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Chapter 1: The shifting outdoor recreation paradigm: Time for change

Author(s):

Francisco Valenzuela
Steven Selin
Mike Schlafmann
Stephen F. McCool

Year:

2020

Publication type:

General Technical Report (GTR)

Primary Station(s):

Pacific Northwest Research Station

Source:

In: Selin, Steven; Cerveny, Lee K.; Blahna, Dale J.; Miller, Anna B., eds. 2020. Igniting research for outdoor recreation: linking science, policy, and action. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-987. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 257 p.

Description

Outdoor recreation management on public lands is at a crossroads both at home and abroad. The number of visitors is increasing in the United States, and visitor expenditures are creating economic benefits exceeding those of any other resource production contributions for the national economy and for many rural communities near public lands (Rosenberger 2018, Rosenberger et al. 2017, White et al. 2016). Open space and recreation access provided by federal lands are key population and development drivers in rural communities (Headwaters Economics 2019, White et al. 2016). A deepening recognition of the personal and community benefits of human contact with nature are spawning burgeoning new areas of research and practice, such as “cultural ecosystem services” in economics (Chan et al. 2012), “nature’s contributions to people” in biology (Diaz et al. 2018), and “parks prescriptions” in medicine (Frumkin et al. 2017, Rosenberger and Dunn 2018, Williams 2017). Yet, the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service each have multi-billion-dollar backlogs of deferred recreation maintenance (Kilmer and Nordstrom 2019, USDA OIG 2017). Agency budgets and appropriated funding for national forest recreation have steadily decreased over time (Cerveny et al. 2019, Selin 2018). Field managers, nongovernmental organizations, and local and state governments all have identified inconsistencies between the many and diverse public values and impacts of outdoor recreation and existing policies and funding for recreation management on public lands.
     These and other anomalies discussed throughout this report reflect a significant disconnection between public recreation needs and existing land management policies and practices. This introductory chapter describes the current and emerging paradigms of outdoor recreation and a few key assumptions and barriers that will influence adoption of a new paradigm. Although our focus is on outdoor recreation research and practice in the United States, we believe the ideas apply internationally, as many countries look to American universities and agencies as leaders in outdoor recreation and protected area management. We do not consider this chapter to be a definitive statement on the subject; our intent is to present a set of ideas that we hope will serve as a springboard to reinvigorate future practice and research in outdoor recreation.

Citation

Blahna, Dale J.; Valenzuela, Francisco; Selin, Steven; Cerveny, Lee K.; Schlafmann, Mike; McCool, Stephen F. 2020. Chapter 1: The shifting outdoor recreation paradigm: Time for change. In: Selin, Steven; Cerveny, Lee K.; Blahna, Dale J.; Miller, Anna B., eds. 2020. Igniting research for outdoor recreation: linking science, policy, and action. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-987. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: 9-22.

Publication Notes

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/60073