2022-2026 ACTION AGENDA EXPLORER

STRATEGY 22

Outdoor Recreation & Stewardship

Expand and promote equitable access to information and opportunities for engagement for outdoor recreation and stewardship actions and recognition of tribal nations’ treaty and sovereign rights.
Participation in nature-based outdoor activities is beneficial to residents’ human wellbeing in multiple ways; physical movement, breathing fresher air, absorbing vitamin D, place attachment, and clearing one’s thoughts all contribute to improved human wellbeing. Similarly, engaging in activities that benefit the environment can create a sense of meaning and identity for some individuals, thereby benefiting both the human and biophysical components of our ecosystem. We must also recognize the increase of outdoor recreation has an adverse impact on wildlife populations and inhibits the tribal nations from exercising their usual and accustomed hunting and gathering practices.

The goal of this strategy is to develop and promote culturally relevant projects and programs that encourage and incentivize behavior changes to protect, restore, and responsibly enjoy Puget Sound. Sound stewardship refers to the fact that although the 5.3 million residents of Puget Sound pose the greatest threats to the natural environment, engaging residents and institutions in protection, restoration, and individual behavior change offers the greatest opportunity for recovering Puget Sound. This strategy seeks to identify and remove barriers resulting in the exclusion of people from participating in recreation and stewardship activities. Additionally, this strategy seeks to engage communities to increase knowledge of responsible use, tribal nations’ treaty and sovereign rights, and define opportunities for responsible recreation within natural environments.
DESIRED OUTCOMES
  • Enhance outdoor recreation & stewardship
Actions

Engage communities to increase knowledge of responsible use, tribal nations’ treaty and sovereign rights, and define responsible recreation opportunities within natural environments. (ID #72)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Increase the number of protection, restoration, and stormwater management and retrofit projects that include multi-use elements;
  • Promote communal gardening spaces and food forests on publicly owned lands;
  • Encourage private developments to integrate access to open spaces and waterways.

Develop, fund, and promote culturally relevant projects and programs to encourage and incentivize behavior changes that will protect, restore, and enable responsible enjoyment and stewardship of Puget Sound. (ID #159)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Increase understanding of the connections between outdoor recreation and stewardship activities;
  • Increase monitoring and evaluation of behavior change projects and programs, and increase understanding of effectiveness;
  • Develop and distribute culturally-relevant information, public signage, and other forms of education throughout public spaces about specific actions to protect and restore Puget Sound;
  • Increase funding and support for culturally relevant behavior change projects and programs.

Identify and fund removal of barriers resulting in the exclusion of people from participating in recreation and stewardship activities. (ID #160)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Increase funding and support for community-based and local advocacy groups, in both urban and rural settings, that work directly with vulnerable populations and underserved communities;
  • Assess equitable distribution of recreational opportunities;
  • Engage with vulnerable populations and underserved communities, including those with disabilities, those affected by homelessness, and rural youth, to assess and remove barriers to accessing natural environments in Puget Sound.
Implementation Considerations

No related implementation considerations at this time.

Ongoing Programs

Ongoing programs provide regulatory oversight, technical support, implementation resources, funding, or guidance and serve as the critical foundation for Puget Sound recovery. The following is a list of example state and federal ongoing programs that help to implement this strategy. Many more local, tribal nations, and nongovernmental programs exist that support this strategy.

What We're Measuring

We achieve our recovery goal of vibrant quality of life by recognizing and increasing opportunities for multiple uses of open space, waterways, and other natural environments; identifying and removing barriers that have resulted in the exclusion of people from participating in outdoor recreation and stewardship activities; supporting meaningful and community-based stewardship behaviors. Indicators of success include:

  • Increasing engagement in stewardship activities
  • Improving the rating of the Sound Behavior Index
  • Increasing the frequency of nature-based recreation by all Puget Sound residents
Engagement in stewardship activities
Nature-based recreation
Sound Behavior Index

This indicator is a measure of the extent to which Puget Sound residents engage in environmental stewardship activities that they perceive as meaningful to themselves, their community, and the environment. Because of the importance of intrinsic motivation to sustaining behaviors and overall human wellbeing, it also provides a measure of the degree to which engagement in stewardship activities contributes to wellbeing.

Engagement in stewardship activities
By: Response
Respondents were asked about their frequency of engagement in three categories of stewardship behaviors and activities: behaviors that they believe effectively benefitted the environment, environmental behaviors that they believe are needed by the community, and environmental behaviors that were personally meaningful. Respondents ranked their engagement using a five-point scale ranging from 'Never' (1) to 'Frequently - Almost every day' (5).

This indicator tracks participation in nature-based recreation in the Puget Sound region during winter, spring, fall and summer seasons. Recreational activities tracked are limited to those within the scope of Puget Sound recovery and include both passive and active recreational activities, such as wildlife-watching, fishing, bicycling, boating, and swimming. Here we present data from Fall 2020.

Nature-based recreation
By: Response
Using a six-point scale, ranging from 'I do not engage in this activity' (1) to 'More than 20 days per month' (6), respondents were asked to report "About how many days per month on average did you participate in the following recreation activities in the Puget Sound region this past fall".

Many of our day-to-day behaviors seem benign on their own, but when multiplied by 4.7 million residents, their cumulative effects can harm Puget Sound. The Sound Behavior Index (SBI) tracks 28 specific practices that can affect water quality and aquatic habitat such as yard and garden care, vehicle and home maintenance, and pet waste disposal. The SBI is based on a survey that asks residents about specific, measurable, repetitive behaviors within households to analyze aggregate change over time.

Sound Behavior Index for Puget Sound residents randomly surveyed using mailers in 2012 (baseline), 2013, 2015, and 2019 via the Sound Behavior Survey, commissioned by the Puget Sound Partnership. Sample size for each survey was as follows: 3,621 respondents in 2012, 3,131 respondents in 2013, 3,000 respondents in 2015, and 1,732 respondents in 2019.