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A Qualitative Analysis Of National Outdoor Recreation Surveys

Michael A. Schuett, Rodney B. Warnick, Jiaying Lu


Changes in outdoor recreation participation make it increasingly important to use dependable data to guide planning, management, and business decisions. In the last two decades, various agencies, non-profit organizations and private marketing firms have collected data on outdoor recreation, which has shed some light on participation trends. However, little research has been conducted to comprehensively examine and compare the content, method, and reliability of these data sources and their uses. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze and compare selected national outdoor recreation participation data. The specific study objectives were: (1) to describe the purpose and content of selected national outdoor recreation participation surveys, and (2) to examine the data-collection methods used in each study. The results showed that these data sets provide a vast amount of information for planners, marketing professionals, commercial recreation operators, retailers, and industry managers to gauge past, present, and future outdoor recreation participation. These data sets also exhibited numerous differences in several key aspects including data-collection methods, activities, participation measurement, and availability. Future research and recommendations are discussed on market share analysis, new data-collection methods, and secondary data usage.?


Outdoor recreation participation, secondary data, national recreation surveys

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