Newsroom Midwest Region

What is R3? Recruitment, retention and reactivation explained

January 22, 2018

Two hunters and a dog along a wetland. Photo by Ryan Hagarty/USFWS.
Two hunters and a dog along a wetland. Photo by Ryan Hagarty/USFWS.

Conservation and outdoor recreation go hand-in-hand. As public land stewards, we face many challenges managing America’s natural resources for recreation. Luckily, hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts have been major supporters of our work. But over the years, fewer people have been participating in traditional outdoor activities, making it harder to achieve our conservation missions. We are looking to maintain current recreation participation while also attracting new audiences, which leads to discussions about the Service’s R3 efforts. But what is R3?

R3 stands for recruitment, retention, and reactivation and R3 activities seek to create new participants or increase participation rates of current or lapsed outdoor recreationists. Outdoor recreationists engage in outdoor wildlife and fisheries dependent recreation including, but not limited to, hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, education and interpretation. While the reasons for engaging in outdoor activities are more varied than in the past, connecting with nature and each other remains a driving factor for all recreationists.

The Outdoor Recreation Adoption Model outlines the process of becoming an outdoor recreation participant. Recruitment activities generate awareness and interest in an activity, as well as providing opportunities for people to try an activity. Next, retention activities provide the support necessary for novice recreationists to build their skills until they are able to participate independently. Finally, reactivation activities help lapsed recreationists become active participants.

We’ve been doing these activities for years and now the Outdoor Reaction Adoption Model has given us and our partners a shared vocabulary. We use this model, and the concepts of R3, to identify how we can support outdoor recreation opportunities, access and education.

We are strengthening our engagement in this broad national effort through our newly formed Midwest Region Outdoor Access Task Force. In the coming year, we’ll be looking for new ways to expand access to hunting and fishing and to increase our support for state R3 planning and national R3 planning for fishing (PDF), and hunting and shooting. Whether it’s through mentored hunts, expanding access, monitoring fish and game species, or grants administered for hunter education courses, we are engaged in R3 activities through our work on public lands and with our partners.