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

    Today, Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society, issued the following statement on the expected nomination of U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Secretary of the Interior.
     
    “Across the political spectrum, Americans deeply cherish our shared public lands and want to see them protected for future generations. Turning the keys to our nation’s public lands over to someone who has called for drilling and development in pristine landscapes is not what most Americans want. 

  • Caroline Mosley

    Unfortunately, she has voted for measures that would prevent taxpayers from receiving a fair price for resources mined on public lands, prioritized drilling public lands over recreational uses, and allowed companies to bypass certain Clean Air Act provisions for offshore drilling. It’s not all bad news, she has supported renewable energy and cosponsored legislation to promote responsible siting of wind and solar on public lands, but the balance sheet isn’t good. Here’s a sampling of the rest of her record.

  • Tyler North

    Today, the Senate took its final steps to secure the National Defense Authorization Act – without the presence of a provision that would have undermined collaborative plans to conserve the sagebrush ecosystem and hampered the sage-grouse’s chances at survival.