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 praises Congress for passing the Hill Creek Cultural Preservation and Energy Development Act (H.R. 356 / S. 27). The legislation provides for the exchange of roughly 20,000 acres of Utah’s mineral rights from ecologically and culturally sensitive lands in the Desolation Canyon region of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation for federal mineral rights in another part of the reservation.

  • Michael Reinemer

    The draft House Interior and Environment Appropriations bill released today is a clear improvement from previous years, though it still misses the mark on several key conservation, climate and public lands needs and is laden with numerous policy provisions or “riders” that have no place in the appropriations process.

  • Michael Reinemer

    On Wednesday, The Wilderness Society presented lifetime conservation achievement awards to Representatives George Miller, Jim Moran and Rush Holt, who collectively represent 80 years of support for conservation of some of America’s most stunning landscapes and protection of the country’s clean air and water.  All three members of Congress have announced their plans to retire at the end of the current session.

    Rep. George Miller (California – 11th District)