Almost half of all Americans, or 48.4 percent of the US population, enjoyed the great outdoors in 2014. This equates to more than 141 million outdoor participants and a collective 11.8 billion outdoor outings.
From 2013 to 2014, outdoor participation dropped by .8%. Despite this relatively small decline, the 2014 outdoor participation level reached the lowest since the report began in 2006. The “Leaky Bucket” analysis illustrates where outdoor activities lost participants. While 11.9 million Americans started participating in one or more of the outdoor activities measured, 13 million stopped. This equates to a net loss of more than one million total participants.
A likely contributor to the drop in participants was an unusually cold winter where temperatures fell to unprecedented levels and extreme weather plagued many across the United States. Indeed, while the typically popular and easily accessible activities of running and biking lost participants, their indoor equivilents — running on a treadmill and riding on a stationary bike — added participants.*