Facts & Statistics

Park Location & Usage
  • 4 out of 5 North Americans use their local recreation and park system.
  • 75% of North Americans have a park or recreation facility within walking distance of their home.
Children & Family
  • 85% of parents believe that participating in outdoor activities strengthens family relationships according to an REI national survey of parents with children ages 4 to 14 (Sports Edge Newswire, May 29, 2002). Parents ranked camping as the number one "great outdoor family experience" (33%), followed by:
    • Hiking (14.5%)
    • Bicycling (13.3%)
    • Fishing (12.8%)
Recreational Spending
  • Americans spend approximately $634 million per year on golf balls (USA Today, 12/8/95, p. B1).
  • The City of Reno, Nevada opened a $47.5 million National Bowling Stadium early in 1995 and in the first 6 months generated $238 billion as a result of this facility (USA Today, 12/8/95, p. 5D).
  • A study by the University of Illinois and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago found that visitors to the 1995 Monet exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago generated a $389 million economic benefit to the city with visitors spending:
    • $31 million on hotels
    • $31 million on shopping
    • $22 million in restaurants
    • $18 million for transportation (Howlett, Debbie, "Money is Chicago's Stroke of Fortune," USA Today, 12/7/95 p. 3A)
Health Savings
Each additional mile walked or run by a sedentary person would save U.S. society an average of $0.34 in medical and other costs (RAND Corporation, 1993).

Crime Related Facts
  • The Phoenix Parks, Recreation and Library Department, when expanding its late night/weekend activities over the summer months, found that such programs resulted in a 52% reduction in juvenile crime. Such programs were offered at a cost of $0.74 per person whereas the cost to incarcerate one teen for a year is $38,000 (Phoenix Parks, Recreation and Library Department, 1994).
    • For each dollar we spend on rehabilitation, we save $11 later (The Phoenix Project, Section II, Page 18, 1995).
    • Sharp James, the former president of the National League of Cities, said, "We are going to recreate or we are going to incarcerate" and cited that in 1992, 21.8 million youth under the age 21 were arrested and the cost of incarcerating these youth was $2.3 billion annually. (Healing America's Cities, 1994)
Economic Statistics
  • In Vail, Colorado, the assessed value of the property in this vacation resort is $6.5 billion, an amount equal to the gross national product of Bolivia and Nicaragua (Flotsam and Jetsom, Pelican Press, September 1995).
  • In Lowell, Massachusetts, at the Lowell National Historic Site, for every public dollar invested in its economic renewal, an additional $7 of private investment was generated (Phoenix Project Handbook, Section II, Page 28, 1995).
  • A study of tourism in Galveston, Texas, in 1991, found that the 180,000 people visiting the Strand Historic District and the 100,000 attendees at the Dickens festival resulted in people spending $18 million in Galveston, creating $2.7 million in salaries (Phoenix Project Handbook, Section II, page 28, 1995).
Travel & Tourism
  • According to a study done by the University of Michigan, 1 in 12 or 17 million vehicle-owning U.S. households now owns a recreational vehicle (RV). Over the past 4 years, RV ownership has increased 7.8 % (Recreation Vehicle Industry Association news release, January 18, 2002).
  • For the past 2 decades, tourism has been the fastest growing component of the Alaska economy. Wildlife viewing and "soft adventure" activities that combine comfort and outdoor recreation, such as fishing trips combined with nights at a comfortable lodge, are quickly becoming some of the most popular reasons to visit Alaska ("Pacific Northwest Research Station: 2001 Scientific Accomplishments," USDA Forest Service, April 2002).
  • The American Hotel and Lodging Association reported that Americans spent $150 billion on leisure related stays in 2000. That's 59% of the total American hotel/motel industry ($2.54 billion) for the year.
  • Over 350 river cleanups took place across the country this may in National River Cleanup 2002. Since its inception in 1992, 429,555 volunteers have participated in 4,738 cleanups covering 95,269 miles of waterways during National River Cleanup Week.
  • 64% of Americans consider it very important to conserve and protect wetlands, and 46% say they believe there are too few wetlands in North America according to a study conducted by Responsive Management. However, 63% could not name a single non-governmental organization that helps conserve wildlife and natural resources, and 57% could not identify a non-governmental group that protects the environment (Responsive Management, Spring 2002).
Health & Wellness
  • Exercise can help prevent heart disease by improving insulin action. Insulin resistance syndrome, in which the body fails to use insulin properly, accounts for more than 60% of the cases of heart disease in women and up to 30% in American men.
  • A study published in the journal Health Affairs found that people who are obese have 30 to 50% more chronic medical problems than smokers or drinkers. Health complications linked to obesity such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, stroke and certain cancers raise an individual’s healthcare costs by 36% and medication costs by 77%. Less physical activity, more hours in front of the television, and a car-obsessed culture were all cited by the author as significant causes of America’s growing obesity problem ("Obesity Harder on Health than Smoking," Reuters, March 12, 2002).
  • A Brown University study reported that the United States could save $20 billion per year in healthcare costs if every American walked for an hour a day (as reported in "One Small Step for Mankind," in the Hartford Advocate, 10/12/95. p.23).