Feature Article - June 2009
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A Look at Trends in Parks & Recreation

Presenting a challenge for respondents in this category, at the same time they are more likely to be experiencing lower revenues and shrinking their budgets, they are also likely to be experiencing greater usage of their facilities. More than 60 percent of respondents reported increasing usage of their facilities from 2007 to 2008, and more than half expect to see further increases in 2009 and 2010. There is less stability in the number of patrons using park facilities, according to respondents this year compared to the numbers reported last year in this category. Last year, 47.9 percent of respondents predicted they would see an increase from 2007 to 2008, but more than 60 percent this year reported actually seeing such an increase, which means more than 12 percent of last year's respondents likely saw increasing usage that was unexpected. And while 44.6 percent of last year's respondents projected increasing usage in 2009, more than half this year are expecting such an increase.

Similarly, though just 4.6 percent last year said they expected usage to drop from 2007 to 2008, nearly twice as many of this year's respondents, 8.7 percent, reported such a decrease. (See Figure 39.)

Made in the Shade

Skin cancer awareness has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades, and along with it, use of sunscreen and vigilant skin protection have become a must-have for people heading out for a day of fun at the park. These days, Americans are much more sun-aware than they used to be. Shade structures and park shelters provide a way for these citizens to protect their skin. And our parks respondents are dedicated to providing these amenities:

  • 80.6 percent of parks respondents currently include park shelters, restrooms and shade structures in their facilities.
  • Park structures are also one of the most commonly planned additions: 16 percent of parks respondents plan to add them in the next three years.