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Outdoor Recreation Survey, 1977: Federal Estate Survey (ICPSR 7680)

Principal Investigator(s): United States Department of the Interior


This data collection contains survey responses gathered by the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Outdoor Recreation in the summer of 1977 from visitors to 153 federal land management areas, and during the following fall and winter when individuals were queried at 35 additional areas. The purposes of the study were to determine the importance of outdoor recreation to the American people, patterns of recreational land use, trends in recreation, the users of federal land, and the deterrents, satisfactions, and preferences for outdoor recreation. People who were interviewed ranged from urbanites out for an afternoon at New York City Gateway National Recreation Area to backpackers returning from a two-week adventure in the Bitterroot Wilderness of the Nezperce National Forest in Idaho. Respondents were asked to report which activities among a list of 30 they had participated in during the last 12 months, which ones they planned to participate in during the current trip, and which they hoped to take part in in the next 12 months. They also were asked the purpose of their current trip, their level of satisfaction with their experiences so far, suggested improvements to the specific recreation area, their opinions of the importance of outdoor recreation in general, the importance they placed on having outdoor recreation facilities within walking distance and within one hour's driving distance, the impact of the price of gasoline on the number and duration of auto trips taken to outdoor recreation areas, and preferences for allocation of federal recreation funds in the future. Personal information includes respondents' age, sex, race, highest level of schooling completed, occupation, income, urban or rural residence, and state of residence. The United States Department of the Interior also conducted a separate but related telephone survey during the same year on a national sample of respondents (see OUTDOOR RECREATION SURVEY, 1977: GENERAL POPULATION SURVEY [ICPSR 7679]). The primary reason for conducting two separate studies was to ensure representative samples for comparing recreation characteristics of the entire citizenry of the United States with those who pursue recreational activities on federal land.

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Study Description


U.S. Dept. of the Interior. OUTDOOR RECREATION SURVEY, 1977: FEDERAL ESTATE SURVEY. ICPSR version. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation [producer], 1978. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2002. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07680.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07680.v1

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    automobile use, leisure, national parks, natural resources, outdoor recreation, parks, public opinion, recreation, recreation expenses, social behavior, time utilization, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1977

Universe:    Recreators on the federal estate (i.e., all federally-owned land managed at least in part for public outdoor recreation activity).

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The codebook is provided by ICPSR as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.


Sample:    Multistage, stratified, random probability sampling was employed. The first sampling unit was the land area involved, with each discrete land area being stratified by federal agency (e.g., national parks for the National Park Service, and national forests for the United States Forest Service). For analytic purposes, approximately 40 areas were selected for each of the three largest providers of public recreation, i.e., National Park Service, National Forest Service, and the Corps of Engineers. Areas of the other four land managing agencies were selected proportional to the total opportunities they provided. The area listing included only those with recreation facilities managed by a federal agency. Within each federal agency, land areas were chosen at random with probabilities proportionate to official yearly visitation statistics after first being stratified by the appropriate federal regions. Thus, a park with two million visitors had twice the chance of being chosen at random as a park with one million visitors.

Data Source:

personal interviews


Original ICPSR Release:   1984-03-18

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