Passive Recreation Area Law & Legal Definition


A passive recreation area is generally an undeveloped space or environmentally sensitive area that requires minimal development. Entities such as a parks department may maintain passive recreation areas for the health and well-being of the public and for the preservation of wildlife and the environment. The quality of the environment and "naturalness" of an area is the the focus of the recreational experience in a passive recreation area.

Passive recreation may be defined as a non-motorized activity that:

  • Offers constructive, restorative, and pleasurable human benefits and fosters appreciation and understanding of open space and its purpose
  • Is compatible with other passive recreation uses
  • Does not significantly impact natural, cultural, scientific, or agricultural values
  • Requires only minimal visitor facilities and services directly related to safety and minimizes passive recreation impacts

Definitions vary by locality. The following is an example of what falls under the definition of one community's passive recreation area:

  • libraries
  • 6 conservation reservations
  • 10 municipal parking lots
  • 18 parks
  • 75 traffic islands at 58 locations throughout the Town
  • 3 walking paths or parkways
  • Police Station grounds
  • Town Forest