More than two-thirds of active Americans named beautiful scenery, wildlife viewing, secluded quiet and lack of a corporate presence as experiences they expect during a visit to America’s National Parks according to a recent Outdoor Industry Association study conducted by the Leisure Trends Group. The survey also found that less than half of frequent park visitors placed a priority on the availability of food and equipment vendors and lodging.

The survey results come as the Department of Interior is considering a controversial rewrite of longstanding National Park Service policies. Opponents of the proposed rewrite, including Outdoor Industry Association, say the new guidelines would do away with the NPS’s historic focus on conservation and would increase noise and air pollution in our nation’s parks as well as expand commercialization of the parks.

“The results of this survey reaffirm Outdoor Industry Association’s position that active Americans overwhelmingly want the NPS to continue its current mission of conservation of our nation’s natural treasures,” notes Frank Hugelmeyer, president of OIA. “The proposed rewrite is not only unnecessary, but runs completely against the desires of Americans visiting national parks.”

The survey also found that:

  • 2 out of 3 Active Americans agree or strongly agree that it is more important to protect park resources than allow for expanded uses like off-road vehicles and the building of man-mad structures.
  • 67% want the National Park Service to favor maintaining the natural beauty of the park and protecting its air and water quality over man-made additions.
  • 64% want the National Park Service to place a higher importance on human powered activities such as hiking, biking, paddling and camping over motorized activities such as off-road vehicle use and personal watercraft use.
  • 2 out of 3 active Americans who visit a National Park expect a lack of corporate presence (billboards, signage, corporate sponsorship, establishments)

Leisure Trends Group conducted the online survey in November with its Most Active Americans Panel (MAAP), this panel is comprised of Americans 16 years of age and older who actively participate in a variety of outdoor reaction and sporting activities.