The Bureau of Outdoor Recreation in Post-War America: Creation of the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation
Part 2, Creation of the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation
The Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission delivered its final report on January 31, 1962, and dissolved itself shortly thereafter. On March 1 of the same year, President Kennedy announced the impending creation of the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation (BOR), which would operate under the Department of the Interior. The Bureau of Outdoor Recreation would “serve as a focal point in the Federal Government for the many activities related to outdoor recreation.” Secretary of the Interior Steward Udall officially established the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation on April 2 and named Edward Crafts as the first director of the bureau. Crafts had worked with the Forest Service for more than thirty years, been involved in the ORRRC, and seemed a natural choice as director. 
Later in April, Director Crafts published his declaration of intent, which became the working philosophy of the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation. In this document, Crafts recognized the immediate need for leadership in outdoor recreation at both national and local levels. He claimed that the need for outdoor recreation was serious because of the physical, social, and cultural ramifications, as well as economic impact.
The Bureau of Outdoor Recreation was not to manage any land itself but concerned itself with policy, planning, aid, and coordination. The Bureau was interested in all outdoor recreation, both urban and rural. On the federal level, the BOR would work closely with the following agencies and organizations: National Park Service; Forest Service; Housing and Home Finance Agency; Department of the Interior; Department of Agriculture; Department of the Army; Department of Health, Education and Welfare; and any other necessary government agencies.
The Bureau of Outdoor Recreation would work through the states, which would serve as middlemen between the federal and local governments. The BOR headquarters was located in Washington, D.C., while six regional offices were created to work directly with the states in those regions. These regional offices were located in Seattle, WA; San Francisco, CA; Denver, CO; Ann Arbor, MI; Atlanta, GA; and Philadelphia, PA.
National surveys taken in the 1930s revealed that most people, in their free time, were reading magazines, listening to the radio, and visiting with friends and neighbors. However, many claimed that they would have preferred to be playing tennis or golf, planting gardens, and swimming or skating. Many of these changes actually began to take place by the 1940s. As the amount of leisure time for the average person increased, hobbies and personal interests increased as well. “Specialists in recreation began to speak of hobbies as the fifth freedom – along with freedom of speech and worship and freedom from want and fear.”
Although several national surveys pertaining to outdoor recreation were administered prior to 1950, the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission decided to eliminate the data from that which it would analyze. The commission felt that outdoor leisure and recreational patterns prior to that date did not characterize the current population. With regard to surveys taken in the Fifties, the commission only used those surveys that isolated such aspects as family size, leisure patterns, and other dimensions that could easily be identified and catalogued.
Even prior to mid-century, agencies began to understand the value of information to be gained from surveys and acquiring data. Early in the twentieth century, the National Park Service began to record each year the number of visitors attending the parks under its jurisdiction. The NPS recorded 16.7 million visitors in 1940, 33.2 million visitors the next year, and by 1960 the number of visitors had increased to 79 million. These numbers represent both an increasing number of parks and the rising ability of Americans, both monetarily and time-wise, to visit the nation’s parks. 
The following numbers represent the amount of revenue raised by entrance fees at state and national parks for the years listed: 1941 – $2.362 million; 1945 – $602 thousand; 1950 – $3.842 million; 1955 – $6.786 million; and 1959 – $7.994 million. The amounts raised by the parks increased almost uniformly every year from 1941 to 1959. The major exception is the years from 1942 to 1945, when the United States was involved in World War II.
Congress and President Kennedy received the ORRRC’s report on January 31, 1962. The report consisted of a primary report and twenty-seven individual study reports, including the National Recreation Survey, which polled roughly sixteen thousand people. The plan for the data was to determine the characteristics of recreation users according to activity type and according to economic and demographic characteristics. Some felt that “the national study provide[d] the only real basis for estimating change over time.” The ORRRC and later the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation used the data gathered by the surveys to implement and develop policies. 
Questions in the National Recreation Survey covered background, economic status, present forms of outdoor recreation in which the surveyed currently participated, what types of outdoor recreation the surveyed would like to do more of, and why the surveyed did not do more of what those surveyed wanted. Edwin Fitch and John Shanklin stated the following concerning the time before the ORRRC published its reports: “Perhaps no other activity involving so many people and so basic a part of our life has received less attention from qualified investigators and scientists.”
The ORRRC used the survey to identify variables affecting outdoor recreation patterns that presented themselves in at least two of the forty-eight studies. The eight distinctive variables found were as follows: time required, age, distance required to travel, family stage, income, residence, mode of transport, and occupation.
 Clayne Jensen, Outdoor Recreation in America: Trends, Problems, and Opportunities (Minneapolis: Burgess Publishing Co., 1973), 88.
 Jensen, 89.
 Karal Ann Marling, As Seen on TV: The Visual Culture of Everyday Life in the 1950s, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), 55.
 Jensen, 61.
 Marion Clawson and Jack Knetsch, Economics of Outdoor Recreation, (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1966), 320.
A copy of the National Recreation Survey (September 1960), in its entirety, is attached to the end of this essay; Abbot, 447-448.
 Fitch and Shanklin, 76.