Outdoor Recreation

A hike to a gorgeous vista, a paddle down a lazy river, a family picnic at a lake - all of these things can refresh the spirit like nothing else can.

Outdoor recreation is one of the best ways to connect with nature and ourselves. Yet America isn’t getting outside the way it used to. Our outdoor recreation programs aim to help change this and create lasting bonds between people and wilderness.

Outdoor recreation is important for:

  • Mental health
  • Physical health
  • Connecting people to wilderness
  • Cultivating stewardship

Simply put, our wildlands serve as a healer and a playground for millions of people. 

Youth recreation

Children across the nation are getting outdoors less than ever before. Yet, children can be America’s best wilderness advocates. When kids play in our national forests, national parks and wildlife refuges, they develop a deep love for nature, turning them into the next generation of wildland stewards. 

Recreation trails

Over 50 million people recreate on America’s trail systems every year. Trails are the way that the majority of people are able to experience nature.  Our work ensures trails are well maintained and that people have great trail experiences.

Recreation funding

Visiting our wildlands is inexpensive, but making those lands available costs money. Congress provides funding to land management agencies for maintenance and restoration of our forests and other public lands. But agency budgets are shrinking. The Wilderness Society advocates on behalf of our lands and the people who help keep them open and healthy for the public.

Outdoor recreation FAQs

Check out our outdoor recreation FAQs and learn something new!

Support our recreation work

We couldn’t do our outdoor recreation work without the help of members and donors like you. Please join us in our efforts to keep wild places available for generations to come.

  • Some of the most important climate and energy achievements of the last eight years—including many that were Wilderness Society priorities—will be on the chopping block the moment President-elect Trump settles into the Oval Office. It will be more important than ever to stand up and let our lawmakers know what is important to us.

  • Thank you to the tens of thousands of you who responded to our requests to sign your name to a letter urging the administration to take this step. This is your victory!

  • Trump has picked a leading climate denier, Myron Ebell, to lead the transition team at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ebell is also said to be in contention to head the agency itself. On the campaign trail, Trump said he may "cut" the EPA, but giving Ebell any authority over it may be just as bad.