Research & Statistics

FICOR Issues Report on Jobs and Income

The Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICOR) has released a report detailing the effect outdoor recreation has on gateway communities. The paper is a snapshot of the contribution outdoor recreation had on jobs and the economy in 2012 using data from the seven FICOR agencies.

According to the report, Outdoor recreationists made more than 938 million visits to Federal lands and waterways, spending $51 billion and supporting 880,000 jobs in 2012.

The report can be viewed here:

  • FICOR Report
  • Source: FICOR

    NPS Public Use Statistics January - November 2007

    The National Park Service recently released its statistics for the first 11 months of 2007.
    Overall recreation visits increased by 0.8%.

    Substantial variations by region and type of unit were reported.

    For the full report, click here

    Report Shows National Wildlife Refuges Provide Economic Boost

    Recreational use on national wildlife refuges generated almost $1.7 billion in total economic activity during fiscal year 2006, according to a new report released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The report, titled Banking on Nature 2006: The Economic Benefits to Local Communities of National Wildlife Refuge Visitation was compiled by Service economists.

    To read the full story, go to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

    NPS Shows Slight Rise in Visitation

    Although national park visitation started slow in 2007, national parks proved a good magnet for visitors in the summer months and the 9-month report now shows a 1.3% increase over the comparable period of 2006. As the NPS report indicates, the trends differ from region to region and by type of park. But high gas prices do not appear to be a strong deterrent. One other consideration is that international visitation is up significantly for 2007 -- in part reflecting a bargain with the current valuation of the US dollar against many other currencies, including the Canadian dollar. Unfortunately, NPS data does not allow much analysis of visitor orgin and other key characteristics.

    General Statistics


    MAY 2007

    Power Boating Leads 2006 Growth Rate Among High-Participant Sports and Activities

    Among 16 sports and recreation activities with more than 20 million participants, power boating had the highest rate of growth in 2006, up 6.2% to 29.3 million power boaters, according to the new Sports Participation studies published annually by the National Sporting Goods Association. At the other end of the spectrum (sports with less than five million participants), cross-country skiing soared almost 37% to 2.6 million participants.

    The only other high-participant sport with more than 5% growth in 2006 was camping, up 5.7% to 48.6 million participants. The bulk of the 16 sports (11 in all) grew or fell in a relatively narrow band of +5% to -4%.

    Other high-participant sports and their rate of change include: hiking, +4.0% to 31.0 million; exercise walking, +1.7% to 87.5 million; aerobic exercising, 0.0% to 33.7 million; golf, -1.0% to 24.4 million; running/jogging, -1.6% to 28.8 million; fishing, -2.5% to 40.6 million; swimming, -2.6% to 56.5 million; and bicycle riding, -13.3% to 35.6 million.

    To see participation rates for all 41 sports surveyed, click here.

    Source: National Sporting Goods Association

    APRIL 2007

    New Study Finds Fishing a Powerful Pathway to Boating

    A new study by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) provides insight into the relationship between boating and fishing. According an RBFF news release, the study compared three market segments - Boater Only, Angler Only and “Boating Angler”, those who both boat and fish. The study found that fishing is a strong pathway to boating and that promoting both fishing and boating is good for the market.

    The RBFF study found that those who both boat and fish do so significantly more frequently than those who only fish or only boat and spend more money on fishing equipment and boating accessories compared to those who only fish or only boat. Nearly half of Boating Anglers (44.9%) said that fishing influenced their decision to get involved in boating and the reason they purchased their first boat was to fish (67.7%). By contrast, less than one third (30.4%) of Boating Anglers said that boating influenced their decision to get involved in fishing.

    Other findings of interest:

    • Boating Anglers who do not currently own a boat are significantly more likely that Angelers Only or Boaters Only to be actively shopping / researching boats and plan to purchase on the in the next 12 months.
    • Those who both boat and fish are more likely report that how they look at the environment was influenced by their fishing and boating experiences compared to those who only fish or only boat.

    For the RBFF News Release and a link to the full study report, click here.

    2006 Report Estimates the Value of Volunteer Hour at $18.77

    The Independent Sector recently announced that the 2006 estimate for the value of a volunteer hour has reached $18.77 per hour. Such an estimate can be used to help organizations quantify the enormous value volunteers provide. The 2006 estimate increased from $18.04 per hour in 2005. To learn more, click here.

    New Loaner Program Puts Thousands of Bicyclists on the Streets of Paris

    A second urban loaner - bike program will begin in France this summer when JCDecaux, an outdoor advertising company, makes 20,600 bikes available at 1,450 stations in Paris. The program is modeled on a wildly successful program launched in Lyon, France in 2005. The programs are complex public-private partnerships which provide bikes at little or no cost to riders.

    According to a recent article in the Washington Post, the company will pay start-up costs of about $115 million and employ the equivalent of about 285 people full time to operate the system and repair the bikes for ten years. All revenue from the program will go to the city, and the company will also pay Paris a fee of about $4.3 million a year.

    In exchange, Paris is giving the company exclusive control over 1,628 city-owned billboards, including the revenue from them, for the same period. About half the billboard space will be given back to the city at no cost for public-interest advertising.

    To read more about this public/private partnership, click here.

    Source: Washington Post, Saturday, March 24, 2007, p. A10.

    Hunting and Fishing Rates End Decline in Youth

    Recruitment rates of youngsters in hunting and fishing have stabilized after declining through the 1990s, according to preliminary data from the 2006 National Surveys of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation and information from previous surveys, reports the

    To read more, click here.

    For the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report, click here.

    FEBRUARY 2007

    2006 U.S. Travel and Tourism Industry Statistics

    The U.S. Department of Commerce announced a record $107.4 billion in international travel receipts – travel-related tourism spending, including passenger fares – for the United States in 2006. This spending represents a full recovery in the value of foreign travel to the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001, and surpasses the previous record of $103.1 billion set in 2000.

    Here are some highlights:

    • Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors totaled $85.8 billion for the year, an increase of 5 percent over 2005. These goods and services include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the United States, and other items incidental to international travel.
    • Passenger fares received by U.S. carriers and U.S. vessel operators from international visitors increased more than 3 percent over 2005 to $21.6 billion for the year.
    • For the eighteenth consecutive year, the United States enjoyed a travel trade surplus, reaching $7.3 billion in 2006.
    • Travel and tourism supported 8.3 million American jobs in 2006.
    • More people are employed by travel and tourism-related industries than are employed in the construction industry, the business and financial industries, agriculture, education or health care.

    Source: United States Department of Commerce

    All About Snowmobilers

    • The average age of a snowmobiler is 41.
    • Approximately 70% of all active snowmobilers are male.
    • 60% of all active snowmobilers belong to a club or state association.
    • The average annual household income of a snowmobiler is $72,000.
    • 65% of all snowmobilers trailer their snowmobiler to where they usually ride.
    • The average snowmobiler rides 17 days during the winter and travels about 1,000 miles.
    • Not counting the cost of the vehicle and trailer, the average snowmobiler spends $3,000 per year snowmobiling.
    • The sport generates $27 billion in economic activity and over 85,000 full-time jobs.
    • In 2006 there were 1.7 million registered snowmobiles in the United States.

    Source: International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association

    JANUARY 2007

    Skier Visits Set Records in Colorado

    DENVER, CO -- Colorado Ski Country USA reports its 26 member resorts posted record-setting skier visitation for the first portion of the winter season. Collectively, Colorado ski resorts hosted 3,285,649 skiers and snowboarders, an increase of 6.74 percent, or 207,533 visits, over October 31-December 31, 2006.

    The state’s destination resorts saw the greatest gains in visitation with an increase of 11.9 percent over prior year. The two-year, upward trend is indicative of the robust markets on both the destination front and with those ski areas which are primarily community-supported. This year (October 31-December 31, 2006) marks the third consecutive record for community-based resorts which are more than 100,000 visits ahead of their five-year skier visit average.

    The Colorado ski industry represents a significant portion of Colorado tourism, which is the second largest industry in the state. Last season, Colorado’s resorts set an all-time record for visitation with more than 12.53 million skier visits, representing more than 21 percent of the nation’s 58.9 million skier visits.

    Source: Colorado Ski Country USA

    NOVEMBER 2006

    More Women Hunting...

    A recent study by the National Sporting Goods Association estimates more than 3 million women now hunt, accounting for about 16 percent of the nearly 21 million active hunters in the United States.

    The study, which covered 2001 to 2005, found that 2.4 million women hunted with firearms in 2005, up 72 percent from 2001. Fifty percent more are target shooting, while the number of women bow-hunters has grown 176 percent to 786,000.

    The fastest-growing age groups are women aged 18 to 24, followed by those aged 35 to 44. To read more, click here.

    Source: Reuters 2006

    Aerobic Exercise Benefits Memory and Concentration

    A new study finds that aerobic exercise may halt and even reverse the slow mental decline caused by aging. A report in the November issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences says that as little as three hours per week of brisk walking (at a pace slightly greater than 3 mph) increases the volume of neurons in the brain and the connections between them, resulting in improved memory, multi-tasking ability and concentration.

    Researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana found that these cognitive benefits are not present in other forms of exercise, such as weight training or stretching. The study's findings concur with a growing body of evidence supporting a connection between moderate aerobic exercise and improved mental acuity among the elderly.

    To read a recent Wall Street Journal article on the study, click here.

    OCTOBER 2006

    'Tis the Season: What's New on the Slopes

    Wake-Up Calls is offering a free snow report wake-up telephone call service to skiers and snowboarders for 1,200 resorts worldwide. Subscribers choose how much snow, which days, which resorts, and at what time they would like to receive a wake-up call. When a resort gets the snowfall a subscriber has requested, they will receive a phone call that reports the snowfall and more.

    To read more, click here.
    To sign up, click here.

    Source: First Tracks!! Online Ski Magazine

    Ski Areas Work to Attract Minorities and Youth
    The Associated Press reports that only three out of every 20 skiers or snowboarders is a minority, according to marketing researchers. Hoping to attract fast growing population segments to ski resorts, some, according to the article, “are advertising in Chinese newspapers, translating informational brochures to Spanish, stocking smaller boots Asians might need and introducing children from rural schools or urban centers to a sport they may only have seen on TV.”

    In Colorado, Alpino, a non-profit dedicated to snow sports diversity, has worked with Vail, Keystone, Beaver Creek, and Breckenridge to bring 4,000 minority children to the mountains each year. Roberto Moreno, founder of Alpino, was quoted in the article as saying, “A lot of resorts are recognizing that if they don’t reach out to people of color, they’re going to be losing a lot of business.”

    To read the complete article, click here.

    Source: Associated Press

    National Trends in OHV Use
    Based USDA Forest Service research, in the 2004 season nearly 1-in-4 Americans (23.8 percent) age 16 and older participated one or more times in OHV recreation. A more conservative estimate using alternate methodology arrives at an estimate of 39.7 million OHV participants, 18.6 percent of the population, or almost 1-in-5 people age 16 and older.

    According to the same study, OHV visits to national forests grew from 5 million in 1975 to 51 million in 2005, an increase of 92%. According to the study, the number of off-highway vehicles grew from 400,000 in the early 1990s to more than 8 million by 2003.

    Source: Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation in the United States, Regions and States: A National Report from the National Survey on Recreation and the Environment (NSRE) June, 2005
    To read more, click here.

    International Visitation to Set Records in 2006 and Beyond
    The U.S. Department of Commerce projects record arrivals and receipts from international travelers to the United States in 2006. The 2006 forecast exceeds the previous record arrival year of 2000, when more than 51.2 million international travelers visited the United States. 2005 saw 49 million visitors. In 2007, the US is projected to host more than 54 million international visitors, generating $113 billion in travel exports.

    The forecast for 2006-2010 predicts that by 2010 international arrivals will reach 63 million, an increase of 28% between 2005 and 2010, and generate over $135 billion in travel exports that year.

    Where will these folks be coming from in 2010? Thirteen million will come from Europe, 5 million from Japan and South America will show the largest regional growth, up 36 percent between 2005 and 2010. International travel from the Peoples Republic of China is predicted to increase 90% between by 2010!

    Source: U.S. Department of Commerce
    To read more, click here.

    Recent Bike News
    A Vermont small-business owner challenged his 13 employees to bike to work this summer by offering each $1,000 to log 650 commuting miles this year. Twelve of the workers accepted the challenge. Employees were offered $500 up front to purchase bikes and an additional $500 if they are successful. All of the participants are on track to earn the additional $500.

    Source: Burlington Free Press
    To read more, click here.

    A record number of communities in all 50 states participated in National Walk to School Day on October 4. More than 2,200 events were registered on the walk to School website. 47% were part of an ongoing walk and/or biking program, and 47% of the events were part of a Safe Routes to School program funded by SAFETEA-LU.



    Study Released: Recreational Horse Trails in America

    Back Country Horsemen of America published draft results of a study of recreational horse trails in rural America. Here are some interesting statistics from the report:

    • There are 123,799 miles of trail for recreational and pack horse use available on federal and state land in the lower 48 states.
    • 85% of the trail mileage is on federal land and 69% of that is managed by the USDA Forest Service.
    • Most of the nation’s trail mileage is in the West, with 67% located in eight western states.
    • The eastern United States has just 22% of the trail mileage, but 56% of the nation’s more than 9 million horses. (American Horse Council, 2005).
    • AHC estimated that 3.9 million of the 9.1 million horses in the US are used exclusively or primarily for recreation.

    Source: Back Country Horsemen of America, Vol. 17, Fall 2006

    SEPTEMBER 2006

    National Statistics for the 2005/06 Ski and Snowboard Season

    The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) recently reported 58.9 million national skier/snowboarder visits for the 2005/06 season, a record number. This is up 3.5% from last season, and up 2.3% from the previous record set in 2002/03, according to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA).

    A strong increase in the total number of day visits was noted this year, particularly in the Rocky Mountains and Pacific West, as well as the Midwest region, while overnight visits were relatively flat in absolute terms, and declined in percentage terms.

    International visits rose in spite of the fluctuating value of the U.S. dollar, accounting for an overall average of 5.7% of total visits, up from 5.6% last season and 4.9% in the prior two seasons.

    The 2006 NSAA National Demographic Study reports visits by children under 18 rose to 15.5 percent in 2005/06, up from 12.9 percent in 2004/05. The average age of all skiers/snowboarders dropped this season to 35.1. Snowboarders accounted for 30.4% of visits last season, up over 3% from 2004/05.

    Average weekend lift ticket prices increased nationally by 4.8% to $60.66.

    Source: 2005/06 Kottke National End of Season Survey for the National Ski Areas Association.

    For more details, click here.

    Support for Hunting and Fishing Increasing

    A new nationwide survey, conducted by Responsive Management of Harrisonburg, Virginia for the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, found that support for hunting and fishing has remained strong over the past decade with approximately every 3 out of 4 Americans approving of legal hunting and more than 9 out of 10 approving of recreational fishing. This is the first nationwide study which verifies that public support has increased over the past decade.

    To read more about this survey, click here.

    Source: New West Daily News

    Did you know that…

    • 53% of the U.S. population lives in the United States’ 673 coastal communities (153 million, up by 33 million since 1980).

    • Recreational boating participation increased by an estimated 2.3 million in 2005 to 71.3 million.

    • 71% of the boats sold in the U.S. are bought used and almost one-third of repeat boat buyers go on to purchase a new boat.

    • Boat owners spent an average of 41 days on the water in 2005.

    • There are nearly 875,000 slips for recreational boaters in the U.S. and 12,375 marinas.

    • Florida, New York, Michigan, Vermont and California account for 49% of the marinas in the U.S.

    • There are 1,400 active boat builders in the U.S. Florida ranks first with 200 builders, 215 plants and 29,000 employees.

    The National Marine Manufacturer’s Association’s "2005 Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract"
    NOAA’s "Population Trends Along the Coastal United States 1980-2008"

    AUGUST 2006

    An August 2006 report on travel in America has some good news for the outdoor recreation community. “The State of the American Traveler” has been released by Destination Analysts, a California research firm. The study found that eighty-eight percent of those surveyed plan to travel as much (55.6%) or more (33%) in the next 12 months as in the last.

    “The nation’s love affair with the great outdoors remains strong,” the firm reports. In the past year almost 1/3 of leisure travelers visited a State or local park. National Parks were visited by one-in-four (26%) vacationers, and national forests by one-in-five (17.2%). Underscoring the importance of water-based outdoor recreation to Americans, “go to a beach or a lake” was ranked first (47.2%) in outdoor activities participated in by leisure travelers. Second on the list was “go to small towns or villages” (41.4%).

    In what is possibly a sign of the times, "safety" was ranked highest when respondents were asked "What is generally important in choosing a travel destination?" 88.8% of respondents ranked safety as “important” or “very important”. “Scenic beauty” was ranked second at 86.3%. Interestingly, the study found, men appear to be slightly more concerned about safety than women.

    To read more about “The State of the American Traveler”, click here.

    JULY 2006

    Fishing Participation on the Increase

    The number of Americans "going fishing" rose by 5.2% to 43.3 million in 2005 according to the National Sporting Goods Association's (NSGA) annual participation survey. This is the first increase reported by NSGA since 2000. The Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association reported a similar trend: a 6.3% increase. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported a 2.1% increase in 2004 fishing license sales, the first increase in four years.

    Source: American Sportfishing magazine, June-July 2006

    JUNE 2006

    National Forest System Statistics (October 2005)

    Trails: 133,000 miles

    Roads: 378,500 miles

    • 186,000 (49%) high-clearance vehicle roads
    • 77,200 (20%) passenger car roads
    • 115,300 (31%) closed to motor vehicles

    System road construction 2005: 142 miles

    System road decommissioning 2005: 852 miles

    Road Bridges: 6,500

    Trail Bridges: 6,700

    Buildings: 42,154

    • 17,645 (42%) toilet structures
    • 4,234 (10%) recreation
    • 19,367 (46%) fire, administration, other
    • 908 (2%) research

    Recreation Sites: 14,077

    • Boating:1,053 (8%)
    • Cabin: 580 (4%)
    • Campground:4,677 (33%)
    • Group campground:407 (2%)
    • Interpretive Site – major:120(1%)
    • Interpretive site – minor:509 (4%)
    • Picnic:1,340 (9%)
    • Trailhead:3,898(33%)
    • Other:1,493 (11%)

    Deferred maintenance (does not include backlog investments) in millions: 5,966

    • Roads: 4,572 (77% of total deferred maintenance)
    • Buildings 439
    • Bridges: 115
    • Trail bridges: 9
    • Recreation sites: 89
    • Trails (FY 2001): 99
    • Heritage assets: 33
    • Water and wastewater: 112
    • Wildlife, fish, threatened and endangered species: 6

      Source: USDA Forest Service

      Useful Recreation Facts from Recent Surveys

    Roper Research: Outdoor Recreation in America

    Outdoor Recreation in America, is a survey conducted for the Recreation Roundtable by Roper Starch Worldwide. The national survey tracks participation in diverse outdoor recreation activities and is designed to measure recreation participation, motivations for this participation, and attitudes of the public toward recreation. For executive summaries of the research, click below:

    Outdoor Recreation in America 2003

    Outdoor Recreation in America 2001

    Outdoor Recreation in America 2000

    Outdoor Recreation in America 1999

    Outdoor Recreation in America 1998

    Outdoor Recreation in America 1997

    Outdoor Recreation in America 1996

    Outdoor Recreation in America 1995

    Outdoor Recreation in America 1994