Fewer people exploring the outdoors

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While U.S. national parks enjoyed a record number of visits in 2014 (292.8 million), the overall number of people participating in outdoor recreation is dropping, according to a new report.

Since 2013, there has been a 0.8 percent drop in the number of people getting outdoors to hike, bike, fish, hunt, ski and enjoy a broad range of other activities, according to the 2015 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report. Based on an online survey of nearly 11,000 Americans ages six and older, the Topline Report is the largest survey providing an overview of American participation trends in outdoor recreation with a focus on youth, young adults and the future of the outdoors.

In 2014, 48.4 percent of the U.S. population participated in outdoor recreation, which is one of the lowest levels since the report began in 2006.

The report attributes the decline to “extreme weather and an unusually cold winter.” Plus, there has been a decline in running and biking, which are two primary activities that introduce people to outdoor recreation.

On a positive note, some activities are growing significantly, including stand-up paddleboarding, which increased participation by 38 percent from 2013 to 2014. Also, telemark skiing, snowshoeing, freestyle skiing and cross-country skiing also grew by significant margins, according to the report.

Click here to download a complete copy of the 2015 Outdoor Recreation Topline Participation Report

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