What is the Wisconsin Outdoor Recreation Inventory?
The Wisconsin Outdoor Recreation Inventory is a visionary project to create a comprehensive catalog of outdoor recreation sites across the state and provide public access to the data.
Historically, there has been no single inventory of outdoor recreation offerings. Limited maps and data files have existed in various places, often housed on agency websites (state, county, municipality, etc.) or in crowd-sourced, activity-specific apps. At launch, the Wisconsin Outdoor Recreation Inventory contained over 50,000 geographic information systems (GIS) files for a dozen key outdoor recreation categories from more than 100 partners.
Bringing this outdoor recreation data together into one central location creates a meaningful way of characterizing and measuring Wisconsin’s vast outdoor recreation offerings, showing hiking trails alongside snowmobile trails, beaches, birding and fishing piers. The single inventory brings together all facets of outdoor recreation under one tent and offers the industry a powerful resource for tapping into the economic potential of outdoor recreation.
Where did the data come from?
More than 100 unique sources have contributed data to the inventory. Sources range from state agencies, counties, local municipalities and private organizations or businesses. At the time of launch, the Wisconsin Outdoor Recreation Inventory contained over 50,000 GIS files for 13 key outdoor recreation categories from more than 100 partners. Over time as additional data is shared, the number of outdoor recreation categories and the size of the overall inventory will continue to grow.
What is the Wisconsin Explorer Tool? Is it the same as the Wisconsin Outdoor Recreation Inventory?
The Wisconsin Explorer Tool is a fully developed web application that allows users to interact with the data contained within the Wisconsin Outdoor Recreation Inventory. Utilizing this tool (or app), users can explore the data geographically on an interactive map or view, search and download files in the open data portal.
“Inventory” refers to the collection of files. “Explorer Tool” is the application that provides a platform for accessing the files.
What was the role of the Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation?
The Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation had a vision to create a central location to catalog all of Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation sites. Data has existed in various locations, and rarely is data for multiple activities included together, unless a specific location or trail is open for multiple uses. Bringing this outdoor recreation data together into one central location creates a meaningful way of characterizing and measuring Wisconsin’s vast outdoor recreation offerings.
The Office led the overall project design and implementation. The Office engaged with Esri, the global leader in GIS software, to build a platform that could house and share the data. Both groups tackled the mammoth data collection effort, contacting hundreds of entities, building relationships and validating the contributed data. Over time, as new data is shared or updated data is provided, the Office will work with partners to update the inventory, which will continually grow.
How will the tool be used, and who will use it?
This new and dynamic tool makes the growing inventory of data publicly accessible to communities, businesses and organizations for their use in a wide range of projects to build awareness of outdoor recreation opportunities, promote recreation destinations, or to inform infrastructure, program development and funding prioritization, and more.
A robust inventory of outdoor recreation offerings will aid in the evaluation of current infrastructure highlighting missing links, needs and informing priorities that can help elevate the economic impact of outdoor recreation for the state.
This inventory will also greatly aid in the meaningful evaluation of the state’s supply of outdoor recreation offerings, a component of the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)
. (Every five years, states are required to complete a SCORP to be eligible for participation in the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
State Assistance Program. SCORPs are intended to evaluate outdoor recreation supply, demand, trends and issues. They are used to set forth ideas about recreation's future role in the state and serve as the blueprint by providing broad guidance.)
What types of outdoor recreation sites and activities are included in the inventory?
At the launch of the Wisconsin Outdoor Recreation Inventory, data was collected for 12 key outdoor recreation categories. The categories are as follows: birding, fishing, mountain biking, paddling, points of interest, recreation areas, road cycling, ski areas, snowmobile trails, swimming & beaches, trailheads, trails (includes biking, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling) and water access.
What additional data is included?
In each recreation category a number of attributes may be reported, such as accessibility features of a recreation area, however not all sources record this information uniformly. Over time, as sources update their data, more information will be included and available.
Why can’t I download files for ATV/UTV trails, rails-to-trails and climbing sites?
At this time, GIS data either does not exist or is held privately by organizations. Links are provided to organizations where users can learn more about the information available for those activities and outdoor recreation sites.
Why can’t I find outdoor recreation sites that I know exist?
The inventory is a living collection of data that is updated and grows over time. At launch, over 50,000 GIS files for 12 key outdoor recreation categories from more than 100 partners. As additional data is shared, the number of outdoor recreation categories and the size of the overall inventory will continue to grow. It’s possible that the owner of the GIS data for the outdoor recreation site has not shared the information for this project or there is no GIS data currently available. If GIS data does exist, see the next question for submissions to the inventory.
How is the data updated?
Working with Esri, the plan is to have a semiannual update to the data through email outreach to the contributing sources and other potential data providers.
Can I submit new or updated data to be included in the Wisconsin Outdoor Recreation Inventory?
Yes! The inventory is a living collection of data that is updated and grows over time. Please contact the Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation at email@example.com
for more information on the data submission process.
Where can I find more information about the Wisconsin Outdoor Recreation Inventory?
How do I access the data and download files from the Wisconsin Outdoor Recreation Inventory?
Please visit the Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation website
and click on “Request data and launch the Wisconsin Explorer Tool” hyperlink. You will be asked to complete a brief form. (The information collected will help inform the maintenance and future development of the Wisconsin Outdoor Recreation Inventory.) Once the form is submitted, you will be redirected to the full application where you can access, search, filter and download files. To find a tutorial on how to use the tool, click on the “How-To” menu at the top for a brief tutorial.