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.
Oregon State University Human Dimensions Lab
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 8,261 individuals. The response rate was 28 percent for a total of 2,323 individual responses. Results will be reported as the average frequency Puget Sound residents spend engaging in specific, seasonal outdoor recreation activities.
About 75 percent of survey participants gave their cross-streets, which allowed mapping of human wellbeing metrics at a fine scale. The map above shows the location of each individual respondent. Hot Spot Analysis (Getis-Ord Gi* statistic) was used to visualize clusters of responses that were significantly higher (red, hot spots) and lower (blue, cold spots) relative to those around them.
The most frequently practiced outdoor activities are gardening/outdoor yardwork in the summer (an average of 5-10 days per month for the population, with 90 percent of the population doing outdoor gardening/yardwork at some point in the summer). Next most frequent are the use of paved and unpaved paths (averaging over 4 days per month in the summer, with 90 percent of the population doing so at least once in the summer). The least frequent activities are hunting (practiced by only 10 percent of the population), motorized trail use (only 12 percent of the population does this at all), motorized boating (only 32 percent of the population does this at all), and fishing (only 38 percent of the population does this at all).
All activities significantly decrease in the winter (figure below).
The map above provides an example of the distribution of individual survey respondents showing how each response to the frequency of using unpaved trails in summer compared to those around them. On average, each county used unpaved paths between 5-10 days per month and 1-4 days per month. Respondents from San Juan, Jefferson, Island, and Whatcom counties tended to use unpaved trails more frequently relative to those around them (red, hot spots). Respondents from Snohomish, Pierce, King, and Thurston counties tended to use unpaved trails less frequently than those around them (blue, cold spots).
Multivariate linear regression models for each outdoor activity explained between 3 percent and 10 percent of the variation in responses based on demographics. The primary demographics influencing outdoor recreation were the area in which one lived (rural, suburban or urban) and age. In fact, many respondents chose to provide unsolicited information that they would like to do more outdoor activities but are unable to due to age-related physical limitations.
The Puget Sound Partnership believes in the transparency and accessibility of the data used to address progress measures. 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.