Outdoor Recreation and Community Development in Rural California
An in-depth exploration of outdoor recreation in rural California.
In recent years, outdoor recreation has become a popular topic in rural community and economic development nationally. The trend magnifies a long-held recognition that outdoor recreation and “natural amenities” benefit rural communities both in terms of quality of life as well as economic activity. In California, the contemporary movement confounds many community leaders to define the opportunity and craft strategy at a local and regional scale. The challenge invites basic questions. Is the state paying sufficient attention to outdoor recreation impacts in rural communities? Can public and private resources catalyze community transformation in rural areas using outdoor recreation as a primary lever? To what extent can outdoor recreation strategy address the jarring economic and social disparities that plague rural California? Can outdoor recreation address basic structural gaps in rural institutional and community capacity? Why are some rural communities burdened by visitor impacts while others can’t jumpstart recreation-based economic activity?
The paper resulted in the following key findings, for which we offer recommendations in the final section of the report:
Published June 29, 2020
As a compliment to the Arizona State Parks 2020 Trails Plan, this study estimates the economic value of non-motorized and motorized trail use to Arizona residents using the travel cost method.
Trails are an important resource, but sadly we are increasingly seeing trails abused by littering and vandalism. American Trails has created a packet to teach kids to be great trail stewards so the next generation of trail lovers can help lead the way towards better care for our trails.
Promoting physical activity among children and adults is a priority national health objective in the United States. Regular physical activity lowers the risk of chronic diseases and is an important strategy for reversing the obesity epidemic.
A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the creation of nature-rich urban environments, including schoolyards with natural play spaces and gardens, can help improve physical and mental health, cognitive skills, creativity, and social bonding.