Outdoor recreation participation hits six-year high, national report shows

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Participation in outdoor recreation reached a six-year high in 2012 with nearly half of Americans 6 and older taking part in at least one of the 43 outdoor activities included in the report.

The percentage equates to 141.9 million American outdoor participants, reflecting an increase of nearly a million people compared with 2011. In addition, outdoor participants were more active in 2012 than in past years, taking an average of 87.4 outdoor outings per participant for a total 12.4 billion outings. Overall, more Americans participated in outdoor recreation in 2012 than in any year since The Outdoor Foundation began measuring participation six years ago.

These findings are part of the foundation’s 2013 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report, a report tracking American participation trends in outdoor recreation with a focus on youth, young adults, diversity and the future of the outdoors.

Participation rates by age remained consistent in most categories from 2011-12 while rates among younger generations remained steady, yet are significantly lower than they were in 2006.

The report is based on an online survey of more than 42,000 Americans ages 6 and older, and covers more than 40 activities, making it the largest survey of its kind. To download a complete copy of the 2013 Outdoor Recreation Topline Participation Report, visit the foundation website.


  1. It looks like this trend is continuing into 2013. The unusually hot weather (nationwide, but particularly here in Texas) is getting more people out to rivers and lakes to cool off. Great to see so many young people out taking advantage of all these recreational activities, too. Thanks, Will.


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