Recreation enthusiasts are often exposed to natural areas that have succumbed to extensive damage that was sustained over a period of time. This exposure to degraded lands helps people to become more aware of the need for conservation of these areas. Programs of this type are beneficial in raising awareness of conservation issues; however, these programs require the access of sensitive environments for recreational purposes.
The National Survey on Recreation and the Environment (NSRE) showed that non-consumptive recreationists spent more time using conservation areas than recreationists who were consumptive. Consumptive recreationists tend to take something from an area. Consumptive activities often include fishing, hunting, and trapping.
Although most non-consumptive recreationists do not usually intentionally harm wildlife, some of them add to the degradation of conservation locations by littering and causing other types of environmental pollution and degradation such as playing loud music on their radios, gathering wood for campfires, and leaving human waste on the ground.
One way to help keep non-consumptive activities more non-consumptive might be for organizations or groups to offer educational programs at conservation facilities. Another solution for environmental degradation of conservation areas could be the expansion of new recreational areas – especially in urban areas.