Participation in outdoor recreation reached a five-year high in 2011, with nearly 50 percent of all Americans ages six and older enjoying the outdoors. That equates to 141.1 million American outdoor participants.
The findings are part of The Outdoor Foundation’s 2012 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report, which tracks American participation trends in outdoor recreation with a focus on youth, diversity, and the future of the outdoors.
The foundation’s sixth annual report helps the outdoor industry, public agencies, and community organizations better understand the trends in outdoor recreation participation, enabling groups to address America’s inactivity crisis and the disconnect between children and the outdoors.
The report is based on an online survey of more than 40,000 Americans ages six and older, and covers 114 different outdoor activities.
The study, which provides an in-depth look at youth, identifies an upward trend in outdoor participation among America’s youngest generations. Youth participation overall grew by one percentage point in each age group, from 6 to 24.
Among young boys, outdoor participation grew by two percentage points–reversing a downward trend that began in 2007.
Although participation rates for girls the same age remained stagnant, participation among female teenagers grew by two percentage points, to reach the highest participation rate for female teenagers recorded in this report.
“The Outdoor Participation Report shows that, thanks to national efforts to connect Americans with the outdoors, people are increasingly more inspired to get up and get outside,” said Chris Fanning, the foundation’s executive director.
“We are especially encouraged by the report’s findings that more youth are enjoying outdoor activities, as this will ensure healthier children, healthier communities, and healthier businesses.”
To download a complete copy of the 2012 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report, visit The Outdoor Foundation website at http://www.outdoorfoundation.org/research.participation.2012.html.