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Criterion 6 Indicator 37
Visitor days attributed to recreation and tourism.    

The number of visitor days indicates recreation demand. Examination of this data can reveal trends in forest recreation.

Can This Indicator Be Quantified
The following table shows, for state and federal land management agencies, how much of their total recreation use in Oregon occurs within 50 miles of the Willamette Valley.
Table 37-1. Percentage of selected agencies’ recreation demand occurring within 50 miles of the Willamette Valley (1997 data unless otherwise specified)
AgencyRVDVisits% Visits Occurring within 50 mi. of Willamette Valley
Bureau of Land Management-9,668,60739%
National Parks Service240,169848,92724%
US Army Corps of Engineers-4,085,62376%
USDA Forest Service30,313,015-61%
Oregon Department Forestry #-10,993-
Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife *-930,40168%
Oregon Parks and Rec. Dept.**-40,785,47347%
# 1998 Data. *1993 Data. * 1996 Data.

The data for some agencies show trends of increasing use over time (Bureau of Land Management, Oregon State Parks, Oregon State Marine Board), while others, such as the National Park Service, show fluctuations over time without a significant overall increase. See Figures 37-1 and 37-2.
In Oregon, participation by household in outdoor recreation is greatest in households that have children, household members are less than 50 years old, and household income is greater than $35,000 per year (OPRD 1994). National recreation trends indicate that the hours of visitor use have remained stable while the number of visits has increased. This data means that people are making fewer long-term trips and taking more shorter outdoor recreation trips (Cordell, et. al., 1990). In a national survey, Cordell, et. al., (1990) found that the median distance traveled to federal recreation areas was 25 miles for day trips, and 130 miles for overnight trips.
Lower income households in Oregon (less than $35,000/year) rely more heavily on locally available opportunities. However, across all income levels, distance from recreation resources was seen as a barrier to participation (49 percent of households surveyed in Oregon). As distance increases to the destination, frequency of participation decreases (OPRD 1994). The most frequently cited barrier is lack of time to recreate (63 percent), which is related to the distance factor; if time is a major constraint, then travelling greater distances to recreation sites is undesirable. Other barriers are equipment costs and fees, declared by 34 percent and 30 percent, respectively, of surveyed households (OPRD 1994).
Figure 37-1. Visits to Oregon state parks, 1970-96
Figure 37-2. Visits to National Park Service sites in Oregon, 1986-97
The latest Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan indicates that the surveyed households desired recreation opportunities that occur in less developed areas (OPRD 1994). This desire indicates a future conflict developing, since less developed areas are expected to decrease over time (Cordell, et. al., 1990). See "Trends" under Indicator #36.

Data Source and Availability
Most public agencies collect recreation use information; some may use estimates. Private owners do not collect recreation use data. The following sources were used for this indicator.
BLM. Ken White, recreation planner.
National Park Service. Web site address: http://www.nps.gov/. Contact: Butch Street, NPS webmaster.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Long-range management plans for wildlife areas.
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. 1994. Oregon Outdoor Recreation Plan, 1994-1999. Salem, OR.
Oregon State Marine Board. 1996. Oregon Recreational Boating Survey.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Web site address: http://www.gorp.com/gorp/resource/us_nra/ace/or.htm.
U.S. Forest Service. Contact: Chuck Frayer, Pacific Northwest Region office, Portland, OR.

Reliability of Data
Data is reliable for the National Park Service and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Other agencies’ data may be less reliable, because agencies vary in methodology and consistency of data collection. It is difficult to predict trends, because data may not be available for consecutive years within an agency.

The scale at which data is available varies for this indicator. Many agencies may have data only on a small scale, such as by individual campground, and other agencies compile their data on a larger scale, such as by park.

Recommended Action for Data Collection
Standardized terminology and data collection would improve the quality of available data. Agencies would need to coordinate to achieve this consistency. All data should be measured in either recreation visitor days or recreation visits, and agencies should estimate length of stay so that either measure can be converted to the other. Future data collection should be based on scientific sampling procedures and appropriate survey designs for on-site contacts. Road and trail counters can be used in many instances, but must be supplemented with periodic on-site surveys to measure party size, activity, length of stay, and other recreational characteristics.

Recreation visitor days (RVD) — One recreation visitor day is defined as 12 hours of use by one person. Any equivalent is also defined as 1 RVD; for example, 1 RVD could be 3 hours of use by 4 people, 6 hours of use by 2 people, and ½ hour of use by 24 people.
Recreation visits — Visits may also be used as a measure of recreation use. A "visit" is defined as one visit by one person for any length of time

Selected References