Greenspace Scotland, which has carried out a biennial survey of park use for eight years, said the number of people using the country's urban green spaces was in "dramatic decline" in contrast to an upward trend in recent years.
People using green spaces once a week or more fell from two-thirds in 2009 to just over half in 2011, said the latest survey this week. In the most deprived areas, people used green spaces even less, with fewer that half venturing into them once a week.
This decrease of use mirrored a fall in popularity of green spaces. Three-fifths felt they were safer places two years ago against half questioned this year. Fewer people thought they were attractive or good for relaxing or children's play.
Chief executive Julie Procter said: "Reductions in green space staffing and management were inevitably going to make a difference. But we hadn't expected this to have an impact so soon on people's use and attitudes."