- concerns that fracking operations would limit their ability to access their favorite park (52 percent);
- a willingness to travel further to visit a park unaffected by fracking (52 percent); and
- their support for legislation prohibiting fracking near their favorite park (58 percent).
- Most respondents expressed familiarity with the process of hydraulic fracturing. More than 60 percent reported being either somewhat familiar or very familiar with the term “hydraulic fracturing”; on the other hand, 10 percent had never heard of the term before taking the survey. Nearly one-third of the sample lives in a region impacted (either currently or expected) by fracking. Most respondents (40 percent) oppose fracking in any form, while 23 percent are supportive, 25 percent are neither supportive nor unsupportive, and 12 percent are unsure.
- Park users believe that fracking on public land is unnecessary and bad for the environment. More park users agree fracking on public land is bad for the environment (48 percent) than those who agree fracking has no impact on the environment (16 percent). More park users also support banning fracking on public land (46 percent, as opposed to 20 percent who agree with promoting it). Fifty percent of respondents believe fracking on public land should be subject to greater oversight and regulation, while 13 percent believe it should be subject to less oversight and regulation. When neutral responses are removed from calculation, the contrasts are much starker.
- While park users generally hold strong opinions that fracking has a negative impact on the natural environment, most park users surveyed for this study are less critical when it comes to its economic benefits. Park users attitudes toward the economic impact of fracking on public land were far more neutral (e.g., regarding its contribution to traffic and gas prices), and in some cases, were positive (such as its impact on the creation of temporary jobs).
The results of the study will be presented next week in Dublin, Ireland, during the annual meeting of the European Association of Sport Management. Additionally, the full results are provided in a report published by the research team, “Fracking and Parkland: Understanding the Impact of Hydraulic Fracturing on Public Park Usage,” available at http://www.stadiatrack.com/fracking.