DNR: Wis. residents love outdoor sports
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has made publicly available a draft of its "2011-2016 Wisconsin Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan." The SCORP, as it's called, is updated every five years by the DNR as the state's "framework for future recreation development and focus."
The new draft SCORP reveals that more than 87 percent of Wisconsinites enjoy some form of outdoor recreation.
"Walking is by far the most popular outdoor activity in Wisconsin," according to the document. In fact, between 1994 and 2009, the number of Wisconsinites who reported walking for pleasure increased by 951,000 to more than 3.9 million.
Yet a 2011 county-by-county assessment of accessibility to parks and trails revealed that 70 percent of Wisconsin residents do not live within a half mile of a public park or trail. In 31 counties, less than 5 percent of residents are close to pedestrian facilities.
Between 1994 and 2009, according to the new draft SCORP, bicycling also increased in popularity, rising by 704,000 to total nearly 2.2 million people statewide. Day hiking rose by nearly as much to be enjoyed by more than 1.6 million state residents, and running and jogging was taken up by 643,000 more people over those 15 years to exceed 1.4 million.
The recreational activities in which participation grew the most between 1994 and 2009 included the silent sports of kayaking, up 715 percent in that period, and surfing, which spiked 332 percent. The only outdoor sports in which interest grew more dramatically was handball/racquetball and soccer. The popularity of mountain/rock climbing also rose 130 percent.
The draft SCORP estimates the level of statewide participation between 2005-2009 (since the last report was published) in many outdoor activities, including the following nonmotorized silent sports:
* walking for pleasure (3.9 million people or 87.7 percent of state residents age 16 and over);
* bicycling (2.2 million, 48.7 percent);
* swimming in lakes and streams (1.9 million, 41.7 percent);
* day hiking (1.7 million, 36.7 percent);
* running/jogging (1.4 million, 32 percent);
* mountain biking (1.4 million, 30.7 percent);
* trail running (773,000, 18.6 percent);
* canoeing (806,000, 17.9 percent);
* ice skating outdoors (806,000, 13.5 percent);
* cross-country skiing (396,000, 8.8 percent);
* backpacking (333,000, 7.4 percent);
* kayaking (329,000, 7.3 percent); rowing (324,000, 7.2 percent);
* snowshoeing (275,000, 6.1 percent);
* rock climbing (171,000, 3.8 percent);
* inline skating (113,000, 2.5 percent);
* orienteering (72,000, 1.6 percent);
* and surfing (45,000, 1 percent).
In contrast, here are the percentages of Wisconsinites who enjoy particular motorsports:
* motorboating (1.6 million, 36 percent);
* off-road vehicle driving (891,000, 19.8 percent);
* snowmobiling (824,000, 18.3 percent);
* and personal watercraft use (293,000, 6.5 percent)
The SCORP report also predicts which recreation activities will grow in popularity over the next five years. Those activities include adventure racing, kayaking, BMX biking, standup paddleboarding, triathlon and off-highway vehicle driving.
The entire draft 2011-2016 SCORP can be found here.
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