Posts Tagged ‘recreation’

Parks Canada LogoVisitors to Canada’s national park could soon be zip lining through a forest or hang-gliding over a valley under new rules approved by Parks Canada, part of a cultural change in the way the federal agency manages some of the country’s most beloved landscapes, The Vancouver Sun reported.

“When an organization or a visitor would approach us with a new possible activity or event, the easiest answer for us to give was ‘No,’ ” said Ed Jager, Parks Canada director of visitor experience. “That’s the culture we’re trying to change.”

This spring, Parks Canada completed a four-year review of activities it would allow in areas it controls.

The sport of geocaching, a sort of GPS-guided treasure hunt, got the OK in 2009. Mountain biking, kite surfing and zip lining were all approved over the years and hang-gliding and paragliding were given the nod in February.

Managers at each park now have the authority to decide how those activities fit their environments.

Mountain biking has already been expanded at parks across the country. Kite surfing is an addition at parks in Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and Alberta.

A decision on a via ferrata – fixed cables and rungs allowing non-experts to cross an exposed mountainside – for Mount Norquay at Banff National Park will be made in the coming weeks.

Canopy tours, which use ziplines to take visitors through a treetop environment, are also being considered.

And paragliders are panting at the thought of soaring along mountainsides and over lakes.

“It would be a great opportunity for us to go into some of the most beautiful areas in Canada,” said Bruce Busby of the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada. “We’re champing at the bit.”

The new activities will increase private business involvement in the parks. Via ferratas and canopy tours would be offered by for-profit operators, said Jager.

“People would pay a fee and we would make sure it was a very safe experience for visitors.”

The idea, he said, is to keep an increasingly urban and immigrant-based population connected to its natural heritage.

But allowing such activities in the parks risks making thrill-seeking the lure, zipping through the forest rather than experiencing the trees, said Alison Woodley of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

“Are they really connecting people to these places in ways that allow them to build that culture of conservation in Canada?” she asked. “Some of these activities, it’s not clear they’re connecting people with nature.”

“Camping fees go up a buck, but that’s not unusual,” said Mike Kenealy, recreation and special uses coordinator for the Colorado’s White River National Forest.

Children Playing at CampgroundSite fees vary depending on services, ranging from $17 at Pine Cove Campground to $24 at Heaton Bay, for those hooking up to electric. On the flip side, day-use fees went down a few dollars to $5 from last year’s $8.

Overnight guests will be charged a $5 extra vehicle fee for the second vehicle at a site. The previous concessionaire charged that fee for the third vehicle.

Other than fees, the public shouldn’t see much change in campground operations.

However, the new concessionaire plans to add sites to the online advance reservations system, as well as extend the reservation window beyond one week in advance.

The concessionaire may also extend some campground seasons, such as a handful around Dillon Reservoir, though they’ll remain first-come, first-served before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, Kenealy said, but reservations are available between the holidays. Typically, the season is mid-May through mid-September, but campgrounds such as Heaton Bay could remain open until Oct. 31.

Some Green Mountain Reservoir sites — McDonald Flats, Prairie Point, Cataract Creek — and Blue River campground will open May 4. The opening of the rest will be dependent on weather and demand, but all will be open by Memorial day, Waugh said.

Full Story…

Washington, DC, January 21, 2011 – Almost 40 million Americans participated in camping last year, according to a new study released today by The Outdoor Foundation, Coleman and Kampgrounds of America (KOA). That equates to more than 14 percent of Americans over age six. The findings are part of the 2011 Special Report on Camping, a leading report tracking American participation in camping.

This extended 54-page Special Report on Camping provides data and analysis on camping participation in the United States, including psychographic profiles, camping preferences and buying behavior. The Report also explores opportunities in the camping industry and the overall future of camping. The findings are based on an online survey of more than 40,000 Americans ages six and older and a supplemental survey of camping participants 18 and older.

“The Special Report on Camping shows that camping endures as part of the American outdoor tradition – accommodating any lifestyle and giving access to any outdoor experience,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation. “Thanks to support and commitment of Coleman and KOA, the Report provides first-of-its-kind information on camping trends, which should be of great interest to everyone in the outdoor community – especially those of us focused on inspiring future generations of enthusiasts.”

The study found that introducing children to camping at a young age is vital to their participation as adults. Half of all current campers ages 18 and over experienced their first camping trip before they reached the age of seven. Only nine percent of all adult camping participants tried camping for the first time after age 19.

“KOA has been serving the camping public for 50 years and believes that it is essential to evaluate key outdoor sector and camper trends to continually respond to the diverse outdoor hospitality needs of Americans and international visitors”, said Jim Rogers, Chairman and CEO of Kampgrounds of America. “KOA was pleased to have participated in this special report and looks forward to working with its outdoor partners to use this information to better serve and grow the outdoor marketplace.”

The insights detailed in the 2011 Special Report on Camping are critical to understanding both campers and non-campers and building participation in the activity. Additional findings include:

Overview of Camping Participation

  • Almost 40 million Americans went camping in 2010 for a total of 514.8 million outings.
  • On average, each camping participant spent almost 13 days camping.
  • More than three-quarters of participants are planning 3+ camping trips in the next year.
  • Over three-quarters of campers participate in multiple outdoor activities.

Profile of a Camper

  • Family is the most popular camping companion for 35 to 54 year olds.
  • More than 90 percent of campers hiked during their last in-season trip.
  • In the last 12 months, 86 percent of campers went on a camping trip during the summer.
  • Over 50 percent of campers are motivated to go camping simply because they enjoy the act of camping.

Buying Behavior

  • Younger campers are most likely to buy backpacks, while older campers are most likely to buy propane lighting.
  • Sixty-one percent of campers say they spend about the same amount on recreation in 2010 as they did in 2009.
  • Most new and replacement camping purchases are planned at home before taking the camping trip.

Future of Camping

  • Nearly a quarter of frequent campers say their camping trips over the last three years have become longer and more frequent.
  • The most cited reasons for reducing the number of trips are a lack of time due to work and family commitments.
  • Almost half of all respondents say their fathers took them camping for the first time.

To download a complete copy of the 2011 Special Report on Camping, visit The Outdoor Foundation website at

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