Survey on the Importance of Nature to Canadians
Nearly 20 million people, or about 85% of the population aged 15 and over, participated in one or more nature-related activities in 1996. These ranged from a simple picnic at the beach to camping, canoeing, sightseeing, fishing or hunting. About one-third of these individuals (6.7 million) visited a provincial or national park or other protected area.
The economic benefit of nature-related activities was immense. People spent an estimated $11 billion on nature-related activities, an average of $550 per participant. These expenses, which represented about 2% of total household spending in 1996, included campground fees, outdoor clothing, binoculars for birdwatching, transportation and hotels.
About 44% of the population aged 15 and over, or just over 10 million people, took part in one or more of the 17 activities included in the survey during trips to natural areas such as forests, water bodies, wetlands and open fields. Most people participated in a mix of activities. For example, about one-third of the population reported visiting these areas for sightseeing. In addition, almost 20% reported that they went camping and 20% reported that they used the natural areas for hiking and backpacking. Other activities included power boating (9%), canoeing, kayaking or sailing (10%), downhill skiing (5%), off-road vehicle use (3%), and snowmobiling (3%).
Canadians devoted substantial amounts of their leisure time to nature in 1996. On average, each individual aged 15 and over participated in some form of nature-related activity on just over 100 days during the year, even if the majority of time was spent simply observing and feeding wildlife around the home. During the year, individuals took 191.0 million trips to participate in nature-related activities. About one-quarter of these trips involved overnight stays.
About 5% of the population aged 15 and over reported that they had hunted wildlife in 1996, down from 7% in 1991. About 18% reported that they had fished for recreational purposes in 1996, also down from 26% five years earlier.
Some Canadians also participated actively in maintaining Canada's natural areas and wildlife. A core group of 1.3 million, or just over 5% of the population aged 15 and over, joined or contributed to nature-related organizations, such as naturalist, conservation or sportsmen's clubs. An additional 19% indicated interest in joining or contributing to these clubs in the future.
Another core group of about 760,000, or about 3% of the population, maintained, restored or purchased land for conservation. These individuals provided food or shelter for fish and wildlife in areas such as woodlots, hedges, marshes, ponds and open fields, or they took steps to conserve or restore a natural setting.
Note: The survey, which sampled 87,000 Canadians aged 15 and over, was conducted between February and June 1997 by Statistics Canada on behalf of Environment Canada and a partnership of 14 federal, provincial and territorial agencies. The information will contribute to the management of Canada's wildlife, water resources, forests and protected areas. The Survey on the Importance of Wildlife to Canadians is an update and expansion of a survey co-sponsored by a similar partnership every five years since 1981.
Custom tables produced from the survey's master micro-data file are now available. A series of reports produced from survey results are expected to be available from Environment Canada before the end of 1998. The screened public micro-data file will be available from Statistics Canada early in 1999.
For further information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods and data quality of this release, contact Marc Hamel (613-951-2495; firstname.lastname@example.org), Special Surveys Division, Statistics Canada; or Chantal Hunter (819-994-2177; Chantal.Hunter@ec.gc.ca), Environment Canada.
Table: Nature-related activities in Canada 1996 ______________________________________________________________________________ Participants Participants Same-day and (population overnight aged 15 or trips over) ______________________________________________________________________________ '000 % '000 Canada 19,911 85 191,100 Newfoundland 374 83 6,200 Prince Edward Island 91 85 868 Nova Scotia 630 85 7,400 New Brunswick 502 83 5,700 Quebec 4,900 84 42,000 Ontario 7,600 85 66,300 Manitoba 751 87 6,300 Saskatchewan 648 86 6,100 Alberta 1,900 89 16,400 British Columbia 2,500 82 33,600 Yukon 15 77 232 ______________________________________________________________________________ Days Expenditures in Canada ______________________________________________________________________________ millions $ millions Canada 1,493 11,004 Newfoundland 31.7 194 Prince Edward Island 11.2 25 Nova Scotia 65.8 245 New Brunswick 50.0 208 Quebec 262.1 2,100 Ontario 634.4 4,300 Manitoba 48.8 428 Saskatchewan 41.0 388 Alberta 124.6 1,200 British Columbia 221.6 1,900 Yukon 1.6 16 ______________________________________________________________________________