The Outdoor Recreation Participation Report that we wrote about in the last issue (focused on camping) is out, and some new findings have been revealed. In 2008, 48.6 percent of Americans spent some leisure time in the outdoors, for a total of 11.16 billion trips, whether near home, to a nearby park or overnight stays farther away.
There were double-digit increases in backpacking, mountain biking and trail-running, and a 9 percent rise in hiking. Camping, as reported previously, had 7 percent growth.
Outdoor activities took precedence over indoor fitness or team sports for men of all age groups, but women aged 21-25 tended to go inside for their activities. Children ages 6 to 17 headed indoors more, with a 6 percent drop in outdoor participation, for a total drop of 16.7 percent in the last three years.
The youngest group in the study, 6-12, saw a drop of 9 percent. Those studied who do participate in outdoor activities cited a lack of time as the reason they don’t do it more, while those who don’t take part said they had no interest in open-air pastimes. Most kids are spurred to head outside to be active by parents and other family members, as well as friends.
Across most age groups, Caucasians were most active in outdoor recreation while African-Americans had the lowest participation. Non-white youths who participated in the study said that they didn’t head outside more often because of schoolwork. Hispanics overall were more likely than other groups to be hindered by a lack of venue convenient to them for outdoor activities.
The study, which surveyed more than 40,000 Americans ages 6 and older, looks at more participation in more than 114 outdoor activities, and was released by the Outdoor Industry Foundation.