Archive for the ‘outdoor recreation’ Category

Exploring the relationship between outdoor recreation activities, community participation, and environmental attitudes

March 22, 2012 Comments off

Exploring the relationship between outdoor recreation activities, community participation, and environmental attitudes
Source: U.S. Forest Service

The relationship between environmental attitudes (EA) and environmentally responsible behavior (ERB) has been the focus of several studies in environmental psychology and recreation research. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between EAs and ERBs at both a general level and at an activity-specific level using a 2009 survey of motorized recreationists (all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders). Questions to measure general attitudes were adapted from the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) and activity-specific environmental attitude questions were developed from the literature.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

2011 City Park Facts

March 14, 2012 Comments off
Trust for Public Land
The total area covered by urban parkland in the United States exceeds one and a half million acres, with parks ranging in size from the jewel-like 1.7-acre Post Office Square in Boston to the gargantuan 490,125-acre Chugach State Park in Anchorage. And their usage dwarfs that of the national parks—the most popular major parks, such as Lincoln Park in Chicago receive upwards of 20 million users each year, and New York’s Central Park gets about 35 million visits annually—more than seven times as many to the Grand Canyon.
Some cities have plenty of parkland that’s well distributed around town; others have enough land but an inequitable distribution; others are short of even a basic amount of park space for their citizens.
Through an annual survey, the Center for City Park Excellence maintains the nation’s most complete database of park facts for the 100 most populous U.S. cities. With the help of CCPE data, you can see how your city compares to others.

Full Report (PDF)

AMERICA’S GREAT OUTDOORS: Study Shows Spending at National Parks Pumps $31 Billion into Local Economies, Supporting 258,000 Jobs

March 5, 2012 Comments off

AMERICA’S GREAT OUTDOORS: Study Shows Spending at National Parks Pumps $31 Billion into Local Economies, Supporting 258,000 Jobs
Source: National Park Service

Visitors to the National Park System contributed more than $31 billion to local economies and supported 258,000 jobs in 2010, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009, according to a report issued by the National Park Service today.

Today’s announcement comes in advance of Friday’s White House Conference on Conservation being hosted at the Department of the Interior that will spotlight community-driven conservation efforts as part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.

The economic impact figures for the National Park System released today are based on $12 billion in direct spending by the 281 million visitors to parks in 2010 and are included in an annual, peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by Dr. Daniel Stynes of Michigan State University.

+ Money Generation Model (MGM2) Reports

Associations Between Sociodemographic Characteristics and Perceptions of the Built Environment With the Frequency, Type, and Duration of Physical Activity Among Trail Users

February 27, 2012 Comments off
Rail trails are elements of the built environment that support the Task Force on Community Preventive Services’ recommendation to create, or enhance access to, places for physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between sociodemographic characteristics and perceptions of the built environment with the frequency, type, and duration of PA among users of an urban, paved rail trail segment.
Interviewers conducted intercept surveys with 431 rail trail users and analyzed data by using logistic regression to estimate odds ratios between sociodemographic characteristics and perceptions of the built environment on the frequency, type, and duration of PA performed on the trail.
Adults who used the trail in the cool months, traveled to the trail by a motorized vehicle, used the trail with others, and had some graduate school education visited the trail less often. Younger adults, men, whites, and those with some graduate school education were more likely to engage in vigorous activities on the trail. Adults who traveled to the trail by a motorized vehicle spent more time engaged in PA on the trail.
Our results suggest that the most frequent users of a rail trail for PA are those who use the trail alone and travel to the trail by bicycle or on foot. Trails are an aspect of the built environment that supports active lifestyles, and future studies should evaluate different types of trails among more diverse populations and locations.

Creeping Corporatization of National Parks

January 27, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
As the National Park System prepares for its centennial in 2016 it is turning toward corporate funding for support, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). A core strategy announced by National Park Service (NPS) leaders in August 2011 is creating a billion dollar corporate-financed endowment outside the federal appropriation process.
Today through January 26th, an invitation-only summit in Washington, DC focuses on how to build support for the NPS agenda, called a Call to Action.  While not hosted by the NPS, the summit is being staged by the National Park Foundation, the congressionally-chartered fundraising arm for NPS, and the network representing park vendors and concessionaires.  “America’s Summit on National Parks” does, however, feature NPS and Interior Department officials from both the Obama and Bush administrations.
One of the main financial sponsors of the summit is Coca Cola, which recently leveraged its substantial contributions channeled through the National Park Foundation to temporarily block a ban on disposable plastic water bottle sales at Grand Canyon National Park.  Coca Cola is a major water bottler whose products would have been affected. Five weeks after the company’s role was exposed in November 2011, NPS backed off its veto of Grand Canyon’s plans.

See how corporate contributions confer access and influence (PDF)
Look at the Coca Cola Proud Partner agreement (PDF)
Revisit Coke role in blocking plastic bottle ban
View Coke sponsorship of the summit
Examine the NPS Call to Action (Step # 29) (PDF)

Made in America: New Report Finds National Parks at a Tipping Point Leading Into Super Committee Deadline

November 13, 2011 Comments off

Made in America: New Report Finds National Parks at a Tipping Point Leading Into Super Committee Deadline
Source: National Parks Conservation Association

As Washington policymakers await action by the Congressional Super Committee, the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today released a new report titled “Made in America: Investing in National Parks for Our Heritage and Our Economy,” which details how national parks and visitors could be impacted if the Super Committee fails and mandatory across-the-board cuts are made to the federal budget. The report also finds that investing in national parks not only protects our national heritage, but is critical to supporting the livelihood of businesses and communities across the country.

From the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina to Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana and Olympic National Park in Washington, the new report examines a sample of our most challenged national parks and the long-term consequences that additional funding cuts could have on our national treasures. For the second year in a row, America’s national parks face the likely erosion of funding necessary to serve the public and protect park resources. The report finds that additional budget cuts could jeopardize visitor services at national parks across the country.

In the past two years, park visitation has been higher than it has been in a decade—yet national parks suffer from an annual operations shortfall of $500-$600 million, and receive $325 million less per year than necessary to keep an $11 billion maintenance backlog from getting worse. Further cuts could mean fewer rangers to greet visitors, reduced visitor center hours, shortened campground seasons, closure of entrance stations and backcountry trails, fewer educational programs, and reduced law enforcement patrols to safeguard America’s heritage.

+ Full Report

America’s Great Outdoors: Salazar Releases 50-State Report Highlighting Projects to Promote Conservation, Outdoor Recreation

November 7, 2011 Comments off

America’s Great Outdoors: Salazar Releases 50-State Report Highlighting Projects to Promote Conservation, Outdoor Recreation
Source: U.S. Department of the Interior

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today released a final 50-State America’s Great Outdoors Report outlining more than 100 of the country’s most promising projects designed to protect special places and increase access to outdoor spaces. The full report – which contains two projects per state – comes as part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative to establish a community-based, 21st century agenda for conservation, recreation, and reconnecting Americans to the outdoors.

The full list released today includes:

  • 24 projects to restore and provide recreational access to rivers and other waterways – such as establishing the Connecticut River as a National Blueway and expanding recreational opportunities at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers in the Twin Cities;
  • 23 projects to construct new trails or improve recreational sites – such as completing gaps in the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin and expanding the multi-use Shingle Creek Trail in Florida;
  • 20 projects that will create and enhance urban parks – such as rehabilitating wetlands habitat and building new outdoor recreational opportunities on Chicago’s South Side and increasing river access at Roberto Clemente State Park and restoring the Harlem River in the Bronx; and
  • 13 projects that will restore and conserve America’s most significant landscapes – such as conserving Montana’s Crown of the Continent, establishing the Flint Hills of Kansas as a new easement-based conservation area, and conserving the native grasslands of North and South Dakota.
  • The list also includes 11 initiatives requested by states to establish new national wildlife refuges, national park units and other federal designations; five projects that will assist states and communities to protect key open space; and five initiatives to educate young people and connect them to nature.

+ Full Report (PDF)
+ Map of projects

New Report Shows US Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries Program Helps Support 68,000 Jobs in U.S. Economy

November 5, 2011 Comments off

New Report Shows US Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries Program Helps Support 68,000 Jobs in U.S. Economy
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The fisheries program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in association with state agencies and other conservation organizations, contributes $3.6 billion to the nation’s economy and supports 68,000 jobs across the country, according to a new report issued by the agency.

Overall, hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation contribute an estimated $730 billion to the U.S. economy each year, Salazar noted. One in twenty U.S. jobs are in the recreation economy – more than there are doctors, lawyers, or teachers.

The report, Conserving America’s Fisheries, An Assessment of Economic Contributions from Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Conservation, shows that each dollar invested in the Service’s Fisheries Program, combined with its partners, generates about $28 in economic contributions and value.

The economic contributions generated are evidenced at sporting goods stores, marinas, guides and outfitter services, boat dealerships, bait shops, gas stations, cafes, hotels, and many other enterprises.

+ Summary (PDF)
+ Full Report (PDF)

Ozone Levels in National Parks Continue to Increase, Parks Group Asks Congress Not to Strip Out Protections Against the Dangerous Pollutant

September 19, 2011 Comments off

Ozone Levels in National Parks Continue to Increase, Parks Group Asks Congress Not to Strip Out Protections Against the Dangerous Pollutant
Source: National Parks Conservation Association

Each year, tens of millions of people visit picturesque national parks like Joshua Tree National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and Sequoia National Park expecting clean, healthy air, but increasingly they are putting themselves at risk for serious respiratory and pulmonary illnesses caused by ozone pollution in these parks. Today, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has released a pointed report on this growing threat to our national parks that also details how two pieces of pending legislation in Congress threaten to exacerbate the situation even more.

Report findings indicate that so far this year there have been 234 exceedances of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) health-based ozone standard in 18 of the national parks with ozone monitors, resulting in a number of “Code Red” days when even healthy people are advised to protect their lungs by avoiding vigorous outdoor exercise – precisely what many visitors come to the parks to do. That number compares with 223 national park ozone exceedances in all of 2010 and 196 in all of 2009. And there are still two months remaining in the current ozone season. In both 2009 and 2010, national parks had dozens of exceedances of the ozone standard in September and October.

+ Full Report (PDF)

U.S. Forest Service Visitor’s Report Shows Strong Continued Economic Impact and Customer Satisfaction of America’s National Forests and Grasslands

August 12, 2011 Comments off

U.S. Forest Service Visitor’s Report Shows Strong Continued Economic Impact and Customer Satisfaction of America’s National Forests and Grasslands
Source: U.S. Forest Service

Recreational activities on national forests and grasslands continue to make large economic impacts on America’s rural communities, contributing $14.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy.

According to the National Visitor Use Monitoring report released today by Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, national forests attracted 170.8 million recreational visitors and sustained approximately 223,000 jobs in rural communities this past year.

National forests also provide economic relief for vacationers. Fewer than half of the U.S. Forest Service’s 17,000 developed sites charge any fees for visitors. The report reveals that 94 percent of visitors were satisfied with their experience on the national forests.

+ NVUM Reports and Maps

The State of America’s National Parks

June 29, 2011 Comments off

The State of America’s National Parks
Source: National Parks Conservation Association

The State of America’s National Parks is the culmination of ten years of research on the condition of natural and cultural resources within America’s national parks. The data for this report were gleaned from the Center’s research on 80 national parks. This research uncovered many examples of serious threats to park resources, including impacts from activities occurring on adjacent lands, concerns related to invasive non-native species, insufficient attention given to the stewardship of cultural resources, and a general lack of sufficient staff and funds to care for and interpret park resources. The Center’s work also documented notable National Park Service successes in protecting park resources, such as restoration projects throughout the park system, collaboration with other land managers, and deployment of teams of trained specialists to address resource management issues shared among parks. With the release of this report, these key findings—as well as recommendations for how to address concerns—are now presented in one place.

The State of America’s National Parks includes chapters on natural and cultural resource conditions, Park Service programs and processes that are successfully meeting the challenge of protecting resources, and the benefits of a landscape conservation approach for preserving natural and cultural resources in national parks and in the surrounding landscapes. A series of recommendations indicates ways to address problems the National Park Service faces as the agency strives to meet its responsibility to care for national park resources. The report urges the administration, Congress, and the Park Service to recognize threats to park resources and act on opportunities to defend the natural and cultural resources our national parks are designed to protect.

Childhood Obesity — New Research Briefs Examine how Playgrounds, Trails can Support Physical Activity

June 4, 2011 Comments off

New Research Briefs Examine how Playgrounds, Trails can Support Physical Activity
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Two new research briefs produced by Active Living Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, examine the impact neighborhood playgrounds and trails can have on physical activity.

The first brief shows that when playgrounds are safe to use and easy to access, they’re more likely to help children be active. Locating playgrounds close to home and ensuring that they have safe, well-maintained equipment brings more kids to the playground and helps them get more physical activity while they’re there. One study compared school playgrounds in two New Orleans neighborhoods—one was kept open and supervised after school and on the weekends, and the other was closed when school was closed. The number of local kids who were outside and active was 84 percent higher in the neighborhood that kept the playground open longer. Joint-use agreements between local governments and school districts can help more kids and families have access to school facilities that support activity, such as playgrounds.

The second brief notes that a growing body of research shows walking, biking and hiking trails to be a cost-effective way to promote physical activity and potentially even reduce medical costs. It also finds that more research on children’s use of trails is needed.

+ The Potential of Safe, Secure and Accessible Playgrounds to Increase Children’s Physical Activity (PDF)
+ The Power of Trails for Promoting Physical Activity in Communities (PDF)

Dr. Beach’s 2011 America’s Best Beaches

May 27, 2011 Comments off

Dr. Beach’s 2011 America’s Best Beaches
Source: Dr. Beach (Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research, Florida International University)

Siesta Beach is the number one beach in the 21st annual Top 10 Beach List, produced by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, Director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research.

Siesta Beach in Sarasota boasts that it has the finest and whitest sand in the world, and I cannot argue with this claim; the powdery sand is nearly pure quartz crystal. The beautiful blue-colored water is clean and clear, making it so inviting to bathers and swimmers. The beach is hundreds of yards wide, attracting volleyball players and beachcombers as well as those who just want to find their place in the sun. Waves at Siesta Beach are normally measured in inches and the beach gradually slopes into the Gulf waters, making it a very safe area for children.

This beach park is complete with showers and bathrooms, snack bars, grills, picnic tables, shade trees, and a large parking area, which does fill up on summer weekends. Siesta Beach is a smokeless beach, earning extra points for cleanliness and environmental management. My favorite time to visit is after Labor Day when things have calmed down, and the water is still warm enough for swimming until November. Snowbirds from northern climes call this area home during the winter because of the great weather. The beaches are for exploring, but not swimming at this time of year, albeit I have been in the water as early as March.

Tapping School Facilities for Community Health: Joint-Use Agreements

May 2, 2011 Comments off

Tapping School Facilities for Community Health: Joint-Use Agreements
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

Physical activity promotes good health and reduces the risk of chronic disease. Exercise can help control weight, reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve mental health. Physical inactivity, on the other hand, can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Lawmakers can play a role in increasing community places for physical activity, that may, in turn, contribute to better health and lower health care costs. Many communities lack safe places to exercise and play near where people live and work. Opening school fields, tracks, courts, playgrounds and gymnasiums to the public, when not in use by students, is a low-cost way to encourage more people to be physically active and to achieve maximum value for dollars appropriated by legislators for school facilities.

+ Full Document (PDF)

The effects of climatic change and wildland fires on air quality in national parks and wilderness areas

March 5, 2011 Comments off

The effects of climatic change and wildland fires on air quality in national parks and wilderness areas
Source: U.S. Forest Service

How will climatic change and wildfire management policies affect public land management decisions concerning air quality through the 21st century? As global temperatures and populations increase and demands on natural resources intensify, managers must evaluate the trade-offs between air quality and ongoing ecosystem restoration. In protected areas, where wilderness values are paramount, public land agencies have adopted the policy of using wildfires to benefit natural resources, allowing naturally ignited fires to burn unless they present additional threats, such as fire risk to structures or degraded air quality.

+ Full Document (PDF)

Public Playground Safety Handbook

February 17, 2011 Comments off

Public Playground Safety Handbook (PDF)
Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission

In recent years, it is estimated that there were more than 200,000 injuries annually on public playgrounds across the country that required emergency room treatment. By following the recommended guidelines in this handbook, you and your community can create a safer playground environment for all children and contribute to the reduc- tion of playground-related deaths and injuries.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 631 other followers