Healthy Human Population
Outdoor Activity
Nature-based recreation
Vital Sign Indicator
Percent (%)

No targets are currently set for this indicator.

Kelly Biedenweg
Contributing Partners
Last Updated
7/1/2021 4:04:53 PM
2020 mean frequency of unpaved path use in fall by county. This reflects only one of the potential recreation activities. These and other human wellbeing data can be further explored with an interactive web interface at the link below.
This indicator tracks participation in nature-based recreation in the Puget Sound region during winter, spring, fall and summer seasons. Recreational activities tracked are limited to those within the scope of Puget Sound recovery and include both passive and active recreational activities, such as wildlife-watching, fishing, bicycling, boating, and swimming. Here we present data from Fall 2020.
Vital Sign Indicator Chart
Nature-based recreation
By: Response
Using a six-point scale, ranging from 'I do not engage in this activity' (1) to 'More than 20 days per month' (6), respondents were asked to report "About how many days per month on average did you participate in the following recreation activities in the Puget Sound region this past fall".

The abililty to engage in outdoor activities contribute to human physical and psychological health by providing opportunities for exercise, mastery, relationship building (with nature, friends, family and pets), and spiritual and aesthetic practices. Combined, the place-specific aspect of these activities contributes to one's sense of place.  

Key Vital Sign Indicator Results
  • For the random population sample, the most frequently practiced outdoor activities are gardening/yardwork and wildlife viewing, including birds. For the purposive Latinx sample, using paved paths and picnicking were the most common activities.
  • The least frequently practiced outdoor activities are hunting and motorized trail use.
  • Because we alternate seasonal data collection with each survey, we cannot compare the 2020 data for fall and spring with the 2018 data for summer and winter.
Monitoring Program

Oregon State University Human Dimensions Lab

Data Source

Oregon State University Human Dimensions Lab

Vital Signs Survey Summary Report 2020

Data are collected every 2 years via paper survey to a random sample of Puget Sound households. The population chosen for this survey was a clustered random sample of Puget Sound residents, with an initial sample of 9,000. Due to undeliverable addresses, the total sample reached was less than 9,000.  In 2020, the response rate was 25 percent for a total of 1,843 respondents.

Also appended is a 2021 purposive sample of 180 Latinx respondents who were selected using a variety of techniques, including:

  • qualtrics panel of Latinx respondents,
  • recruitment ads placed in Spanish and English with regional Spanish radio and newspapers, and
  • social media recruitment through Puget Sound Latinx groups.

This one-time survey was conducted to approach Latinx respondents in diverse, potentially more culturally-appropriate ways, to determine if the Latinx respondents to our general public survey significantly differ from the overall Latinx population of Puget Sound (e.g., do Latinx respondents to our biennial random sample survey represent a biased group of Latinx?). To answer this question we compared the responses to the purposive sample to 1) all non-Latinx respondents in the general public survey and 2) only Latinx respondents to the general public survey.

Critical Definitions
Interpretation of Results

Multivariate linear regression models for each outdoor activity explained between two to 12 percent of the variation in responses based on demographics. People who used both paved and unpaved trails were more likely to be white, newer to the region and liberal.  People who engaged in gardening more frequently were more likely to live in an urban area and people who said they engaged in wildlife viewing were more likely to be newer to the region, live in an urban area, and be liberal.  We should be careful to interpret that these are direct reflections of outdoor activities, however, as there could be elements of interpretation related to people's responses.  Some people may not consider daily work around the home to be 'gardening or yardwork' nor their normal observation of nature to be 'wildlife viewing.'  These response options for activities fit specific interpretations of human-nature interactions.

This is the second iteration of collecting these data, and the first for Fall and Spring. We do not anticipate significant differences to appear until several years of monitoring.


The Puget Sound Partnership believes in the transparency and accessibility of the data used to address puget sound indicators. These data are provided by contributing partners to the Partnership and are made publicly available through the Puget Sound Info site. These data are available on an "as is" basis and the Partnership is not responsible for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies. Please acknowledge the monitoring program and data source when using these data and obtain permission from the Vital Sign Indicator Reporter to use these data in a publication.

Human Wellbeing Survey Results
Uploaded On
File Type
Excel (XLSX)
Survey results are provided for the subjective Human Wellbeing Vital Sign indicators Data were collected via survey to the general population of the Puget Sound Region in 2018 and 2020. Please acknowledge the Oregon State University Human Dimensions Lab and Puget Sound Partnership when using these data.
Reporting Guidance
Reporting Instructions
Do not engage, Less than 1 day per month, 1-4 days per month, 5-10 days per month, 11-20 days per month
[1 More Options]
More than 20 days per month