The Regional Supply of Outdoor Recreation Resources: Demonstrating the Use of Location Quotients as a Management Tool


  • David W. Marcouiller
  • Jeff Prey
  • Ian Scott


outdoor recreation, supply, metrics, mesasurement, location quotient, distance weighting


The supply of outdoor recreational resources involves a complex combination of natural amenities, public recreation sites, and private recreational activities that are influenced by an array of factors to provide opportunities for leisure experiences thus satisfying local recreational needs and desires. In this article, we demonstrate an approach to assess supply components of outdoor recreation sites and related natural amenities at the sub-state level in Wisconsin. The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate a technique used to assess recreation supply for comprehensive recreation planning that is regionally comparative, standardized to useful base metrics, easily interpretable, and flexible to alternative regional specifications and recreation typologies. Regional measures of recreational site density are a critical first step in analyzing supply and need to account for both geographic size (physical capacity) and population (or social capacity). We demonstrate an application of the recreation location quotient using alternative indices that reference amenities and recreational sites within a broader regional context. Results suggest that locations proximate to large population centers have fundamentally different supply characteristics and generally exhibit diminished opportunities for outdoor recreation, as a whole. Further, results suggest that measures of recreational site density vary widely depending on the metric used, and that capturing broader geographies is critical to understanding the spatial supply patterns of amenities and certain types of recreational sites. This type of work is logically a central feature of proactive, objective, and comprehensive outdoor recreation planning that has a basis in theoretically sound and empirically justified regional analysis. Recreation management professionals, parks and forest administrators, and the corresponding elected public officials who make decisions about allocation of scarce public resources need to better understand locational attributes of recreation supply. The process of maintaining current recreational resources require a more informed and thorough assessment of spatially explicit locational needs. These needs vary 93 across state and sub-state regions. Perhaps more importantly, it would appear critical to utilize these informed regional supply metrics to set goals and to identify where recreational opportunities are lacking in the strategic targeting of increasingly scarce public funds to develop new outdoor recreation sites.?





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