Feature Article - June 2011
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Parks & Recreation

A Look at Trends in Parks & Recreation

By Emily Tipping


Trails were the second most commonly planned addition among parks respondents this year. While 18.7 percent of all respondents with plans for additions are planning to add trails, more than a quarter (26.6 percent) of parks respondents who are planning to add features have plans for such additions.

According the 2011 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report from the Outdoor Foundation, trail use is popular for youth and adults. Running, jogging and trail running was the most popular outdoor activity for youth ages 6 to 24, with 20.4 million participants, or 25.8 percent of youth. Hiking was the fifth most popular outdoor activity for youth, with 9.7 million participants, or 12.3 percent of youth. For adults, running, jogging and trail running was the second most popular outdoor activity, with 30.9 million participants, or 14.7 percent of adults. It also was listed as a favorite adult outdoor activity, with 2.6 billion total outings, or 86.1 average outings per runner. Hiking was the fifth most popular, with 22.8 million adults participating (11.1 percent).

Other favorite outdoor activities for youth and adults commonly take place along the trail. For both youth and adults, birdwatching was considered a favorite outdoor activity, with 74 million total outings for youth and 464 million outings for adults. Wildlife viewing was another favorite for adults, with 453 million total outings.