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Natural Resources Planning and Interpretation (NRPI) Recreation Research Guide


  • "Guide to the Social Science Literature in Outdoor Recreation" IN Studies in Outdoor Recreation: Search and Research for Satisfaction (Manning) 1999 (GV 191.6 M314 1999)
  • A Guide to Women's Studies in the Outdoors: A Review of the Literature and Research with Annotated Bibliography (Roberts) 1998 (ERIC microfiche ED 433983) Compiles over 100 research studies and papers about women in experiential education and recreation in the natural environment.
  • Wilderness Preservation: A Reference Handbook (Rosenberg) 1994 (ref QH 76 R66 1994) Includes an overview and chronology of wilderness preservation in the United States, biographical sketches of prominent people, directory of protected lands, federal agencies and private organizations, and a bibliography of wilderness books and media resources.


  • American Trails: State-by-State (American Trails) Contains links to trails of all kinds in each state.
  • National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) Database (Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute) Searchable database containing information on all 638 wilderness areas in the United States.
  • Park Search (L.L. Bean) Worldwide directory of parks. Search by park name or by geography. Park annotations include contacts and type of outdoor activities available.
  • Parks Directory of the United States (Smith) 2001 (ref E 160 S65 2001) Includes 4,700 parks, historic sites, and other recreation areas administered by national and state agencies.
  • Recreation.Gov Guide to Federal recreation sites and opportunities.
  • Trails.com (Trails.com) Commerical site that provides descriptions and maps for 35,000 trails in the United States. Trail descriptions come from 1,000 guidebooks and from user comments. Requires membership for full descriptions.
  • World Heritage List (UNESCO) Directory of world heritage sites worldwide.

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

  • Encyclopedia of Ecotourism (Weaver) 2001 (ref G 156.5 E26 E53 2001)
  • Encyclopedia of Leisure and Outdoor Recreation (Jenkins and Pigram) 2003 (ref GV 11 E55 2003) Includes "approximately 500 short entries concerning concepts, theories, methods, issues and practices encountered by people researching, participating, and working in leisure and outdoor recreation around the globe."
  • Glossary of Terms: Trails, Greenway, and Outdoor Recreation Terms (National Trails Training Partnership) 2001

Literature Databases and Bibliographies

See Articles and Databases: NRPI for major databases that index literature in recreation. Below are more specialized databases and bibliographies.

  • Annotated Bibliography of Non-motorized Trails Literature (Duffy) 1989 (GV 199.4 .A66 1989)
  • Annotated Bibliography on River Recreation (Anderson, Leatherberry and Lime) 1978 (USFS General Technical Report NC-41) (print copy available in Docs A 13.88: NC-41) Includes 300 citations documenting various aspects of the river recreation.
  • Attitudes Toward the Outdoors: An Annotated Bibliography of US Survey and Poll Research Concerning the Environment, Wildlife, and Recreation (Jolma) 1994 (GE 150 J65 1994) Includes 850 annotated citations to surveys and polls that reveal how Americans view the natural world.
  • Bibliography of Forest Service Recreation Research 1983-1992 (Daigle) 1993 (US Forest Service General Technical Report NE 180) (print copy available in Docs A 13.88:NE180) updates Recreation Research Publications: Bibliography 1961-1982 (Echelberger & Gilroy) 1983 (Docs A 13.11/2:R24/961-82) and Forest Research Bibliography of Forest Service Outdoor Recreation Research Publications 1942 through 1966 and its supplements (Docs A 13.11/2:R24).
  • Bibliography Related to Recreation Fees on Public Land (McCollum and Puttkammer) 2004
  • Changing Wilderness Values, 1930-1990: An Annotated Bibliography (Elbers) 1991 (GF 80 E54 1991)
  • Effects of Recreation on Rocky Mountain Wildlife: Online Bibliography (Montana Chapter of the Wildlife Society)
  • Impacts of Backcountry Recreation: Site Management and Rehabilitation: An Annotated Bibliography (Cole & Schreiner) 1981 (US Forest Service General Technical Report INT-121) (Docs A 13.88:INT-121)
  • Linking Wilderness Research and Managment: an Annotated Reading List. Vol 1-- Wilderness Fire Restoration and ManagementVol. 2--Defining, Managing, and Monitoring Wilderness Visitor Experiences; and Vol. 3--Recreation Fees in Wilderness and Other Public Lands (Wright) 2001 (print copies available in Docs A 13.88:RMRS-79) (US Forest Service General Technical Report RMRS-79) Guide to research publications on the protection and restoration of wildernss and wilderness values.
  • National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) Library Includes over 1,000 documents on OHVs.
  • Nonconsumptive Outdoor Recreation: An Annotated Bibliography of Human-Wildlife Interactions (Boyle, Samson) 1983 (Docs I 49.15/3:252) (US Fish & Wildlife Service Special Scientific Report--Wildlife #252)
  • National Recreation Database (Leisure Information Network) Database of unpublished "gray" literature that includes selective online fulltext; search by keyword or browse by topic. Requires free registration.
  • Trail Planning, Construction and Maintenance: A Bibliography (University of Minnesota Forestry Library) Indexes publications relating to the planning, design, construction, maintenance, and age of all types of trails from 1984 to the present.
  • Wilderness Library (Wilderness Information Network) Searchable database of wilderness research; some publications are available online in fulltext format.

Handbooks and Manuals

  • Assessing Recreation Demand (Metropolitan Area Planning Council)
  • NPS Trails Management Handbook (US National Park Service) 1988 (Docs I 29.9/2 T68/3)
  • Outdoor Recreation: United States National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands (Zinser) 1995 (Ref GV 191.4 Z56 1995) Presents an overview of the federal recreation system, its historical evolution, methods of management and development, and the different roles played by the major agencies with recreation responsibilities--National Park Service, the Forest Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. It explores concepts in land-use planning, examines relevant federal legislation, and presents concepts for preserving amenity resources. Also covered are the recreational resources of smaller federal agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Includes extensive appendices containing relevant data tables and directories.
  • Guide To Designing and Conducting Visitor Surveys (Leones) 1998 Provides basic information about conducting visitor surveys It can be used by individuals or organizations who are interested in tourism either to design and conduct their own surveys or as a basis for putting together a request for proposals for others to do such a survey
  • Guidelines for Public Use Measurement and Reporting at Parks, and Protected Areas(Hornback and Eagles) 1999 (SB 486 P83 H67 1999) Prepared for the World Commission on Protected Areas this manual describes terms, approaches and techniques for gathering information about public use of parks and protected areas.
  • Recreation Site Survey Manual : Methods and Techniques for Conducting Visitor Surveys(University of Edinburgh. Tourism and Recreation Research Unit) 1983 (GV181.46 R43)
  • Sampling and Estimating Recreational Use (Gregoire & Buhyoff) 1999 (US Forest Service General Technical Report PNW-456) (print copy available in Docs A 13.88:PNW-456)
  • Serving Culturally Diverse Visitors to Forests in California: a resource guide ( Roberts, Chavez, Lara, and Sheffield ) 2009 (US Forest Service General Technical Report PSW-GTR-222)
  • Studies in Outdoor Recreation: Search and Research for Satisfaction (Manning) 1999 (GV 191.6 M314 1999) Reviews, synthesizes,and integrates the social science literature on outdoor recreation. Includes over 1,000 references.
  • Tourism Marketing and Management Handbook (Witt and Moutinho) 1994 (G 155 A1 T5924 1999)
  • Trail Planning and Layout (Ashbaugh & Kordish) 1971 (SK 601 A8 1971)
  • Trails Management Handbook (US Forest Service) (FSH 2309.18) (print copy available in Docs A 13.36/2:FSH 2309.18)
  • Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Research: a Handbook for Managers and Researchers(Ritchie and Goeldner) 1994 (G 155 A1 T6578 1994)
  • Wilderness Recreation Use Estimation: A Handbook of Methods and Systems (Watson) 2000 (US Forest Service General Technical Report RMRS-56) (print copy available in Docs A 13.88:RMRS-56)

Legal Resources

  • See the Environmental/Natural Resources Law research guide for general materials.
  • National Park Service Legislation and Current Legislative and Congressional Affairs (US National Park Service) Contains a digest of relevant legislation, timelime and current legislative action and congressional information of interest to the National Park Service;
  • "NRPA Law Review" monthly column in the periodical Parks & Recreation (Periodical GV 1 P3)
  • Recreation and Parks Law Reporter (Periodical KF 5638 A59 R42) Digests court cases related to recreation and personal injury litigation.
  • Wilderness Act Handbook (Wilderness Society) 2004. Contains relevant laws, regulations, and policies that govern the creation, expansion, and management of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The Wilderness Act is printed in its entirety, along with interpretation and excerpts from and analysis of subsequent legislation that has influenced the designation or management of wilderness.
  • Wilderness Laws: Permitted and Prohibited Uses (Gorte and Congressional Research Service) 2006
  • Wilderness Legislation and Policy (Wilderness.net)

Statistics and Data

  • Lifestyle Market Analyst: a Reference Guide for Consumer Market Analysis (SRDS and Equifax) Annual (Ref HF 5415.33 U6 L54) Correlates 75 lifestyle interests with demographic information for 210 Designated Market Areas (DMAs) in the United States. Section 1 provides lifestyle and demographic market profiles for all DMAs. Section 2 provides a demographic profile of each lifestyle, lists related lifestyles and ranks each DMA by the lifestyle. Section 3 lists the lifestyle characteristics of each demographically unique household, lists related lifestyles and ranks each DMA by the demographic characteristic. Outdoor lifestyles include boating/sailing, camping/hiking, fishing, horseback riding, hunting/shooting, recreational vehicles, and wildlife/environmental.
  • National Parks Visits Statistics (Rand California) (HSU users only) Presents the number and type of visits to U.S. national parks, monuments, recreation areas, and other federal wilderness areas in California and other states and territories from 1979 to the present. The source for these data is the Land Resource Division of the U.S. National Park Service.
  • National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (US Fish & Wildlife Service and US Census Bureau) (print copy available in Docs I 49.98/2) National survey conducted about every five years since 1955 that provides information on the number of participants in fishing, hunting, and wildlife watching (observing, photographing, and feeding wildlife), and the amount of time and money spent on these activities. 
  • National Survey on Recreation and the Environment (US Forest Service) Ongoing series of national recreation surveys that began in 1960 with the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission (ORRRC) survey. Additional surveys were conducted in 1965, 1970, 1972, 1977, 1982-831994-95and 1999-2000. The most recent NSRE survey in 1999/2000 is a phone survey of 50,000 households across all ethnic groups throughout the United States. It provides comprehensive coverage of both long and short term recreation trends at both national and state levels. Questions address such areas as participation in 50 outdoor recreation activities, demographics, household structure, lifestyles, environmental attitudes, natural resource values, constraints to participation, and attitudes toward management policies. Findings from the 1999/2000 NSRE survey are presented inOutdoor Recreation for 21st Century America : a Report to the Nation, the National Survey on Recreation and the Environment (Cordell) 2004 (print copy available in GV 191.4 O983 2004.Recreation & Tourism Statistics Updates are available since the last survey.
  • Statistics on Outdoor Recreation (Clawson & Van Doren) 1984 (ref GV 191.4 S73 1984 and bookstacks) Attempts to incorporate all available statistics on outdoor recreation in the United States. Statistical time series cover the earliest period of record through 1982.
  • US National Park Service - Public Use Statistics Office contains links to statistical reports and databases containing visitation data. This includes recent years of the National Park Statistical Abstract (print copies available also in Docs I 29.2:St2/8 and Docs I 29.114). For the years 1904-1976 see Public Use of the National Park System (Docs I 29.63).
  • Wilderness: Overview and Statistics (Congressional Research Service)
  • Wilderness Visitors and Recreation Impacts: Baseline Data Available for Twentieth Century Conditions (Cole and Wright) 2003 (print copy available in Docs A 13.88: RMRS 117) (USFS General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-117) Compilation and assessment of recreation monitoring data on campsite impact, trail impact, and visitor characteristics that has been gathered from individual wilderness areas of the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS). Includes both published and unpublished sources. Appendices include type of data collected and methods used, wilderness area from which data is gathered, and a bibliography of the studies cited. It is also available as a searchable Wilderness Visitor and Recreation Impact Database from the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute.

Reviews and Assessments

  • Outdoor Recreation and Wilderness (Cordell) IN Natural Resources for the 21st Century (Sampson and Hair) 1990, pp 242-268 (print copy available in HC 103.7 N296 1990) Assessment presented at a conference sponsored by the American Forestry Association.
  • Outdoor Recreation in American Life: A National Assessment of Demand and Supply Trends(Cordell) 1999 (GV 191.4 O864 1999) Comprehensive assessment of the trends, current situation and future of outdoor recreation supply and demand. Prepared for the 2000 "renewable resources assessment" required in the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974. Chapter VII - Demand For and Supply Of Wilderness and Chapter VIII - Wilderness Uses, Users, Values, and Management are available online.
  •  Outdoor recreation participation in the United States—projections to 2060: a technical document supporting the Forest Service 2010 RPA Assessment. (Bowker and others) 2012 (USFS Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-160) Prepared for the 2010 "renewable resources assessment" required in the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974.
  • Outdoor recreation trends and futures: a technical document supporting the Forest Service 2010 RPA Assessment (Cordell) 2012 (USFS Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-150) National assessment describes the status and trends in outdoor recreation participation across the United States. Prepared for the 2010 "renewable resources assessment" required in the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974.
  • Recreation impacts and management in wilderness : A state-of-knowldege review (Leung and Marion) IN Wilderness science in a time of change conference-Volume 5: Wilderness ecosystems, threats, and management (Cole, McCool, Borrie and ’Loughlin) 2000, pp 23-48. (USFS RMRS-P-15-VOL-5) Reviews the body of literature on recreation resource impacts and their management in the United States, with a primary focus on research within designated wildernesses during the past 15 years since the previous review in 1987.
  • "Wilderness Use and User Characteristics: a State-of- Knowledge Review" (Rooggenbuck and Lucas) IN Proceeding--National Wilderness Research Conference: Issues, State-of-Knowledge, Future Directions, Fort Collins, CO, July 23-26, 1985 (Lucas ) 1987, pp. 204-245 (Docs A13.88:INT-220) (USFS General Technical Report INT-220) Reviews research focusing on methods of collecting wilderness use and user data, basic demographic descriptions of wilderness visitors, characteristics of wilderness visits, and trends and projections of use and users

Recreation Maps

See also Maps and Atlases: California - Recreation and Maps and Atlases: California (Northwestern) - Recreation

  • General
  • U.S. National Park Service
    • U.S. National Parks and Monuments (US Geological Survey) (G 3701 G52 svar U5) - Series of approximately 70 topographic maps published by the USGS for individual parks and monuments. Some maps include shaded relief.
    • Maps of United States National Parks and Monuments (Perry-Castaneda Map Library) - Contains scanned images of US National Park Service maps.
    • National Monument and Military Parks (US National Park Service) (Docs I 29.21) - Park brochures and maps.
    • National Park Service Maps (US National Park Service) Includes maps of national parks and trails on a national base map, maps of individual parks, and 3-D views of selected parks.
    • National Park Service Interactive Map Center (US National Park Service) Includes The Park Locator that gives one the ability to identify and navigate to any park in the National Park System using topical and geographic selection options; and The Park Atlas that allows one to explore the mapped resources for all parks. In both applications one can view maps from a national view down through high-resolution views of individual parks.
    • National Parks (US National Park Service) (Docs I 29.6 & I 29.8) - Park brochures and maps.
    • National Recreational Areas (US National Park Service) (Docs I 29.39) - Park brochures and maps.
  • U.S. Forest Service
    • Maps and Brochures (US Forest Service)
    • Maps & Charts (US Forest Service) (Docs A 13.28) - Includes national forest maps, wilderness area maps, and other recreational maps.
  • US Bureau of Land Management
    • Maps (US Bureau of Land Management) (Docs I 53.11) - Includes recreation maps, access maps, and wilderness area maps.
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
    • National Wildlife Refuge System (US Fish And Wildlife Service) Shows location of all refuges on a US base map.
    • Refuge Maps (US Fish and Wildlife Service) (Docs I 49.44/2) Maps of individual refuges.
  • Other
    • Great American Sports Atlas IN Sports Illustrated, Dec 27, 2004 (Periodical GV 561 S733) Series of maps characterize professional athletes, professional teams and sports fans in the United States.
    • SkiMaps - Includes maps of ski resorts worldwide.
    • World Atlas of Golf: the greatest courses and how they are played (Ward-Thomas) 2002 (GV 975 W67 2002)