Perceived Benefits of Outdoor Recreation: A Slight Shift in Focus

Since I have been in Park City, Utah, the framework of my research project has shifted slightly due to the enormous influence my summer job has had on my project. This summer, I have been working as a universal staff member at the National Ability Center in Park City. The NAC’s mission is to “empower individuals of all abilities by building self-esteem, confidence, and lifetime skills” through outdoor sports and recreation. It offers a wide range of activities including archery, water and paddle sports, high ropes course, mountain biking, climbing, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and much more. For three months, I have worked in close contact with people with varying abilities and disabilities, supporting their individual needs and empowering them to recreate as independently as possible.

The perspective I have gained from my experiences with the NAC has inspired me to alter the survey I have developed not only to encompass the perceived benefits of outdoor recreation in able-bodied, verbal, non-disabled people, but to specify as well the individual challenges and conditions that might affect an individual’s ability or motivation to get outside and get active.

I am redesigning the format of my survey to be brief, accessible, and open-ended so participants can comment and give feedback regarding each of their own individual experiences. I decided to make many of the survey questions statements, to which the participant can then choose a range of phrases such as “agree completely” or “disagree.” I am researching other outdoor recreation surveys for methods of simple wording, formatting, and phrasing.






  1. Hey!

    I think it’s great that you’ve taken your experiences and shifted your project slightly. I also had to shift directions a little for my research. I also really like that you’ve taken the time to focus on what could be hindering people’s active life, because I’m sure that often enough, people want to get out but just face challenges, whether they be due to a physical disability, mental illness, etc. Looking forward to reading about the rest of your project!

  2. Hello,

    Your summer job sounds very rewarding and I love what the NAC stands for. It’s great that you were able to get a feel for what exactly you were trying to research before diving into data collection immediately. I developed my research project on food deserts after volunteering in an area that was one, and that really helped me get an idea of what and why I was researching before I started. I’m glad that you were able to adjust your survey and I hope you get a bunch of data that you can work with!