Skip to main content

Conservation Priorities for Open Space Recreation Access


Publication Date
Time Period


Warnell, K., 2020, Conservation Priorities for Open Space Recreation Access: U.S. Geological Survey ScienceBase,


Publicly accessible open spaces provide valuable opportunities for people to exercise, play, socialize, and build community. People are more likely to use public open spaces that are close (ideally within walking distance) to their homes. To assess the spatial distribution of access to open space for recreation in the southeastern United States, we constructed an index of open space access based on the size of the largest publicly accessible open space within 10 miles of each point on the landscape, using three distance categories to represent whether people can reach the open spaces by walking (within 0.5 mile), via a short drive (within 3 miles), or via a longer drive (within 10 miles). Using the open space access index, we identified [...]

Child Items (10)


Attached Files

Click on title to download individual files attached to this item.


The priority county and Census block group shapefiles can be used to identify where, at the regional level, new open space will provide the greatest benefit in terms of the number of people with increased access to open space. These can also be overlaid with other data sources at the appropriate scale, including other ecosystem service maps , to find areas where conservation would provide multiple benefits. When using these data, please keep in mind that they are designed for landscape-level assessments; due to inaccuracies in the national-scale input datasets, they should not be used to identify specific sites for open space creation without additional local data. This information can be used to identify possible target areas for land conservation to provide access to open space, but field validation of potential project areas is necessary to assess suitability.


Spatial Services

ScienceBase WMS


  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers
  • Southeast CASC



Data source
Input directly

Additional Information


Type Scheme Key
DOI doi:10.21429/k9k5-fz91

Item Actions

View Item as ...

Save Item as ...

View Item...