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Trails were found to be the most often used amenity at state parks for both day and overnight users. Day visitors also indicated that hiking was their most important “top of mind” reason for visiting state parks.

 

Trail access is central to Texas statewide outdoor recreation plan

arrow Download the complete "2012 Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan" (pdf 6.4 mb)


Promoting the most popular outdoor recreation activities and providing critical amenities can help increase participation rates and promote healthy lifestyles. For example, in addition to being identified as the top needed facility for both state and local parks in Texas; trail linkages are considered one of the key ways to provide access to parks and to encourage active lifestyles, which is vital to combating the obesity epidemic.

photo of outdoor recreation book cover

Cover of The 2012 Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan

Plan Recommendations

[Action items included to show that trails are the key way to "Respond to prominent outdoor recreation trends."]

1. Promote to general public and decision makers the total economic value of parks and recreation as it relates to attracting tourism, economic development and improving the quality of life.

2. Seek sustainable funding and leverage resources to meet the expanding outdoor recreation and conservation needs of the growing, diverse and predominately urban population of Texas.

3. Respond to prominent outdoor recreation trends.

4. Manage access to public waters for recreation.

5. Maintain the commitment to periodically review the Open Project Selection Process and grant administration guidelines for state and local parks

6. Efficiently manage land, water, and facilities for sustainable public use.

 

Outdoor Recreation Needs Surveys

[This excerpt shows how important trails are in a variety of settings, from state parks to neighborhoods.]

In order to garner public input, the Recreation Grants Branch conducted two on-line surveys related to the outdoor recreational needs of Texans. There was a survey formulated specifically for recreation providers and a survey aimed towards citizen input. The surveys were conducted between August 15 and September 28, 2011.

The on-site survey research found that trails are very important to park visitors. Trails were found to be the most often used amenity at state parks for both day and overnight users. Day visitors also indicated that hiking was their most important “top of mind” reason for visiting state parks. Trail maintenance and the need for new trails were identified by day users as the most desired park improvement.

The resulting action based on this research finding is the need to develop strategies for promoting hiking at parks, including the need to:

Improve trail maps/signage (incorporate GPS coordinates) o Improve trail-related information on website, including more descriptive content and user-generated comments about trails, and
• Offer more guided/interpretive walk/tours, possible video camp of hikes, and mobile app tours
• Develop hiking programs at parks (geocaching, treasure hunts, walking/trail clubs)
• Consider targeted advertising in magazines (Backpacker, Outside)

Top 5 Facilities Needed Now in Texas State Parks by Texas Citizens

Hiking trails 37.5%
Primitive hiking trails 31.7%
Mountain bike trails 29.5%
Biking trails 26.9%
Restrooms 26.9%
Nature/interpretive trails 24.7%

Recreation providers were asked to rate the importance of the types of park needs that they are currently facing in their park system. Trail linkages within their own park system rated significantly higher in importance than the next category of trail linkages with other jurisdictions.

Recreation Providers Rate the Level of Importance of the Types of Parks Needed Now

Trail linkage within your system 82.7%
Trail linkage to other jurisdictions 69.2%
Nature parks 68.3%
Creek corridors 58.7%

Top 5 Facilities Needed Now by Recreation Providers

As in numerous other agency plans, including previous SCORP submissions, trails still rank highest as the top facilities needed now. Trails account for three of the five top needs.

Paved trails for walking, hiking, skating or biking 54.2%
Natural park area/open space 30.4%
Nature/interpretive trails 29.2%
Unpaved trails for walking and hiking 27.4%
Dog parks 25.0%

TOP 5 facilities NEEDED NOW in your LOCAL PARKS (within 30 minutes of your home)

Unpaved trails for walking and hiking 43.6%
Natural park area/open space 31.8%
Mountain bike trails 31.4%
Paved trails for walking, hiking, biking, skating 30.1%
Wildlife/nature observation sites 27.8%
Nature/interpretive trails 22.4%
Dog parks 17.2%

 

arrow Download the complete "2012 Texas Outdoor Recreation Plan" (pdf 6.4 mb)

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