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Recreation equity: Is the Forest Service serving its diverse publics?

Posted date: May 10, 2018
Publication Year: 
Authors: Flores, David; Falco, Gennaro; Roberts, Nina S.; Valenzuela, Francisco P. III.
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Journal of Forestry. 116(3): 266-272.


In 2044 the United States is expected to be a majority-minority nation. Promoting participation in outdoor recreation among racial and ethnic minority populations has long been a challenge facing the contemporary recreation manager. In this article, we compare data from the US Forest Service National Visitor Use Monitoring program from 2010-2014 to US Census data from 2010 in order to examine whether there is disproportionate utilization of recreation resources on US Forest Service lands across the entire US Forest Service system. Our findings suggest an inequity gap wherein racial minorities are still not utilizing Forest Service recreation opportunities at the same rate as their white counterparts. Racial and ethnic minority demographic data for US counties located within fifty-miles of a national forest boundary were compared to overall national forest visitation estimates to calculate an inequity index that was then compared across each national forest and region in the contiguous United States. Results from this analysis show an average inequity gap of -23.8%. We present these findings in light of a recent January 12, 2017 Presidential Memorandum calling for diversity and inclusion across public lands and the agencies that manage them.


Flores, David; Falco, Gennaro; Roberts, Nina S.; Valenzuela, Francisco P., III. 2018. Recreation equity: Is the Forest Service serving its diverse publics? Journal of Forestry. 116(3): 266-272.