Environmental Studies Program



Bailey Mullins

Date of this Version



Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2023


Copyright 2023, Bailey Mullins


The Covid-19 virus was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020 by the World Health Organization. Since then the outdoor recreation habits of the general public have changed due to the constraints and risks of the virus. The first case of Covid-19 in Nebraska was reported in March of 2020. One of the most popular places for recreation in the state of Nebraska is to visit our state parks and recreation areas. The purpose of this research is to determine how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted visitation at Nebraska state parks and recreation areas. To do this, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission provided a spreadsheet of visitation data for analysis. Visitation at state parks for the months of May, June, July, and August were the focus of this study. Analysis using ANOVA and Tukey’s Honest Significant Difference Test and Fisher’s Least Significant Difference was used to find a significant difference between any of the years between 2016 and 2021 with the transition between 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021 being of the highest importance. Percent change in visitation was also calculated in order to better visualize the changes that occurred each year. The result of the statistical tests found that there is no significant difference in visitation between any of the years in this study. However, there were still notable changes in visitation, especially early in the season. The most extreme percent change in visitation at the state parks and recreation areas occurred in May and June. More subtle percent change in visitation occurred in July and August. Specifically, the smaller state parks tended to see rises in visitation from 2019 to into 2021 while the larger parks experienced drops in visitation. From 2020 into 2021 there was generally and increase in visitation across all the state parks.