Outdoor Industry Foundation Publishes "2006 Outdoor Recreation Participation Study"

The Outdoor Industry Foundation has recently published its “2006 Outdoor Recreation Participation Study” on the web. This 8th annual study found that while participation increased across the 22 outdoor activities it surveys from 159 million Americans age 16 and older in 2004 to 161.6 million in 2005, outings decreased by 11%. In 2005, Americans 16 and older took a total of 7.3 billion outings compared to 8.3 billion outings in 2004. A few of the findings include:

Bicycling and fishing accounted for the bulk of the decline in outings, with an approximate 800,000 and 300,000 outing decrease respectively. Despite that, both these sports ranked among the top five for most outings in 2005: bicycling (3.1 billion), trail running (1.3 billion), fishing (1 billion), hiking (800 million), and camping (347 million).

According to the study, overnight backpacking’s dramatic 22.5% decline in participation over the past eight year period and the significant increase in snowshoeing (83%) and trail running (22%) participation indicate that individuals are looking for less commitment-heavy activities.

For those interested in a particular group or activity, the survey’s results are broken down by gender, age and ethnicity and activity. The study concluded that activities which meet the following criteria may have a broader appeal:

  • Easy access
  • Easy to learn
  • Done in a day
  • Less specialized technical gear required

To see the Executive Summary, findings by activity or to download the entire document, click here.

Note: In order to access the study, you will first have to fill in a short identification form on the foundation's website.