What's Happening

How People Engage with Parks and Recreation

Posted on September 24, 2019

Published and copy written by the National Recreation and Park Association

The reasons that draw people to their local parks demonstrate park and recreation agencies’ broad mission to be the centerpiece of healthy, thriving, connected-to-nature communities. Whether spending time with friends and family, improving their health or reconnecting with nature after a hectic week, the reasons people visit their local park and recreation facilities are as diverse as they are. 

In 2016, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) launched an annual survey that investigates how people engage with their local park and recreation agencies. Each year, the study examines the importance of public parks in people’s lives, including how parks compare to other local government services and offerings. Now in its fourth year, the 2019 Engagement with Parks Report looks at how people interact with parks, the key reasons driving this interaction and the greatest challenges that prevent increased usage. Additionally, this year’s study takes a closer look at people’s favorite outdoor activities as well as their support of local governments expanding open space in their jurisdictions for the protection of natural resources in the community.

Key Findings

  • People visit their local park and recreation facilities twice a month, on average, with one in 10 visiting weekly, if not daily.
  • Sixty-four percent of survey respondents indicate they visited a local park and/or recreation facility within a month of participating in the survey.
  • Eighty-five percent of the public considers high-quality park and recreation amenities important factors when choosing a new place to live.
  • Nine in 10 people agree that parks and recreation is an important local government service.
  • Ninety-three percent of U.S. residents believe it is important for their local government to acquire, construct and maintain local parks, trails and green spaces near bodies of water to protect natural resources in their community.
  • Eighty-eight percent of people agree their local park and recreation agency does a good job of providing the local community with opportunities to interact with nature and the outdoors.

READ NRPA Engagement Survey Report 2019

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