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Participation of People with Disabilities in the NSRE

Presented by: Dr. Bryan McCormick

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  • The data were collected as part of the National Survey on Recreation and the Environment (NSRE) conducted by the US Forest Service during January.
  • 1994- April 1995. The purpose of the project was to examine the characteristics, outdoor activity participation, and attitudes of people with disabilities in the NSRE survey.


  • The method used was a telephone survey of randomly selected individuals over the age of 15. The total NSRE collected information from approximately 17,000 individuals and included a little over 1,200 people with disabilities.

Key Findings

  • Patterns of participation in outdoor recreation were similar across most activities for people with and without disabilities.
  • Although most people with disabilities reported experiencing few barriers to outdoor recreation, barriers of health conditions and physical limitations were experienced by the majority people with disabilities.
  • Most people with disabilities did not report needing accommodations or assistive devices for participation in outdoor recreation. Among those requiring assistance, the most common assistive devices/accommodations were mobility aids, a companion/assistant, and architectural modifications.
  • Attitudes toward accessibility seem to indicate that people with disabilities generally felt that no outdoor recreation area should be completely "inaccessible;" however agree that more primitive areas will be generally less accessible than less primitive areas.

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