Outdoors Industry Association Survey 2008


The Outdoors Industry Association has released its annual survey. According to the Association,”The 2008 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report, is based on an on-line survey capturing responses from over 60,000 Americans ages six and older and covers 114 different outdoor activities, making it the largest survey of its type examining participation in sports and outdoor activities.”

The survey found that fly fishing among ages 6-17 dropped a little over 50% or 729,000 participants.  Among 18 – 24 year olds the drop was 11.82% or 94,000. Participants of all ages dropped 8.9% or 545,000. This means there was some increase in fly fishing participation amoung adults over twenty four.

When kids are younger they can’t wait to get out at recess to play. That outdoor trend is changing. Why are our young people loosing interest in outdoor activities. Some of the reasons given for not participating in outdoor activities.

Reason Given Age 6 – 12 Age 13 – 17
Not Interested 25% 47%
Don’t Have Time 21% 35%
Too Much School Work 20% 28%
Parents Don’t Take Me 20% 10%
Prefer tv, movies, internet, video games 19% 24%
Would Rather Hang Out with Friends 12% 27%


This disinterest in the outdoors by our young people is a major cause of childhood obesity (1 in 5  children are clinically obese). “Researchers say the trend also contributes to increases in depression (more than 3 million in treatment) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (increased 30% since 1997) among children.” Editor Note: Not being outdoors enough may also be contributing to the massive increases in “autisum” diagnoses among children.

“Young people who grow up without experiencing nature are far less likely to be active participants in the outdoors and champions of the environment as adults– resulting in a negative compounding effect on the health of our children and our natural world.”  How can we expect our children to respect and love our planet when we as adults don’t show that love and respect.

“Among boys ages 6 to 12, participation in outdoor recreation dropped from 79% to 72% in 2007. Among girls of the same age, participation dropped from 77% to 61%. This drop, concerning in and of itself, opened a significant gap between the participation rates of boys and girls ages 6 to 12 – 72% to 61%. In 2006, participation in outdoor activities among these two groups were nearly equal – 79% for boys and 77% for girls.”

As we age and don’t get outdoors to exercise, our bodies deterioriate. This trend among our youth will make the future hip and joint replacment surgeons happy campers when the majority of today’s overweight and under exercised youth reach 65.

Youth who do learn to participate in outdoor activities are introduced by parents or family, friends and relatives. The Gateway Activities to introduce a young person to the outdoors are “Fishing (any type), Camping (RV, Car, Backyard), Bicycling (any type), Hiking (Day) and Running/Jogging/Trail Running“.  Participants in Gateway activities are 3 or 4 times as likely to take part in other outdoor sports.

Here is the message to the Outdoor Equipment Manufacturers, the Fly Fishing Equipment Manufacturers and others who provide lodging or support services for outdoor activities. Start getting involved with getting a kid outdoors or suffer the consequences in loss of jobs and profits.

To the parents, friends and relatives who have kids under 17. GET OFF YOUR COUCH POTATO and Take Your Kids Outdoors for some FUN.  You and the kids will benefit from the exercise and you will probably have fun too.

Download the Full OIA 2008 Report

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