Surfrider Foundation Releases Recreational Use Study for the Washington Coast

May 13 2015


Seattle, Washington, May 14, 2015—Today, the Surfrider Foundation (, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's ocean, waves and beaches, in partnership with Point 97 and the state of Washington, unveiled the results of a recreational use study conducted along the Washington coast.

The study reveals that the public use along the Washington coast includes a variety of recreational activities, from beach going, hiking and biking, surfing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. These activities generate significant economic benefits for coastal communities and the state, through hotel visits, shopping, dining and other trip-related expenditures.

"This study offers new information about recreation patterns that provide significant economic benefit to Washington’s coastal communities,” says Casey Dennehy, the Washington Coastal Program Manager for the Surfrider Foundation and recreational representative on the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council. “The data will be used by various organizations to identify ways for improving access and to protect recreation areas as demand for coastal and ocean resources increase."

The Surfrider Foundation collected information from recreational users through an online survey between June 2014 and February 2015. The survey included a mapping tool that allowed participants to mark locations of recreational use along the Washington coast. More than 250 recreational groups and businesses throughout the state were contacted, and respondents completed nearly 6,500 surveys resulting in over 17,500 data points.

Overall, survey respondents spent an average of $117.14 per coastal visit on things such as accommodation, transportation and food. This translates into an estimated $481 million dollars in trip related expenditures to the Washington economy.

The most popular recreational activities included (in order) general beach going, scenic enjoyment, wildlife viewing, photography, and hiking or biking. The extensive geographic use and activity participation reported, demonstrates the popularity and breadth of recreation along the Washington coast.

For more information about the Surfrider Foundation’s recreational use studies, please visit:

“The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) appreciates the time and effort that the Surfrider Foundation and survey participants dedicated to this initiative.  This project will provide DNR and other state natural resource agencies with vital information about where recreational activities occur along the Pacific coast – information we can use to support marine spatial planning and to better manage and maintain public access to our coastal and ocean resources,” said Katrina Lassiter, Aquatic Policy Analyst for DNR.

The final report, more information about the study, and the WashingtonMarine Spatial Planning Mapping Application can be found at:

Marine Spatial planning, a collaborative endeavor that recently began in Washington, is a public process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine environments to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives.

Coastal recreation is widely practiced throughout the United States, but little data exists on what activities people participate in, where these uses occur, and the related economic benefits. To address this need, Surfrider and Point 97-a leader in technology solutions for ocean and coastal management- have conducted similar studies across the U.S., including completed efforts in Oregon and the Mid-Atlantic and a recently launched study in the Northeast.

About Surfrider Foundation

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 250,000 supporters, activists and members worldwide. For more information on the Surfrider Foundation, visit

About Point 97

Point 97 is a high-tech subsidiary of Ecotrust, delivering impact technology solutions and engagement strategies for coastal and marine planning in regions around the world. Working to improve marine and coastal management practices, Point 97 helps partners and clients strengthen coastal communities and ocean ecosystems, bridge different ocean user perspectives and implement management decisions in an inclusive and transparent way. Learn more at