Outdoor Industry Survey Finds It’s An Uphill Battle Getting People Outside

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Originally published on February 10, 2020 3:28 pm

A new survey by the philanthropic arm of the Outdoor Industry Association shows that more people are recreating outdoors, but fewer are doing so regularly. And nearly half of Americans surveyed didn’t participate in outdoor recreation at all in 2018.

More than 20,000 adults and kids took the Outdoor Foundation’s survey. Lise Aangeenbrug, the executive director of the foundation, said they found that fewer than one in five respondents get outside on a weekly basis.

“And the reason that number is so important goes way beyond the outdoor industry,” Aangeenbrug said. “Study after study shows that time outside can contribute to better physical health, better mental health, better community connection and improved academic outcomes.”

Aangeenbrug said she sees people going out less because the great outdoors is competing with indoor screen time.

The survey also shows that the amount of Hispanic people recreating outdoors doubled to more than 10%, but nearly three quarters of recreators were still Caucasian.

Aangeenbrug said she wants people to understand how easy it is to get outside.

“It’s just really getting people reintroduced to how easy it is to go for a run or hike just in your community, or even hop on your bike with your family,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t need to be far away.”

The survey found that kids went on 15% fewer annual outings in 2018 than they did in 2012.

Find reporter Madelyn Beck on Twitter @MadelynBeck8

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This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center For the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.


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