Canadian Forest Service Publications

Participation in outdoor recreation in forested ecoprovinces in Canada in 1996. 2002. Williamson, T.B.; Hoscheit, R.; Luttrell, H. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, Edmonton, Alberta. Information Report NOR-X-385. 20 p.

Year: 2002

Available from: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 22453

Language: English

Series: Information Report (NoFC - Edmonton)

CFS Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (download)


This report provides information on the level and distribution of participation in outdoor recreation in forested ecoprovinces in Canada. Such participation is an important indicator in the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers criteria and indicator framework. Forested ecoprovinces were defined on the basis of the National Ecological Framework for Canada. Particular ecoprovinces were designated as forested if over 30% of the total area had been inventoried and over 20% of the inventoried area was covered by forest. Information on levels of outdoor recreation participation within forested ecoprovinces was obtained from the National Survey on the Importance of Nature to Canadians—1996. Survey information was used to develop population estimates for recreation participation within ecoprovinces, and these estimates were tested for statistical validity and to determine if Statistics Canada release guidelines had been satisfied. According to these estimates Canadians spent over 225 million user days on various outdoor nature-based activities in 1996. About 195 million user days (86%) occurred in forested ecoprovinces. Sixty-five percent of the total user days within forested ecoprovinces occurred outside parks. The ecoprovinces with the highest levels of participation tended to be those with high population densities. For example, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands had the highest number of user-days, followed by the Southern Boreal Shield. However, on a per capita basis, remote ecoprovinces with distinctive terrain tended to be more attractive to recreationists. For example, the northwestern portions of British Columbia and the western portions of the Yukon had the highest per capita recreation participation, followed by the Columbia Montane Cordillera (Rocky Mountains) and the Lake of the Woods ecoprovince. The level of participation in outdoor nature-based activity in Canada is significant and encouragement of outdoor nature-based activities is therefore an important goal within sustainable forest management. The highest level of recreation activity occurs in ecoprovinces with high population densities, where competition for land is intense. Therefore, significant levels of human development do not preclude significant recreation participation. However, some types of outdoor recreation require higher levels of wilderness, naturalness, and a general lack of congestion. Canada's more remote and less densely populated ecoprovinces are an important destination for individuals seeking these types of experiences.

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