Nick Fetty | September 2, 2015
A recent report by the Environment America Research & Policy Center analyzes outdoor water recreation in Iowa and the rest of the country.
The 8-page report – entitled Summer Fun Index: Counting the Ways We Enjoy Clean Water – was released on the heels of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Water Rule which went into effect August 28.
John Rumpler – a senior attorney for Environment America – was the lead author of the report which surveyed outdoor water recreation in 28 states. The researchers found that nearly half a million Americans visited 2,201 state and national parks (includes various types of national park units) with waterways during the summer of 2015. Additionally, nearly 17 million Americans registered for fishing licenses while nearly 8 million registered boats during 2015. The report ranked the top-five states in the following categories: number of visitors to state and national parks with waterways, summer camps with water activities, licensed fishers, and registered boaters. Iowa did not crack the top-five in any of the categories.
The report concluded with several recommendations for ways to keep American waterways safe or to make them safer. Recommendations included requiring “permits with stringent, enforceable standards” for facilities that threaten waterways, implementing stricter fines so that it “no longer pays to pollute,” disallowing projects that “pave over or otherwise degrade our wetlands,” “establishing numeric pollution limits and enforceable clean up plans for all waters too polluted” for recreation or wildlife, and providing tools and resources so communities can “prevent runoff pollution and end sewage overflows.”
This marks the second year Environment America has released its Summer Fun Index.
- State & national parks* with waterways: 69
- Visitors to state & national parks* with waterways: 14,317,288
- Summer camps offering water activities: 22
- Licensed fishers: 359,767
- Registered boats: 221,939
* For these purposes, “national parks” include various types of national park units