.
Flexible GORP program format:
The GORP program is completed online and is self-paced to allow flexibility within an overall course schedule. Log in and complete each course, at your convenience. Each course is designed to be completed with a few hours of participation per week. There are four courses in the complete program. Successful completion of all four courses earns you the GORP recognition. Tests can be retaken until a passing score is achieved.
As many of you are skilled experienced guides, the program is designed to allow you to potentially move through the program more quickly by testing out of modules within each course and still receive full credit toward certification.
Our Fall 2018 GORP Pro Guides appreciated the program’s format, “I found that being able to retake the quiz immediately cut down on time which is highly valuable to me in a busy life running my business.”
It is our goal to continue to expand the course offerings. To that end, we will develop continued educational opportunities in response to your input and industry trends. These training programs are offered through online materials and in-person local workshops.
To enroll in the GORP Program or to find out more see
Or for more information ask your county Extension agent!
GORP 4-H Youth Program
In addition to the GORP professional program, Oregon State University Extension is supporting GORP 4-H Clubs. The GORP 4-H Clubs are volunteer-led groups of 9th-12th graders that meet after school to learn about entrepreneurship as an outdoor adventure guide.
This training program has been developed by Oregon Sea Grant Faculty, OSU Extension Faculty and Industry Professionals.
Special thanks to:
Miles Phillips- OSU Extension/Oregon Sea Grant – Bandon, Oregon
Frank Burris-OSU Extension/Oregon Sea Grant – Gold Beach, Oregon
John Blanchard – Sharkey’s Charters, Charleston, Oregon
Marty Giles – Wavecrest Discoveries, Coos Bay, Oregon
Dan Moore – Pandion Consulting & ATTA Chair for the Guide Qualifications and Standard Working Group, Seattle, Washington