2016 Regional Parks System Visitor Study

56 parks and reserves encompassing over 54,000 acres of land and almost 400miles of hiking and biking trails.Information to better understand regional parks system visitors

The Met Council, with the help of ISG, administered a questionnaire to regional park and trail visitors in the summer of 2016. Data was collected in 65 parks, park reserves, special recreation features, and 52 trails throughout the seven-county metro area.

Study participation by gender: 50% male, 49% female,1% prefer not to say. Study participant by age: 32% were 18-36, 32% were 37-56, 18% were 57 or older, 19% prefer not to say.

Study highlights


regional park and trail visitors completed the questionnaire

Hike Walk Bike Icons

Hiking, walking and biking are the most popular activities

56 times a year

Visitors to regional parks and trails visit often (Mean = 56 times a year)

Nearly all (95%) of regional park and trail visitors rated the quality, services, and recreation opportunities as either good or very good.


The parks visitors indicated more socializing and larger groups of visitors of broader age ranges. Trails had a higher frequency of visits across seasons.

Study report

Information gleaned from the study will be used to help inform regional park and trail planning and management. Data gathered will also be used to update inputs used in funding formulas specified in state statute.