Recreational outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, boating, hunting & wildlife viewing and sports such as running, bicycling and climbing draw millions of participants into the outdoors in the United States each year. In 2016, about 50 percent of all U.S. Americans had participated in some kind of outdoor activity. Children aged 6 to 12 years were the most likely group to participate outdoor activities, with about 62 percent of that age group participating.
Amongst the most popular outdoor activities are hiking (42.2 million participants in 2016), camping (40.5 million), biking (45.9 million), fishing (47.1 million) and running (52.3 million). Reasons for participating in outdoor activities are, for example, the need to get exercise and to keep physically fit, to be with family and friends, to be close to nature, to get away from the usual demands of daily life and many more. National Parks are popular destinations for people that want to be active in the outdoors. Parks that are under the administration of the National Park Service had more than 300 million visitors in 2015.
The economic impact of outdoor activities in the U.S. reaches several billion U.S. dollars each year. The direct economic impact on local economies of visitor spending at National Parks is estimated to be between six and eight billion U.S. dollars per year. Average annual expenditure on hunting and fishing equipment was estimated at around 33.63 U.S. dollars in 2015. That same year, there were 28.46 million paid fishing license holders in the United States and the gross cost of fishing licenses reached approximately 686.15 million U.S. dollars.