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Are You Seeing This?

January 14, 2019 - Larry Claypool
According to the recently released Ohio Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), many of our outdoor activities in this region — and across the country — are growing, at least interest-wise. And I don’t mean your savings account interest.

The 2018 SCORP research study is done every five years and provides up-to-date information on statewide outdoor recreation priorities and trends in the state. The SCORP is used as a reference document for state officials for allocating federal and state grants among projects proposed by public outdoor recreation providers (park districts, cities, counties and townships) around the state.

As we know, the sport of hunting, and the number of hunters, have been tumbling down the past 10 years or so. Efforts are being made across the board — here and nationally — about how to get more people involved in hunting. It’s been a slow process. And in the meantime, states, like Ohio, have been forced to react to the loss of funds as less hunters are going afield.

The state’s research shows interest in camping, in Ohio and nationally, is growing. The age group 18-34 accounts for nearly half of all new campers. Interest in fishing is growing nationally too. The survey shows 44% of new anglers are between ages 6-17 and 46% are female. Trails, for hiking, walking and biking, are also highly popular with Ohioans.

Are you seeing this?

As for overall wildlife activities for Ohioans, the top three are: wildlife viewing, nature photography and bird watching. I’m guessing we all know someone who’s seriously involved in at least one of these activities, if not all three.

If you know of someone who’s taken up any of these ‘hobbies’ recently, send me a message and we may include them in a future article on the topic.

The survey also found that Ohioans enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities with trail activities being the most popular with over 97% of households utilizing a variety of trails on Ohio’s public lands.

Touching on the economics of spending associated with the outdoors, the Outdoor Industry Association’s report illustrated America’s passion for outdoor recreation that Americans spend more on trail gear ($20 billion) than home entertainment ($18), more than water sports gear ($14 billion) and movie tickets ($11 billion).

Additionally, the OIA report said more Americans participate in outdoor recreation (144 million) than attend NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL games combined (134 million).

One age bracket that’s pushing the outdoor economy is the millennials (18-35) group. The increased interest in recreational vehicles (RVs) over the past few years is attributed to that group. A 2016 report said the number of new RVs manufactured that year hit a 40-year high of 430,700 units.

Across the board millenials are being counted on for much of the activity when it comes to the outdoors. Obviously because of their age, they are going to be more active and have expendable income — a key component in this conversation.

Technology has played a part in where and how we participate in outdoor activities. The younger generation leads the way on how we seek outdoor resources, plan outings and find events to attend. The SCORP study says 95% of Americans over age 18 have a cellphone (77% have Smart phones).

“The increased availability and use of technology can impact the way people receive information, how they plan outings, and what their expectations are in regards to wi-fi accessibility while engaged in recreation,” said the study.

The 200-page SCORP study covers a lot of areas. It assists government agencies with planning, and most importantly funding. It also assists the statewide tourism industry, which is a big deal for many areas within Ohio.

See a related article about the SCORP document online at:

For questions and comments about this study, email me at:


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The state’s research shows interest in camping, in Ohio and nationally, is growing. The age group 18-34 accounts for nearly half of all new campers. Photo courtesy of Metro Creative