While it is possible to take part in many activities in an artificial or unattractive environment—for example, climbing on an indoor artificial rock face, or fishing from the bank of a canal in a derelict industrial area—for most people the setting in which the recreation takes place is a very important part of the whole experience. In many instances it is the landscape that they have come to see, and often the facilities needed are only those that enable them to obtain the most enjoyment from a scenic view.
A landscape embracing habitats, wildlife, cultural heritage and different land uses may have the potential to supply the opportunities to meet some or all of the demand, by way of the type of recreation, by its carrying capacity or land use, or all three. However, because of its fragility it may have no potential for recreation. The activities, the carrying capacity and the quality of the setting in which they take place are considered together. As the market is highly differentiated, the recreation planner has to match the aspirations of different people with what the landscape has to offer and can accept. This depends on the extent of the land base and its current use, its variety and robustness, the climate and the alternative opportunities offered by other leisure operators working in the same vicinity.