Recreation Rates

Latest Score:


in 2019

Weight: 8%
score trend is flat over time

Vermont’s forests are a source of considerable, year-around recreational opportunities. Vermont’s recreational opportunities attract visitors from all around the United States and abroad. Tallying the total count of day use and overnight visitors to Vermont’s forested state parks helps us quantify the draw these forests have for recreation. The 350,000 visitors using Vermont’s campgrounds in 2015 alone added $40 million to the economy1. Here, we use the number of visitors at Vermont State Parks as a proxy for forest-based recreation. A high score means that there is a high number of visitors.

1Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing. 2015 Benchmark Report. Available at:

-- Expert interpretation for Recreation Rates is not available--

The score is calculated using a target value and the historical range of the the entire long-term dataset. The higher the score, the closer this year's value is to the target.

Once the score is computed for each year, the trend in scores over time is calculated. If the trend is significantly positive or negative, the long-term trend is marked as increasing or decreasing respectively.

Component Description
Scored as

Distance between minimum and maximum (scaled 1-5)

Target value

Data maximum + 10% of range

Directionality of scores

Higher values in the data are better.

Minimum value used in scoring

Data minimum - 10% of range

Maximum value used in scoring

Data maximum + 10% of range

Data on camping and day use visitation counts for state park in Vermont were accessed from the Vermont Department of Forest Parks and Recreation1. Note that these data do not contain all Vermont public lands visitation counts; for example, Camel’s Hump State Park is managed by the Green Mountain Club and those data are not collected by the state of Vermont. To process these data, we first classified each park parcel2 in the FPR dataset by the percent of forest cover using the National Land Cover Dataset3. The goal of this step was to subset state parks where forests were a predominant reason visitors came to the park, as opposed to water bodies or other types of non-forested natural resources. We classified parks based on the percent of Deciduous, Evergreen, and Mixed Forest Cover according to the NLCD (codes 41, 42, 43). We did not include Woody Wetland cover (code 90) because many parks that are adjacent to water bodies were classified as having a high amount of forest cover when this land cover type was included. Based on our familiarity with many of the state parks, we selected 60% forest cover as the threshold for a park considered forested. We subsetted all park visitation data to include only those parks with >60% forest cover as determined by NLCD. Total visitation counts (both camping and day use) of the 41 forested state parks were averaged by the number of parks with data per year beginning in 1970. We set the dataset target as the maximum value in the dataset plus 10% of the range. The annual score was computed as the difference between the lower scoring bounds (minimum value in the data minus 10% of the range) and the target, scaled between 1 and 5.

1Savage, J. 2019. Recreational Rates at Vermont State Parks.
2vtanrgis. 2017. ANR Land Dataset. Available at:
3US Geological Survey. 2019. National Land Cover Database. Available at: