The Growing Role of Outdoor Recreation
Marion Clawson and Winston Harrington
The subject of this chapter is not a particular resource, but a category of uses that cuts across several different resources. Although the activities of outdoor recreation are distinguished more by their enormous variety than by their similarities, one characteristic common to nearly all forms of outdoor recreation is the use of large amounts of land or water. In urban areas, the demand for land for outdoor recreation conflicts with the use of land for housing and commercial or industrial development. In rural areas, the conflict is with the use of land for production of agricultural and other natural resource commodities. In the course of U.S. history, outdoor recreation has progressed from being an unimportant, almost non- existent user of natural resources to its current role as one of the most important users. As its role has grown, so has the scope of conflict with other natural resource uses. This chapter traces that change by describing trends in recreation use and by examining important influences on those trends.