Monday, December 5, 2022

Utah has 3rd most Recreation.gov campsites in U.S.

While it had been growing in popularity before the pandemic, camping experienced a surge in interest during 2020 as Americans increasingly turned to the outdoors in order to travel safely and avoid crowds. According to a recent report from Kampgrounds of America (KOA), over 48 million households camped at least once in 2020 and 10.1 million households camped for the first time (a five-fold increase from 2019). Camping interest is expected to continue; more than 60% of these first-time campers plan to camp the same or more in 2021, meaning areas with abundant camping opportunities will continue to see large numbers of visitors.

Along with the pandemic camping boom came increased demand for recreational vehicles (RVs). KOA research shows that the number of households who own RVs increased by 2.6 million in 2020. After RV shipments dipped in the Spring of 2020, when industries across the world all but shut down during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, RV shipments not only recovered but surpassed pre-pandemic levels, according to statistics from the RV Industry Association (RVIA). While overall RV shipments were down in 2020 from the year prior, December 2020 saw an increase of 47% year-over-year. The latest data from 2021 shows a continuation of the trend. September 2021 set a new single month record with more than 55,000 new units shipped.

Americans who want to camp will find more camping opportunities in some parts of the country than others. Campsites can be found in national parks and other federal recreation areas, state and county parks, as well as on private land. Browsing and booking campsites can be challenging, but Recreation.gov makes the process simple across its network of more than 100,000 campsites managed by federal agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service.

When considering total federally-managed campsites using statistics from Recreation.gov, California leads the country with a total of 16,708 campsites. Adjusted for land area, California also has a high concentration of campsites, at 10.7 per hundred square miles, but Arkansas has even more, at 10.9. Conversely, New Jersey has the lowest number of federally-managed campsites and is tied with New York and Alaska for the lowest concentration of such campsites per square mile.

To find U.S. states with great camping opportunities, researchers at Outdoorsy analyzed data from Recreation.gov. The researchers ranked states according to each location’s total number of campsites within federal areas, such as national parks and national forests. In the event of a tie, the location with the greatest number of campgrounds was ranked higher. Researchers also calculated the average number of campsites per campground and the most common recreation activity reported on Recreation.gov for each location.

According to the analysis, Recreation.gov shows 5,995 campsites across 254 different campgrounds in Utah. Overall, Utah has the 3rd most campsites to visit in the U.S. Here is a summary of the data for Utah:

  • Total number of campsites: 5,995
  • Total number of campgrounds: 254
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 24
  • Most common recreation activity: Hiking

For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:

  • Total number of campsites: 108,775
  • Total number of campgrounds: 3,801
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 29
  • Most common recreation activity: Hiking

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Outdoorsy’s website: https://www.outdoorsy.com/blog/cities-with-most-campsites

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