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.

  • Michael Reinemer
    The Wilderness Society today praised Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) for introducing important legislation that would conserve more than 58,000 acres of public lands in Colorado’s Eagle and Summit Counties including approximately 40,000 acres of wilderness and more than 18,000 acres as special management areas.  
     
  • Michael Reinemer
    To mark the 50th year since the signing of the Wilderness Act in 1964, the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment and The Wilderness Society will host a conference on September 4 and 5 at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder. “Celebrating the Great Law: The Wilderness Act at 50” will feature prominent authors, professors, historians, activists and Colorado’s poet laureate.  
     
  • cate tanenbaum

    Wilderness Society applauds House for moving beyond ‘gridlock’ but says new amendments lead legislation astray

    The Wilderness Society today praised the House Natural Resources Comamittee for advancing Wilderness designations for Washington state and Nevada but worries House legislation departs too significantly from more locally supported counterpart bills in the Senate.