Outdoor recreation

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  • Author(s): Bowker, J. M.; Askew, Ashley; Cordell, H. Ken; Bergstrom, John C.
  • Date: 2013
  • Station ID: Paper (invited, offered, keynote)-SRS-178


Key Findings

  • By 2060, the number of southern adults participating in each of 10 different popular outdoor recreation activities is projected to increase. Depending on future demographic, economic, land use, and population changes, the activity demonstrating the least growth in participants is hunting (8–25 percent). The activity projected to demonstrate the most growth is day hiking (70–113 percent).
  • For many activities, participation will grow similarly to the population growth rate. However, the number of participants in fishing, hunting, and motorized offroading will grow slower than the regional population, as a smaller proportion of adults are projected to engage in these activities. Conversely, the growth in the number of participants in birding and day-hiking is projected to exceed that of the population.
  • By 2060, the number of days that southern adults will participate annually in each of 10 different outdoor recreation activities is projected to increase. The smallest increase in days of participation will be for hunting (8–24 percent), while the largest increase in days of participation will be for day hiking (77–116 percent).
  • Days of annual participation for each of the 10 activities are projected to increase at rates similar to the growth in participant numbers.
  • Acres of southern forest and rangeland per recreation participant will decline by up to 50 percent across the various activities by 2060. Acres per participant in hiking will shrink the most, while acres per participant for hunting will shrink the least.
  • Annual user days per acre of forest and rangeland for recreation activities will increase most by 2060 for horseback riding on trails (up to 151 percent) and hiking (up to 118 percent) and least for motorized off-road use (up to 59 percent) and hunting (up to 34 percent).
  • Depending on social and economic factors, southern national forest recreation visits are projected by 2060 to increase across all site types: Wilderness (38–72 percent), day use developed sites (35–70 percent), overnight use developed sites (30–64 percent), and general forest area (22–55 percent).
  • Because southern national forest acreage is expected to stay approximately constant to 2060, visits per acre across the various site types will grow at same rate as visits.

  • Citation: Bowker, J. M.; Askew, Ashley; Cordell, H. Ken; Bergstrom, John C. 2013. Outdoor recreation. In: Wear, David N.; Greis, John G., eds. 2013. The Southern Forest Futures Project: technical report. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-GTR-178. Asheville, NC: USDA-Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 161-182.

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