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.

  • Anastasia Greene

    “Secretary Jewell is on the right track. The plan to pursue cancellation of this oil and gas lease sets the stage for getting rid of the remaining leases in the Badger-Two Medicine region,” said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society. “This is not only an ecologically invaluable link between Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, it’s a sacred place for the Blackfeet Nation and a stronghold for the Blackfeet culture.

  • Michael Reinemer

    “In this season of Thanksgiving, we are grateful to have a bipartisan group of Senators at the grown-ups’ table showing real leadership by advancing legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, in S. 556,” said Alan Rowsome, Senior Director of Government Relations for Lands at The Wilderness Society.  “That contrasts with Rep.

  • Michael Reinemer

    Today federal legislation to protect and enhance the Yakima River basin’s fisheries, ecosystem and water supply was passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.