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Outdoor Foundation Reports Increase in Outdoor Participation

April 20, 2017

Media Contact

Ivan Levin
Outdoor Foundation

Washington, DC

Nearly Half of Americans Participated in Outdoor Recreation in 2016

Nearly half of all Americans, 48.6 percent of the population ages six and up, participated in at least one outdoor recreational activity in 2016. That equates to 144 million participants, who went on a total of 11 billion outdoor outings. These findings are part of the Outdoor Foundation’s 2017 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report, which provides an overview of American participation trends in outdoor recreation with a focus on youth, young adults and the future of the outdoors. A report with a more in-depth look at outdoor recreation will be released this summer.

From 2015 to 2016, overall outdoor participation grew, adding 1.6 million participants. The participation rate increased from 48.4 percent to 48.6 percent.

As seen in previous years, outdoor participation for youth and young adults skewed heavily Caucasian, with Hispanics coming in a distant second. Among the genders, however, participation was almost evenly split. Running, jogging and trail running remained the most popular outdoor activity, but stand up paddling saw the largest growth in participants.

Aspirational participation, which measures the physical activities that interest non-participants, showed that many Americans were drawn to outdoor recreation over sports, fitness and leisure activities. In fact, all aspirational participants — regardless of age — reported camping as one of their top three most appealing activities.

The Outdoor Foundation® produces the Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report to provide a snapshot of American participation in outdoor activities with a focus on youth and young adults. The report is based on an online survey of 24,134 Americans ages six and older and is the largest survey of its kind. To download a complete copy of the 2017 Outdoor Recreation Topline Participation Report, visit The Outdoor Foundation website by clicking HERE.


About the Outdoor Foundation
Founded in 2000, the Outdoor Foundation is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor leaders and enthusiasts. Through youth engagement, community grant-making, and groundbreaking research, the Foundation works with young leaders and partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In just five years, the Foundation has invested $4 million into 785 not-for-profit and college programs that have connected 200,000 young people to the outdoors. Importantly, 90¢ of every dollar goes directly into this critical work. Visit us at and for more information.